Last week, I shared our Swedish Meatball Recipe, classic meatballs served with creamy sauce and lingonberry jam. Today, I’ll share how to put together a Swedish Meatball Sandwich; if you ask me, it is the best way to use any leftover Swedish meatballs! This is a classic Swedish recipe for an open sandwich (Swedes love their open sandwiches!) and the Scandinavian answer to an Italian meatball sub.
Juicy meatballs are served with Beetroot Salad for a quick and healthy meal.
Meatballs are a staple in most Swedish homes and a firm favorite on the Christmas table. But there not just for Christmas! It's common to eat meatballs all year round in Sweden and meatball sandwiches are sold in most delis but even as lunch in fancier restaurants. Traditionally served on wholegrain rye bread with green salad leaves, pickled beet and apple salad. Though the presentation varies, you will find Swedish meatball subs are often sold even in gas stations.
My preference will always be for a homemade meatball sandwich!
Meatballs are so common in Sweden that most families have a favorite recipe. They are basically the same, with some variations. For example, some recipes call for ground beef, and some for a meat mixture, for example, pork and beef.
You can choose between bread crumbs, whole oats, or boiled potatoes as fillers, and some recipes call for an egg yolk or even a whole egg. Most often, they are seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and not much else.
This simple meatball mixture is rolled into small balls and oven-baked or fried in a little bit of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.
If making your own meatballs seems like a hassle or time is an issue, you can often pick up Swedish Meatballs at Ikea! Ikea meatballs are frozen and should, therefore, best cooked on a baking sheet in the oven or in a skillet over medium heat.
Any eftover meatballs should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.
You’ll find my delicious Swedish Meatball Recipe here! It’s gluten and egg-free, which makes it easy to serve for a gathering or Swedish Jul Bord.
In Sweden, you’ll find meatball sandwiches made using a range of different breads.
Wholegrain rye bread is a traditional bread in Sweden, sometimes called ‘kavring’. It has a distinct flavor that’s difficult to describe, and it’s certainly not for everyone’s taste buds, but I’ve learned to love it!
White bread is okay to use, though I suggest lightly toasting as it can quickly soften and fall apart. If you have bread that is a few days old, this is a great way to use it up! Being an open sandwich, you will likely use a knife and fork anyway, but soggy bread isn’t as delicious.
Alternatively, you can use a thicker bread, like these white rye rounds. Called ‘Rågkusar’ in Sweden, they are thick yet soft and hold up well for this sandwich.
Swedish hard bread, or ‘knäcke bröd’, is useful as you don’t need to have fresh bread on hand. However, you will need to use your hands rather than a knife and fork, and it’s therefore a good idea to load the bread lightly!
Baguettes or a long French roll are easy to pick up at most supermarkets and bakeries here, but you would be hard-pushed to find a soft hoagie roll. They are useful if you want to make this sandwich to go as you can use your hands to eat the sandwich. Of course, you can even make homemade sourdough baguettes if you wish and have time.. the sky is the limit here!
So, I advise using your favorite bread for this recipe, bearing in mind that the bread may absorb some of the creamy sauce and quickly become soft.
Swedish meatballs are often served with potatoes, lingonberry jam and a delicious creamy gravy made with heavy cream. But a Swedish meatball sandwich has a completely different flavor profile.
Swedish beetroot salad comes in as many variants as ice cream. Many families have their own favorite recipe that is served every Christmas.
The most common recipes use pickled beets, mayonnaise, and a little creme fraiche or sour cream.
You’ll often find an apple in the recipe, and occasionally onion or onion powder. It’s seasoned using salt, pepper, and a little mustard.
I find that store-bought beet salad tastes mostly of mayonnaise, and the list of ingredients is rather long for my liking. But it is certainly convenient. I prefer Homemade Beetroot And Apple Salad made using only creme fraiche as dressing, as I find the salad lighter and enjoy a larger portion.
What are the main differences between a Swedish Meatball Sandwich and an Italian Meatball Sub?
–Italian meatballs are often served in a Marinara sauce (like a tomato pasta sauce) with melted fresh mozzarella cheese or Provolone Cheese.
-Italian meatball ingredients often include garlic, parsley, and sometimes parmesan cheese. They can be made in the oven and even slow cooker and are famous for being tender.
-Italian sub rolls or hoagie buns are often quite long, and the meatball sandwich is made by heaping spoonful of saucy meatballs into the roll. Sounds delicious, right? I definitely need to try this!
-Swedish style meatballs are quite small, bite-sized morsels that fit rather nicely ontop of the sandwich. They’re also seasoned simply and contain very few ingredients.
-Beetroot salad adds color and flavor and a daily serving of vegetables, and the bread used can be wholegrain or plain white sandwich bread.
So, they have meatballs in common but are two very different sandwiches!
Swedish Meatball Sandwich Ingredients
Swedish meatballs – count on about 6 per person. You can use homemade meatballs or store-bought. Ikea sells ‘authentic’ Swedish meatballs frozen.
The meatballs can be served hot or cold, but preferably at room temperature.
Beetroot Salad – There are many recipes to choose from, or you can use store-bought if you are in Sweden. A small bowl of salad should be plenty, you will need about 1/2 cup of salad per person, depending on which bread you choose.
Bread – Use your favorite bread, lightly toasting if necessary.
Green salads such as such as simple spinach or iceberg lettuce leaves
Fresh parsley to garnish
How To Make A Swedish Meatball Sandwich
1. Prepare your meatballs; if you use leftover meatballs, you can serve them hot or cold, preferably at room temperature.
2. Place the slice of bread on a plate and add a light layer of butter if using. You can add some salad leaves at this stage if you like.
3. Carefully heap some beet salad on the sandwich and balance the meatballs on top. You can, if you prefer, use meatball halves. Garnish if you wish using a little fresh parsley, some finely chopped chives or some fresh pea shoots.
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Hi, I’m Holly!
I want this space to be a source of wisdom, inspiration, and delicious recipes. Whether you’re looking to discover a new hobby or simply craving a great recipe, I hope you’ll find something that sparks your interest here!
- Swedish meatballs - count on about 6 per person. You can use homemade meatballs or store-bought. Ikea sells 'authentic' Swedish meatballs frozen.
- The meatballs can be served hot or cold, but preferably at room temperature.
- Beetroot Salad - There are many recipes to choose from, or you can use store-bought if you are in Sweden. A small bowl of salad should be plenty, you will need about 1/2 cup of salad per person, depending on which bread you choose.
- Bread - Use your favorite bread, lightly toasting if necessary.
- Green salads such as such as simple spinach or iceberg lettuce leaves
- Pea shoots
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Prepare your meatballs; if you use leftover meatballs, you can serve them hot or cold, preferably at room temperature.
- Place the slice of bread on a plate and add a light layer of butter if using. You can add some salad leaves at this stage if you like.
- Carefully heap some beet salad on the sandwich and balance the meatballs on top. You can, if you prefer, use meatball halves.