Mom’s Swedish Meatballs, updated… gluten and dairy free


Mom’s recipe box: it sat in the kitchen, on the top shelf of the spice rack. When I was about eight years old, she taught me how to cook, and her handwritten recipes were the starting point. Mom would pull over a chair from the kitchen table and set it against the counter so I could stand on it and have a front row seat to watch, and help, as she cooked. My first jobs were peeling potatoes and measuring in butter and milk for the mash. As years passed, I knew enough to make the whole meal, plus dessert, usually something with chocolate! My mom passed away in 2003 so her recipe box now has a front row seat on the cookbook shelf in my kitchen. Handwritten recipes bring back more than the memory of the dish. They are, literally, a signature of the heart and soul of the cook.


Here, I have updated my mom’s recipe for Swedish meatballs by switching out the sour cream and using cashew cream instead. Olive oil has been used in place of butter. And, ground oats take the place of breadcrumbs. It’s now dairy free, and gluten free, made with organic ground chicken and organic Omega 3 eggs. I also upped the amount of tomato paste, just because I like that flavour. Laden with protein and healthy fats, I think the flavour and texture is even creamier than I remember my mom’s. A great update on an old classic! I hope you enjoy it 🙂


For the meatballs:

  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond, oat, rice…)
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 750 grams organic chicken or turkey, ground
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika powder
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp mustard powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp light olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup cashew cream (½ cup cashews soaked 4 hours, rinsed, then combined with 1 cup of water and blended until smooth.)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


Heat the oil over medium and sauté the onion until it softens, stirring often, approximately 5 minutes.

Into a large mixing bowl, combine the nut milk with the oat flour and let this sit while you gather and add the ground chicken, eggs, spices, and salt/pepper. Add the cooked onions and mix this together until all is combined. Try not to over-mix it, or the meatballs could become tough. Roll this mixture into meatballs. I like to do mine about the size of a golf ball. You could make yours smaller, but I’d advise not going bigger because they take longer to cook.

Over a medium-high flame, heat another 2 Tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides. This will take about 10-12 minutes if you tend to them regularly. I suggest not over-crowding your pan, and brown them in batches; they’ll cook faster if they have a bit of room to roll around. When a batch is cooked, use tongs to shift them to a dinner plate, and add the next round of balls!

When all of the meatballs have been cooked and removed from the pan, use the same pan, add one more Tbsp of oil, along with the chopped garlic, and stir this around for a minute over medium heat. Then add the stock, tomato paste, and cashew cream, and give this a stir. Nestle the cooked meatballs into this sauce and with the lid on, heat through – about 10 minutes. If you need to add a little more boiled water to thin the sauce, now is the time to do that.

It’s now ready to serve! Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a good crack of pepper for garnish. I’ve served mine alongside mashed potatoes and Romanesco broccoli.

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