Last spring, the king of flat-packed furniture announced they would soon be launching a vegan take on their trademark Swedish meatball, and now, the moment we have been waiting for is finally here. As of today, the GRÖNSAKSBULLAR, a veggie ball made from chickpeas, green peas, kale, corn, carrots, and red bell peppers, will be available at IKEA stores nationwide (except at one store in Carson, CA — sorry, Carson, CA.)
"The veggie ball is meant to cater to a wider audience and offer more choice," Michael La Cour, managing director of IKEA’s food business, told the Wall Street Journal. They will be healthier (60 fewer calories and half the fat, according to Huffington Post), they will have a drastically smaller carbon footprint (1/30th that of the beef-and-pork version), and — the company hopes — they will usher in a golden age of eco-friendly IKEA cuisine. "Our journey in this direction has just begun," La Cour said the official press release. "I am proud that we now take the first step and start serving veggie balls." On April 27th, the company will take a second step and launch chicken meatballs, and the WSJ says that by summer, all of the store’s salmon will be certified as supporting sustainable fishing practices.
Based on early pictures, the non-meat balls look pretty promising, which is to say that they look like falafel. A plate of 10, served with (more) vegetables and swaddled in sweet potato sauce, will cost $4.49. Unfortunately for traditionalists, they do not appear to come with lingonberry jam. At the moment, they are only available in the store’s cafeteria, but if you like them, you’ll be able to get them frozen at the IKEA Swedish Food Market starting June 30th.
But if you're not interested in moving through the crowds of people looking to buy cheap furniture for their first apartments, you could also just make your own vegan meatballs at home.
Easy to make vegan meatballs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup corn
- ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
- 1 cup packed kale
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed, drained and divided
- 2 teaspoons dried organic basil
- 2 teaspoons dried organic oregano
- 1 cup frozen organic brown rice, thawed
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peppers, corn, and kale. Cover and cook until peppers are tender and the kale wilts, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse sunflower seeds until coarsely ground. Add cooked vegetable mixture, half the beans, basil and oregano. Pulse until mixture is just coming together.
- In a large bowl, combine puréed mixture, remaining beans and rice. Stir until combined.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Form mixture into 1 ½-inch balls and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs 30 minutes or until heated through and crisp on the outside.