3 Savory Swedish Dishes Switched to Vegan

Photo via Palaluuseri

Food & Drink

3 Savory Swedish Dishes Switched to Vegan

Are you trying to bring a little bit of international delight to your dinner table?

Vegans don’t always have the easiest time finding Swedish recipes that aren’t heavy on the meat and fish or don’t have a heap of cream poured over the top. Or finding vegan-appropriate Swedish dishes at restaurants. For vegans who live in Sweden or stateside, many opt to take to the kitchen themselves and cook up a storm.

For the vegan with Swedish tendencies, here are our three favorite typical Swedish dishes – Ärtsoppa, Smörgåstårta and Swedish meatballs – all completely transformed to vegan standards.  Don’t worry though, these dishes still pack a flavor punch that will make your dinner experience shine.


One of the most popular dishes is Sweden is Ärtsoppa – a Swedish yellow pea and mustard soup. Ärtsoppa is made with salt pork or ham and usually is accompanied by pancakes with jam and whipped cream. Even though it is quite a simple soup, it is absolutely delicious, and the whole thing can easily be transformed into vegan.

RecipePhoto via Sanjay Acharya

Serves 4 people.


  • 400g yellow split peas, soaked overnight in cold water, then drained and rinsed well.
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 2 tbsp stock powder
  • 2 tbsp crushed fresh lemon thyme
  • 2 generous tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Once you’ve soaked and rinsed the yellow split peas, place them in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Skim any foam off the top.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery and stock powder, and allow to simmer with the pot’s lid on for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme and continue to simmer for a further 10 to 20 minutes or until the peas are completely cooked.
  4. Let the soup thicken.
  5. Stir though the mustard and the salt, and then remove from the heat.
  6. Allow to stand for 20 to 30 minutes for a nice thick and creamy base.

Your Ärtsoppa is now ready to serve!

Vegan Smörgåstårta

Smörgåstårta is a savory bread cake filled with salad and seafood, and iced with loads of cream cheese and mayonnaise. Usually decorated extravagantly with smoked salmon, cocktail prawns, boiled eggs and a variety of salad ingredients, it is definitely not very vegan friendly. But a smörgåstårta is like a sandwich, and you can add anything you like to it – including all non-animal ingredients.


Serves 8 people


  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 5 cups plain white flour

Most Swedish grocers have round breads on their shelves, but the vast majority of them are not vegan, so you’ll need to bake your own – which sounds like an effort, but is actually quite simple. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water before adding the agave nectar, salt and oil and stirring well.
  2. Add the flour to the mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is too thick. Use your hands to knead the remaining flour in until the dough has enough flour so that it doesn’t stick to your fingers. Be sure to not add too much flour.
  3. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a tea towel, and place in a warm spot to rise for 45 minutes. A warm spot can be a slightly heated oven or a sunny spot in your home.
  4. Remove the dough and knead again. Lightly grease a 23cm springform cake pan, and line the bottom with grease proof paper. Place the dough in the pan.
  5. Cover again and let rise for another 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and bake the bread for 30-35 minutes. You may want to switch your oven to the “bottom only” setting for the last five minutes to ensure it cooks on the bottom evenly.
  7. Allow to cool then trim off the crusty top and crusty edges and slice the bread into three even layers.
Photo via Johan Andersson, Flickr

First Layer

  • 1/3 cup herb & garlic vegan cream cheese – if this is not available in stores, you can make your own at home by finely dicing a few herbs and garlic together and adding the vegan cream cheese.
  • 2 cucumbers

Second Layer

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

Cream the avocado and sour cream together before seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Try to make it as smooth as possible by using a blender or food processor.

Cream Cheese Icing

When it comes to the icing of a smörgåstårta, you can do whatever you like with it. You can even incorporate your favorite sandwich filling to it! Sticking with tradition, we’ll be using a filling of cream cheese, cucumber, avocado and lettuce.

  • 230g vegan cream cheese (1 tub tofutti cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped dill

Cream the vegan cream cheese, sour cream, dill and salt until smooth. Use electric beaters to try and aerate the mixture as much as possible.


Decorating the bread cake is the most fun part of this recipe. We’d advise that you use the most colorful ingredients to top it with like parsley, radishes, avocado, cucumber, grape tomatoes and Spanish onion.

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped continental parsley
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped dill
  • Cucumber
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 Spanish onion, finely diced
  • Radishes


  1. Place the bottom layer of bread on the plate you plan to serve the dish on.
  2. Spread the herb and garlic cream cheese over it, and then layer with sliced cucumber.
  3. Add the next layer of bread, spread it with about 2/3 of the avocado and top with shredded lettuce.
  4. Add the final layer of bread.
  5. Cover the whole thing with the vegan cream cheese icing like you would frost a cake.
  6. Put the remaining avocado mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle, and add piping decoration to the bread cake.
  7. Add additional decoration as you see fit.

And that’s it! Now all you need to do is cut yourself a slice and enjoy.

Vegan Swedish Meatballs

Photo via Karl Baron, Flickr

Made with ground or minced meat, which is rolled into a small ball along with other as ingredients such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter and seasonings, Swedish meatballs are a longtime favorite amongst both visitors to Sweden and locals. Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce. For vegans, this Swedish staple can also be enjoyed by using nutmeat as a substitute for the ground or minced meat.

Many people are not familiar with nutmeat, but it is a great meat substitute that has a delicious flavor. Vegan Swedish meatballs are not only meat free, but also have all the tasty flavor of normal meatballs.


Serves 4 to 5 people


  • 1 x 415g can of nutmeat
  • 1 cup burghul (cereal food made from the groats of several different wheat species)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling waters
  • 1 tsp “beef” stock powder – be sure to use a vegan brand of this product
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large field mushroom chopped (150g)
  • 3 slices wholemeal plain bread
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped continental parsley
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 heaped tsp “beef” stock powder – be sure to use a vegan brand of this product
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, soaked in cold water for an hour or two and then drained
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

The Meatballs

  1. Mix burghul and stock powder together, and then add boiling water and leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor to form breadcrumbs, and put it in a mixing bowl.
  3. Sauté onions and mushrooms in 1 to 2 tsp of water until the onions are soft and transparent. Process in the food processor briefly and then add to the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs.
  4. Process the nutmeat until it is a mince-like texture, and also add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Process the soaked burghul for 1 to 2 minutes, then add that to the bowl as well.
  6. Add the spices and parsley to the mixing bowl and mix well with your hands.
  7. Form into meatballs, which should be about walnut sized.
  8. Fry in batches in vegetable oil until browned before transferring to a baking/casserole dish.

The Gravy

  1. Puree the almonds with the lemon juice until it forms a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan. When hot, add the flour and stir well. Cook for 2 to3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the stock powder and soy sauce to the boiling water. Then add this mixture slowly to the flour in the saucepan and stir vigorously and continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Continue until you’ve added all the water.
  4. Add the pureed almonds and stir well.

Once the gravy is done, you can pour it over the meatballs and serve immediately.

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