Good Food on The GOODista website illustrated by fruits and logo.Swedish meatballs can be heavy. The traditional recipe is laden with butter, cream and salty stock. This recipe takes Swedish meatballs to a new taste level, yet is so much lighter. The GOODista uses oats, olive oil and beer to make the yummiest meatballs ever. No smorgasbord or everyday dinner in Sweden is complete without meatballs – but rolling into your mouth rather than out of the chair is what drives us to recommend this healthy recipe for success. Taste and waist guaranteed — what more do you want? 

Swedish Meatballs: Tradition Meets Healthy Living

No Swede would forgive me if I didn’t include the (in)famous meatballs in my recipe collection. The traditional take includes loads of butter, cream and salty stock. My healthier take is easy, yet very tasty.  Oats instead of flour or breadcrumbs, beer instead of stock, and olive oil instead of butter. This meatball recipe is also dairy and gluten-free — which is a great plus.

Swedish meatballs in a lighter version in this recipe, and in pictures.

Swedish Meatballs – a healthier take on

IKEA is where most people encountered Swedish meatballs for the first time. As much as I love IKEA for all its design and easy to fit furniture, there is no way that I would include processed food in my everyday life. If you cannot help yourself from being a meatball addict (as a result of IKEA) — do try this recipe instead. It’s freeze, taste and waist friendly – what more do you need? 

Today you can find healthier versions of Swedish meatballs recipes all over the internet. What sets mine apart?  First of all that I am Swedish, so my first encounter with meatballs come from my grandmother’s kitchen. Second is the combination of beer, oats and olive oil. The beer gives depth and flavour that marries so well with the Nordic diet tradition. Oats are the perfect binding agent and makes the meatballs gluten-free. The olive oil makes them leaner and better tasting ( I think! ) – and therefore this recipe is also dairy free. There is no reason why you cannot enjoy meatballs now and again now, right? 

Traditionally you would add a cream sauce and lingonberry jam. I don’t. However, if you want something saucy to go with your meatballs, I recommend a dollop of natural yoghurt flavoured with mustard, and cranberry sauce. 🙂 (see how in the recipe notes)

If you like recipes and inspiration to healthy living and lifestyle changes you can do: Follow The GOODista:

Tip: To convert from metric use this: Cooking Conversion

Swedish Meatballs - A Healthier Take
Serves 10
Swedish meatballs with a healthier, lighter take yet just as tasty as any traditional recipe. These are taste and waist friendly, and so easy to make and freeze. An added bonus is that the recipe is gluten and dairy free.
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
198 calories
9 g
75 g
9 g
18 g
2 g
114 g
86 g
1 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 198
Calories from Fat 77
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 75mg
Sodium 86mg
Total Carbohydrates 9g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 400 g Ground Meat ( I use Veal)
  2. 100 g Ground Pork
  3. 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  4. 1 Egg, beaten
  5. 1 Onion, chopped fine
  6. 330 ml Beer (1 bottle or can of lager)
  7. 100 g Rolled Oats
  8. 1 Tbsp Mustard (A sweeter type is best, but Dijon works well too)
  9. 1 Tbsp Soja Sauce
  10. 1 tsp Nutmeg
  11. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  12. 1 bunch Parsley, chopped
  13. Salt and Peppar
  1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
  2. Transfer the onion to a large bowl. Add the oats and pour over the beer, and add soya sauce and mustard. Let it stand for 5 minutes so the oats take in the moisture.
  3. Add the mince, nutmeg, cinnamon and half of your chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  4. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Place on the lined tray. Cover. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
  5. Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add 5 -6 of the raw meatballs. Cook, turning carefully, for 6-8 minutes or until cooked. Transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
  6. Serve 5 - 6 meatballs to each person and sprinkle parsley on top of each serving. If you want sauce — check out the notes below how to make a waist friendly one.
Alternative cooking method
  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees celsius,
  2. After chilling the raw meatballs, bake them for 15 minutes. Roll the balls over so that a different side is touching the sheet and bake for another 15 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!
  1. If you want a sauce to go with the meatballs, add a good dollop of natural yoghurt to the pan after you have cooked the meatballs. Add some mustard, soya sauce and a bit more beer. Season to taste. Stir until combined. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and cranberry jam (or lingonberry in keeping with Swedish tradition).
  2. These meatballs freeze happily so feel free to make a large batch. A tip is to freeze them with grease proof paper in between each layer. Perfect to be prepared for the weeks to come, isn't it?
  3. Enjoy!
The GOODista
Sign up to The GOODista to Feel, Be and Do Good – Every Day and Working (far) Away.

Copyright and Terms of Use 

What is your take on healthier meatballs? Comments: