Gluten-free and dairy-free Scandinavian meatballs are just as delicious as the original recipe made with cracker or breadcrumbs and milk. A little nutmeg, allspice, and grated fresh onion add big flavor to this classic Scandinavian recipe.
This version has a clear beef broth-based sauce. A variation is included to make a creamy sauce that is still dairy-free. You can also make a substitution for the egg if you wish to avoid eggs.
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion (freshly grated)
- 1/2 cup gluten-free cracker crumbs (finely crushed, or dry gluten-free breadcrumbs)
- 3/4 cup potato starch (divided, or cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/8 teaspoon nutmeg (divided)
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk substitute)
- 2 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or vegetable shortening)
Put gluten-free crackers in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to finely crush crackers. Add crackers as necessary to total 1/2 cup crumbs.
In a large mixing bowl combine ground pork or beef, grated onion, cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons potato or cornstarch, seasonings, and egg. Use an electric mixer to thoroughly combine ingredients. Add coconut milk or your favorite milk substitute. Beat on high for 1 minute.
Shape meat mixture into about 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch balls and dust each meatball with potato starch or cornstarch. You can use a level 1/8th cup scoop to shape the meatballs or you can make them smaller if you like. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet. Brown the meatballs in batches, turning to evenly brown.
Remove the browned meatballs from the skillet to drain them on a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave pan drippings from browned meatballs in the skillet.
Whisk 2 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch into 1/2 cup of the beef broth. Add this mixture along with remaining beef stock to the skillet. Add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to the gravy. Whisk and simmer over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add the browned meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
To serve, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and pile them in a large serving dish. Pour hot gravy over meatballs. Garnish with parsley for a nice presentation.
You can use all ground beef rather than beef and pork, if you prefer.
If you would like a creamy sauce, use 1/2 cup soy yogurt, 1 cup soy milk, 2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together and add to the skillet with the pan drippings and heat to the desired consistency.
If you want to leave out the egg, you will likely still have good success with this recipe as the meat is well-combined using the electric mixer. That makes it a stickier mixture in itself. Plus, the cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs also act as binders, but you may want to soak them with 3 tablespoons of water to boost their moisture and replace the fluid volume of the egg. If you are sensitive to eggs, be sure to check the ingredients of the gluten-free crackers or breadcrumbs to ensure they do not contain eggs.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.
This recipe is adapted for gluten-free cooking from a recipe published in "Immanuel Cookery" by the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie.