Swedish Tofu Balls


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

I Can Cook Vegan

I Can Cook Vegan

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Published 2019

  • About

Okay, confession time ... I went vegan way before I had a chance to try authentic Swedish meatballs, so the ones I knew and loved came from a microwave dinner. But I won’t lie: They were my favorite meal of all time! I’ve tried to re-create the magic here with light, savory balls, made with tofu for chewiness and tahini for depth. The gravy is rich, creamy, and funky, just like I remember it. And I guess I am going to get booed out of Sweden when I say that cranberry sauce is fantabulous with these, too, if you can’t find the traditional lingonberry jam. Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes!


For the gravy

  • 3 cups (720 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 cup (120 g) whole unroasted cashews (if you don’t own a high-speed blender)
  • ¼ cup (8 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground white pepper

For the balls

  • 1 (14-ounce/400 g) package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • ½ cup (100 g) breadcrumbs
  • cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil, for pan-frying
  • Lingonberry jam and cranberry sauce, for serving
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. Make the gravy: Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth, occasionally scraping the sides with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a small pot and gently heat until thick and bubbly. Cover and set aside.
  2. Make the balls: In a medium mixing bowl, using your hands (or an avocado masher), mash the tofu until it resembles ricotta. Mix in the onion, soy sauce, tahini, and breadcrumbs until they are firm and hold together easily.
  3. Pour the flour into a wide shallow bowl or a rimmed dinner plate. Roll the tofu mixture into 14 to 16 golf ball–size balls. Roll each ball in the flour.
  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into the skillet. Drop in a little flour and if it bubbles quickly, the oil is ready. Fry the balls in batches, turning them occasionally until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.
  5. Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes with gravy and dollops of lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce. Garnish with parsley.