Swedish meatballs are a comfort food for many people around the world and are considered to be a delicacy no matter how you make it.
This dish has been popular all over the world – not just in Sweden! Swedish meatballs are made using household ingredients and are very forgiving when it comes to preparation and flavor.
What are the 5 best sides for Swedish meatballs? There are many things you can pair with meatballs. Salad, vegetables, steamed rice, gravy, sauces, and of course no Swedish meatball recipe can be complete without a heaping full of delicious and creamy mashed potatoes.
The sky is the limit when it comes to meatballs and trust us when we say that you will surely elevate your meatball game with any of our listed sides. Read on to learn more!
How To Make Swedish Meat Balls
Swedish meatballs can be made with beef, pork, or as we would recommend, a combination of both.
The best kind of meatballs has the perfect quantity of fat and protein. This gives the meatballs a distinct flavor and adds a lot of color to them as well.
This recipe will make about 35 one-ounce meatballs and believe us, you want as many meatballs as possible for the sides that we have listed below.
There are many ways to prepare meatballs and this recipe is one of the most forgiving when it comes to flavor and additions. You can add almost any complimentary ingredient to this recipe to elevate the flavor of the meatballs.
The basic ingredients for classic Swedish meatballs are:
- Bread crumbs
- Finely diced onion
These 6 ingredients combined turn into one of the best tasting meatballs in the world. To begin, in a bowl, take 1 pound of pork and 1 pound of beef and combine.
In a separate bowl, add in 3-4 tablespoons of bread crumbs, 3-4 tablespoons of cream, 1 egg, 1/2 large onion, and any flavoring of your choice.
The flavorings can range from mustard, minced vegetables, potatoes, and more. As mentioned, you can also eyeball this recipe and go by your gut feeling.
If you think you need more breadcrumbs then add in more. If you feel that the meatballs won’t stick together then you can add in more or less cream as per your own preferences.
Remember, you just need the meatballs to stick together and that is where the egg, bread crumbs, and cream will come in. You can vary the proportions of these ingredients so long as they don’t overpower the flavor of the mixture.
Once everything is incorporated, begin to shape the meatballs one by one. We recommend making 1-ounce meatballs. This way, this recipe will make around 35 meatballs.
Set the meatballs aside and let them sit for about 15-30 minutes. This will allow everything to incorporate thoroughly.
When cooking the meatballs, heat a frying pan with butter. If you don’t want to use butter then you can always substitute it with vegetable or olive oil.
Once the butter has melted and covered the surface of the pan, place your meatballs one by one and turn them occasionally as they take on color.
Cook on all sides and when you are down to the last side, just throw in a few small pieces of butter and let them melt and soak up.
Turn the heat off and dish them out. That’s it.
The 5 Best Sides for Swedish Meatballs
Now that you have made the meatballs, it’s time to prepare the sides.
Swedish meatballs go great with all types of vegetables, sauces, salads, and more but there are a few recipes that you just have to try if you really want to enjoy these meatballs.
Here are our 5 top picks for sides:
1. Mashed Potatoes
Starting with a classic, mashed potatoes will almost always be seen with Swedish meatballs. It’s an unspoken rule: if there are Swedish meatballs, then there better be mashed potatoes on the side.
To make mashed potatoes, all you need is to boil a few unpeeled potatoes in a pot full of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked.
You can check for doneness by sticking in a fork. If the fork easily penetrates the potato and reaches the center, then you’re done.
If the fork has some resistance to it, then continue cooking for 5 more minutes and check again. Once the potatoes are cooked, take them out and run them under cold water. Do not peel them immediately because they will be piping hot.
Once cool, peel the potatoes completely, and then in a separate bowl, mash them until they turn into a homogenous paste. You can also use a sift to finely mash the potatoes, this step will make sure that there are no lumps in the mix.
Now, add some butter, salt, white/black pepper, and 1-2 tablespoons of milk and mix together.
You will want to have a thick consistency that tastes great. You can add more butter or milk if you feel that the mix needs to be runnier.
Use a stove and heat the mix at a low temperature to cook the mashed potatoes if they are too cool to work with.
Serve a heaping full of these delicious, thick, and creamy mashed potatoes with the meatballs, and voila!
2. Traditional Sauce
Here’s another great side dish that you can have with the meatballs. The great thing about this gravy/sauce is that you can also pour it over the mashed potatoes and the meatballs for an even greater flavor.
To make the sauce, mix in 2 cups of stock (traditionally, veal stock is used), 4 cups of heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons of cranberry jam (traditionally, lingonberry jam is used).
Heat over medium heat and cook until all of the mixture is completely unified and reduce it until it has the consistency of a thick sauce. Serve in a small bowl or drip it over the meatballs and mashed potatoes.
3. Spiced Rice
Rice will go extremely well as a side especially if you also make the traditional sauce listed above.
To make rice, soak about 1 to 1.5 cups of raw rice in water for about 30 minutes.
Then, properly clean the rice by running tap water over them until the water isn’t cloudy anymore, this would indicate that the rice starch has been reduced and the rice is ready to cook.
Add 1.5 tsp of fine salt per cup of rice and cook until soft but texturally firm and let them cool down for about 5 minutes.
In a pan, heat vegetable oil and mix in cumin. Allow them to become fragrant. Then add in diced cauliflower and rice. Mix thoroughly and then top with a pinch of chili flakes, chicken powder, and white pepper.
You would want to only use the heat to incorporate all the ingredients together – not to cook them further. Dish out the rice in a small bowl and using the back of a tablespoon, lightly pack the rice into the bowl.
Turn the bowl upside down on the plate and give it a gentle tap to release the dome-shaped rice. Pour over the traditional sauce and enjoy this delicious side with the meatballs!
4. Roasted Broccoli With Parmesan
This vegetable side will complement the flavors in the meatball and will give that satisfying crunch and texture that you need in a side dish.
To make this side, simply roast broccoli until they are tender yet chewy then add in salt and parmesan cheese with a dash of lemon.
Trust us, it’s simple but truly delicious! You can either add as much cheese as you would like or you can just top the broccoli with a few good strands of cheese.
You may also lightly fry the vegetable to get an even tastier exterior.
5. Cranberry Sauce
This is the perfect side for Swedish meatballs. It has the tang, the sweetness, and the punchy flavor to complement the complex flavor profile of the meatballs or any other sides that you make from this list.
To make the sauce, add in 150 grams of white sugar, 70 grams of light brown sugar, 80 ml of water, 160 ml of orange juice, and 350 grams of properly rinsed and cleaned cranberries.
Mix everything except for the cranberries in a pan and bring to a boil. Then add in the cranberries and cook for about 15-20 minutes over medium heat. The cranberries may burst and splatter so be careful.
Cook until the cranberries have softened. Reduce until you reach a slightly runny consistency (the sauce will thicken once cooled down too).
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate for 2 hours before usage.
That’s it! These 5 sides are going to take your Swedish meatballs to the next level. There is nothing more comforting than having meatballs accompanied by the right type of side dish.
Remember, when it comes to the meatballs, you can either go traditional or you can add in a twist by adding in your favorite flavorings.
As for the sides, the sky is the limit. Make one or several from this list, we are sure that you will love them all.