Home » Vegan Norwegian Meatballs (Kjøttkaker Med Brun Saus)

Vegan Norwegian Meatballs (Kjøttkaker Med Brun Saus)

meatless Norwegian meatballs with dairy free gravy and mashed potatoes

My Vegan Norwegian Meatballs with Gravyalso known as Kjøttkaker med Brun Saus – tastes just like the meatballs my Grandma used to make but they’re completely meat-free!

meatless Norwegian meatballs with dairy free gravy and mashed potatoes

What Are Norwegian Meatballs?

Meatballs with gravy is a very common dish in Norway and most families make a similar version of this hearty and comforting meal year round. The meatballs are traditionally made from ground beef, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper, plus an egg and a splash of milk to help bring the mixture together.

The meatballs are rolled into…well, not balls so much as ovals usually…and then they’re browned in a large skillet.

Once the meatballs have browned on both sides, they’re submerged in a savory brown gravy and served alongside boiled potatoes with tart Lingonberry sauce on the side.

What’s the Main Difference between Norwegian Meatballs and Swedish Meatballs?

Norwegian and Swedish cultures are closely related, so it’s no surprise that both countries have own version of these meatballs. The Norwegian version is typically larger, more oval shaped, and served with a darker brown gravy. Whereas Swedish meatballs are smaller, rounder and sometimes severed with a cream-based gravy.

They’re both commonly served with potatoes, Lingonberry sauce (Titabær saus in Norwegian) and something green on the side like peas or a pickled cucumber salad.

vegan meatballs recipe vegan kjøttkaker recipe

How to Make Vegan Norwegian Meatballs

To make meatless Norwegian meatballs start with vegan ground beef of choice and add onions, allspice or nutmeg, salt and pepper. Next add some vegan Worcestershire sauce for meaty richness, some breadcrumbs to lock in the moisture, and a flax egg (ground flax seeds + water) to bind it all together.

beyond beef meatballs recipe

Mix to combine.

vegan meatballs kjøttkaker

Shape into 12-13 meatballs.

Pan fry for 1-2 minutes on each side and then transfer to a plate and set aside. These meatballs will eventually be submerged in delicious brown gravy!

How to Make Vegan Brown Gravy

Brun Saus means “brown gravy” in Norwegian and like most old school Norwegian recipes, it’s very no-fuss and easy to make.

Melt vegan butter in the same pan you cooked the meatballs in and add the flour.

Whisk over medium heat to create a paste. This is known as roux and it will thicken the gravy and make it smooth and creamy.

👩🏻‍🍳 Pro Tip: If you’re using a non-stick pan like mine, make sure to use a silicone whisk so you don”t damage the pan! This green one is so cute too!

Gradually add in vegan beef broth like this one (or low sodium vegetable broth mixed with Worcershire sauce) while whisking continuously and bring the gravy to a soft boil.

Then immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.

Taste and add more salt and lots of black pepper to taste. Remember the meatballs will also be salty, so don’t go crazy with the salt just yet because they’ll add flavor to the gravy later on!

Add the meatballs and the juices from the plate into the gravy and cook for 5-7 minutes or until completely cooked through.

Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, a green veggie and most importantly, Lingonberry sauce on the side. You can find Lingonberry sauce at places like Walmart, Whole Foods and Ikea!

Cranberry sauce is a great substitute in a pinch! They’re very similar but Lingonberry sauce is tart, zingy and slightly less sweet!

meatless Norwegian meatballs with dairy free gravy and mashed potatoes

Vegan Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy

Nicole Vranjican
A completely meatfree version of authentic Norwegian meatballs and gravy! This classic Scandinavian dish is also known as Kjøttkaker med Brun Saus, and it's a hearty "beef" meatball submerged in a savory, dairy-free brown gravy, and served with potatoes and tangy Lingonberry sauce.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Norwegian, Vegan
Servings 12 meatballs

Ingredients
  

Meatballs / Kjottkaker

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 12 oz vegan ground "beef"
  • ¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce I used Amy's Organic Worsetshire
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • neutral oil for cooking refined coconut oil or avocado oil works well

Beef Gravy/ Brun Saus

  • 4 tbsp vegan butter
  • 8 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups vegan beef broth alternative below
  • salt and pepper

Serve with

  • Lingonberry or Cranberry Sauce on the side
  • parsley for garnishing very optional

Instructions
 

Make the Meatballs

  • Start by mixing the ground flax seeds and water together in a small bowl. Stir and set aside to thicken for about 5-10 minutes.
    Meanwhile, chop the onions and add them to a large mixing bowl with the vegan ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, allspice, salt and pepper.
    When the flax egg is thickened, add it to the bowl and mix until combined using a hand mixer.
    Note: you can also mix by hand with a wooden spon but the hand mixer creates a lighter, slightly fluffier meatball mixture. Either way, just mix until combined and then stop to prevent over-mixing. Overmixing = tough meatballs.

