Portraits of two chefs in work clothes, plus a plant-balll wrap being prepared.

Seasonal flavours for a new plant-based hero

In Sweden, the julbord is the grandest feast of the year, and the meatball is one of the stars of the traditional Swedish winter holiday food. We met with Jesper and Fredrik at the IKEA Museum restaurant to get inspiration on how to make three delicious and sustainable meals with the plant ball.

In the northern parts of Sweden, winters can be hard. During wintertime, daylight is very sparse and the nights are long, cold and crispy. But Swedish homes are anything but dark and cold. This is the time when Swedes make great efforts in creating a warm and cosy atmosphere at home.

As Christmas Eve approaches, all food is prepared and ready to be enjoyed. On most Swedish julbord you will find oven-baked or boiled ham, meatballs, herring, marinated salmon, eggs, variations of cabbage, crispbread, cheese and more. But how about the plant ball? Can the seasonal spices be combined with the plant-based alternative? And can there be a version that the kids will love? Of course.

Six cooked plant balls on a white surface.

A plant-ball wrap inside a paper sleeve.

Jesper Lundström, sous chef at the IKEA Museum restaurant KÖKET in Älmhult did together with head chef Fredrik Gustafsson put together a starter, a main course and a kids meal, based on the plant ball. Adding seasonal flavours and the option to cook the main course outdoors will bring even more taste to the already tasty plant ball.

What are the winter flavours all about?
“To me, it’s all about our roots and memories. The very special spices and flavours that we remember from growing up. To me, there’s also a lot of citrus and pine,” says Jesper.

A portrait of a chef in grey work clothes.

A portrait of a chef in a professional kitchen.

Jesper Lundström, sous chef at the IKEA Museum restaurant KÖKET and head chef Fredrik Gustafsson.

What is your favourite flavour of the winter season?

“The saltiness from the sea, the earthy flavours from land and forest, foreign spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. But it’s also about fresh textures and citrus fruits,” says Jesper.

What makes the plant ball such a good ingredient?

“It’s plant-based and it is a more sustainable option, yet it has a meaty flavour and texture. It’s versatile and easy to adjust in taste with different spices and ad-ons. It’s an all round ingredient that can be used in a lot of various ways,” says Fredrik.

A hand wearing a black rubber glove preparing a plant-ball wrap.

Plant-balls frying in butter.

Serves 4
Candied plant balls with kale chips and beetroot hummus
16 HUVUDROLL plant balls
500 grams kale
100 grams of butter
0,5 dl of SMAKRIK rapeseed oil
50 grams pine nuts
200 grams beetroot hummus
0,5 pomegranate
1 orange
1 pinch of salt for the kale chips
1 pinch of black pepper
2 pinches of gingerbread spices
0,5 deciliter honey
1 pinch of salt for decoration

Set the oven to 150 °C. Rinse and dry the kale. Tare it into chips size. Spread the kale on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Add oil, salt and half of the black pepper and squeeze the kale to get the flavours to stick. Bake the kale in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the kale gets crisp.
Cut the pomegranate into quarters and tap the peel with a back of a spoon to make the seeds fall out. Hold the pomegranate over a bowl of cold water to minimise the splash – strain off the seeds.
Fry the plant balls in butter, add pine nuts, honey, gingerbread spices, orange zest and orange juice to the pan and let it reduce until candied.

Put a spoonful of beetroot hummus on the plate, arrange with kale chips and plant balls, pour over the candied liquid and top off with pomegranate seeds, sea salt and black pepper.

Main course
Serves 4
Flatbread with plant balls, mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, kale salad and crispy onions
1 pack HUDUVROLL plant balls
1 pack KNÅDA flatbread mix
1 pack ALLEMANSRÄTTEN mashed potatoes
0,5 dl SMAKRIK rapeseed oil
0,5 dl SYLT LINGON lingonberry jam
0,5 dl SOMMARSKÖRD pickled gherkins
0,5 dl ROSTAD LÖK fried onion
2 dl kale mix, pre made

Prepare the KNÅDA flatbread according to the instructions. Heat the mashed potatoes according to the instructions, on low heat. Fry or grill the plant balls. Roll out the KNÅDA flatbread a bit thinner than the instructions state, cook over an open fire or in a frying pan on the stove. Put the fried bread on a plate and fill with mashed potatoes, plant balls, lingonberry jam, kale mix, fried onion and pickled gherkins. Roll to a wrap. Have in mind that food cooked outdoors tastes better.

Kids meal
Serves 4
Mac ‘n’ cheese our way
200 grams BÄSTISAR uncooked pasta
200 grams cauliflower
9 dl milk
1 dl flour
50 grams of butter
20 HUVUDROLL plant balls
1 tbs salt for cooking the pasta
1 tsp of salt for the stew
1 pinch of grated nutmeg
1 pinch of grated bay leaf
1 pinch of garlic powder
200 grams OST HERRGÅRD, grated
50 grams breadcrumbs

Bring two litres of water to boil and add the salt. Set the oven to 220 °C. Heat the milk on low heat. Add the pasta to the boiling pasta water and after four minutes, add the cauliflower to the same pot and cook for an additional four minutes.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and whisk. Add the hot milk, a little at the time and whisk heavily until settled to a creamy sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes on low heat.
Add the rest of the dry spices and the cheese to the sauce. Remove from heat. Strain the pasta and cauliflower, add to the sauce and stir.
Put frozen plant balls in an oven dish, pour the mac ‘n’ cheese over the plant balls and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over.
Bake in the oven on 220 °C for 10-15 minutes until the top layer is golden and crispy.