Growing up one of my favourites on the Swedish Christmas table was meatballs. And my mother’s was of course the best. I decided to make a plant based and gluten free answer to my national dish and this is it. Moist with a little crunch in the crust and with lots of flavour from herbs and liquid aminos.
I’ve always wondered what’s so Swedish about meat balls? Apparently they are called just that because the Swedish immigrants in America made them over there and spread the love for them to other citizens. However these mushroom balls are Swedish simply because I’m Swedish and because they were inspired by the meaty original.
Mushrooms have a great consistency and flavour for dishes which assimilate a meat based original. I don’t often create recipes that do this but this one ultimately does as you might have comprehended a paragraph or two ago. I like using chestnut mushrooms because of their lovely colour and flavour. In addition to the mushrooms I use quinoa as a base for the recipe which is the main source of protein in this recipe. The quinoa is seasoned before cooking so that it absorbs all the flavours which then is part of the flavouring of the balls, this step is pretty important to get the right flavour in the mixture. I also add spinach which definitely isn’t a very Swedish tradition but I like a bit of green in most of my food so I am breaking some new ground here.
BALLS: 25 / TIME: 45 min
1,5 tbsp milled flaxseed + 1 tbsp chia seeds + 6 tbsp water (gelled)
1/2 cup quinoa (I used pearl) + 1 cup water
1 tbsp liguid aminos/tamari
A generous pinch each of dried basil, oregano and rosemary
1 small red onion
3-4 garlic cloves
250 g chestnut mushrooms
1/2 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup walnut pieces
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp gluten free oats
3 tbsp chickpea/gram flour (or other dry ingredient like buckwheat flour or almond meal)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Coconut/Olive oil for frying
Rinse quinoa and place into a pot with one cup water, liquid aminos, herbs and a generous amount of black pepper. Let boil and then simmer until all water is gone, let sit with a kitchen towel under the lid for a few minutes to absorb moisture. (Great to do the day before or use leftovers)
Place flaxseed meal, chia seeds and 6 tbsp water in a cup, mix and let sit.
Finely cut spinach, chop 2 of the mushrooms into small pieces and break walnut pieces finely. Place in a bowl and mix.
Place onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add remaining mushrooms (halved or quartered might be easier for the processor), quinoa, flaxseed and chia seed gel as well as lemon juice in processor and process until a sticky, quite smooth, mixture is formed.
Add oats and process until combined, if the mixture still seems very sticky add the chickpea flour little by little until the mixture is less but still somewhat sticky.
Place the processed mixture to the bowl and mix with the spinach, mushroom and walnut pieces.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Roll into balls and fry over medium heat (in coconut or olive oil) until browned all around.
Place on a greased (coconut oil) baking paper and bake in oven for 15-20 min