Roll

  • Roll a heaped tablespoon of the meat mixture into an oval shaped meatball and place on a plate. They should be about 3 bite-sized and you should have 12-13 meatballs total.

Cook

  • Add 1-2 tbsp of neutral oil like refined coocnut oil or avocado oil to a large frying pan with high sides and heat to meadium-high heat (about a 7 out of 10)
    Once warm, add the meatballs and cook for 2 minutes or until well browned, then flip and cook for 1 more minute.
    These don't need to cook all the way through because they'll finish cooking in the gravy. Just make sure the meatballs are nicely browned on both sides. This will help give the meatballs a bit of structure and hold them together while they finish cooking in the gravy later on. 
    Remove from the pan and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining meatballs and then set the plate of meatballs aside.
    Note: Just like when making pancakes, you may need to lower the heat in between batches to prevent burning! 

Make the Gravy

  • Carefully wipe out the pan and return to the stove. Set to medium heat and add the vegan butter.
    Once metled add the flour and then whisking to combine.
    Cook until the roux becomes a deeply golden brown color. Then gradually add in the vegan beef broth a slash at a time while whisking continuously.
    Note: See Notes below if using veggie broth.
    Simmer for 5 minutes to thichen then season with salt and pepper if needed. Remember, the meatballs will be salty be careful not to add too much salt just yet.
    Ladle out half of the gravy into a gravy boat. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
    Then add the meatballs and the juices from the plate into the gravy and simmer on low for 5-10 minutes.

Serve

  • Serve the meatballs and remaining gravy in a large serving bowl and place in the center of the table with a sprinkle with parsely on top if desired.
    Norwegian meatballs are traditionally served with boiled or mashed potatoes, a green vegetable and most importnalty, some Lingonberry sauce on the side.
    Enjoy!

Notes

Vegan Beef Broth: The vegan not-beef bullion from Edward and Sons works great. 
If using veggie broth instead of beef broth, follow the same recipe but use low-sodium vegetable broth and add 1-1.5 tsp of Worcestershire sauce and salt + pepper to taste. 
 
————–
Cooking Note: Make sure the meatballs are nicely browned on both sides. This will help give the meatballs a bit of structure and hold them together while they finish cooking in the gravy later on. 
Just like when making pancakes, you may need to lower the heat in between batches to prevent burning! 
 
————–
 
If you watched my video and would like to use cornstarch instead of breadcrumbs, use 1 tbsp of cornstarch instead of breadcrumbs and keep everything else the same. 
 
Keyword meatballs, norwegian recipes, vegan gravy, vegan norwegian

More Vegan Norwegian Recipes You Might Like

If you like this recipe please leave a comment and rate this post below! And if you’re on Instagram, tag me in a pic so I can see your recreation! @nikkivegan  

For more free vegan recipes, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel here.

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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram

4 Comments

  1. Andrew
    February 2, 2022 / 11:26 pm

    5 stars
    We’re having a terrible snow storm where I live, and I wanted something cozy and delicious for dinner with lots of candles and warm. I’m sitting and enjoying this meal right now and I’m simply blown away by it. Such great flavors and stick to your bones goodness.
    I highly recommend this recipe. Next time I’m going to try using Aldis Nashville Hot Chicken chips in place of the bread crumbs to really bring that spice. Seriously though this is 10 stars. Thank you for being so inspiring and reminding us vegans how good cooking can be and taste. I feel so blessed to watch your channel.

  2. Liz
    February 13, 2022 / 1:15 am

    5 stars
    This is a 10/10 recipe. My meat eating husband said he could eat this every single week 😂. Because I’m not a meatloaf/meatball fan usually, I wasn’t sure how I would like this but having the meatballs thinner and in an oval shape really made a difference!
    I wasn’t able to get the roux to be dark because I wasn’t sure how long that process took and I felt like mine wasn’t changing color (not sure where I went wrong) but regardless, it still tasted delicious at the end!

  3. Iris
    February 15, 2022 / 12:16 am

    5 stars
    I was in a rush tonight to put food on the table and decided on this recipe. I am sorry to say that I cheated and used the plant base meatballs from IKEA. I have to say that everyone love it. The gravy was perfect. My meat eating niece went for seconds. Thanks Nikki. I’ll try to make the whole meal from scratch the next time😊

  4. Heather
    February 19, 2022 / 12:52 am

    5 stars
    This recipe is so goood and nostalgic for me! It was a super hearty meal that my boyfriend and I both loved. We added mushrooms and onions to the gravy for a little texture and it was so tasty!

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