Paleo Swedish Meatballs and Gravy


Watch out, IKEA. I'm still on my mission to make millions of meatballs for Worthy Pause, and this was the latest experiment.

As a Minnesotan, I'm sort of ashamed about the infrequency I've eaten Swedish meatballs in my lifetime... once at a wedding, once at IKEA and once at Fika, the most wonderfully delicious cafe at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Seriously, just get your buns over there and eat the salmon smorgas and the cardamom bread pudding.

Anyway, I'm not trying to replace anyone's grandma's recipe with these and I'm positive they are inauthentic, but they hit the spot the other night when I was tooling around in the kitchen. The spot being that creamy, gravy-covered comfort food. 

Before we get to the recipe, I should also mention that the jam-sauce on my plate is the furthest thing from paleo — it's rhubarb-vodka jam that I cooked with a bit of water to sauce it up. It was this amazing take-home gift from the Prairie Made dinner with Heartland and Prairie Organic Vodka. (P.S. That dinner. Mmmm.)

Paleo Swedish Meatballs

paleo, gluten-free and whole30-friendly | serves 2-4

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp celery salt (because real celery is the absolute worst)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients up (I actually used a food processor for this to give them that weird, IKEA-like smoothness, but you don't need to follow suit). Roll meat mixture into balls about 1.5 inches in diameter and place on a lined baking sheet. Use two pans if it is getting crowded.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.



  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 T of butter or ghee
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cups beef stock or broth
  • optional: 1.5 T arrowroot powder (mix with a little warm water first to avoid chunks, just like you'd do with cornstarch)
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  1. While the meatballs are in the oven, fry your onions on medium heat with butter or ghee until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  3. Then slowly add beef broth. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, puree this mixture. 
  5. If your gravy isn't creamy enough, whisk in the optional arrowroot powder/water slowly and allow the gravy to thicken to your desired consistency. You may not have to use all your arrowroot powder or maybe you want to add more. You could also add sour cream instead, if you are not a paleo person. You are the conductor on this gravy train. 
  6. Season to taste (I was quite liberal with the pepper), pour on your meatballs and eat.

Lingonberry Sauce

You're on your own for this one, but DO NOT SKIP THE SAUCE, I SAY. Lingonberry sauce is most authentically Swedish, but you could substitute cranberry sauce as well. You just want something sweet and tart.



Do these stand (or at least sit) up to IKEA's? Let me know in the comments!