Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Vegan Meatballs at IKEA!

Memphis just got an IKEA! It opened about a week before Christmas, but I didn't make it over there until this past Monday. My friend Susan suggested we check it out then since we were both off work for the holiday. We knew the place would be packed since EVERYBODY was off, but we went in fully prepared to be there for several hours. You don't just make a quick trip into IKEA. It's an experience, right?

We spent a good deal of time browsing in the showrooms, imagining how much cooler our own homes could look if we just tossed out everything we had and started over with IKEA furniture and accessories. And then, about an hour into our experience, we found ourselves at the cafe in the center of the store. We'd heard they had vegan Swedish meatballs, and we were both very excited to try them (Susan is a vegetarian). The food line was massive, and it took about 30 minutes to get to the counter. But once there, the service was cafeteria style and went quickly.

As we waited in line, we passed a cooler of Swedish drink boxes. I went with the Dryck Flader elderflower drink. It was quite refreshing and only lightly floral and slightly sweet. The other one in this pic is lingonberry.

We also passed a grab-your-own salad case where they had the IKEA Harvest Salad — some with chicken and some without. Obviously, I grabbed a vegan one. It was a simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomato, walnuts, and dried cranberries. I picked up a packet of Newman's Own Lite Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette to dress it.

Finally, we approached the counter, where we were greeted by this glowing sign.

The Vegetable Balls plate comes with lentil ragout and a vegetable pilaf. Everything was fantastic! The balls were loaded with veggies and very flavorful. The lentils were warm and hearty and tomato-y. The pilaf was flecked with chewy grains (wheat berries?), zucchini, green onions, and red bell pepper.

We loved the balls so much that we each grabbed bags of the frozen vegetable balls from the adjoining Swedish food market. I also picked up a jar of IKEA's lingonberry jam so I can make the traditional Swedish meatball dish at home. We noticed that lots of IKEA's food products in the grocery area were vegan — the IKEA cookies, the crispbreads, jams, mustards, even some of the gummy candies.

I don't know how often I'll make it out to the magical land of IKEA, but I'm glad to know it's there. I'll most certainly be hitting them up next time I need furniture. I can't really buy nice, expensive things since my animals destroy everything. But IKEA is perfect for fur mamas who need more disposable furniture.


Sarah said...

Ikea is my absolute favorite place for a cheap meal and fun quirky home decor. Next time, check out the kids section. They have some really fun stuffed animals (cactus, broccoli, green beans) and other white elephanty-gifts. The veggie meatballs in LA are served with waterlogged steamed vegetables and a weird sweet potato curry so I don't get them in the store that often, but I always have some in my freezer. They are low in cals and carbs and are really whole-foodsy. I bet they are approved for your reset and restore program!

The best IKEA food items are def the Anna's cookies. Gingery, crispy, and accidentally vegan! Here is the amazon link so you know what to look for.

I'm also a huge fan of the crispbreads, ligonberry jam, and the dill hummus.

Hillary said...

Your plate looks so delicious! When I went to the Ikea near Seattle I didn't try them because all the food was so beige, it reminded me of depressing cafeteria food. Now I wish I would have at least bought a bag!!

Barb@ThatWasVegan? said...

I really enjoy their meatballs too. Have you the Chef Ernesto veggie burgers from Dollar Tree? They're very similar in both flavor and texture, especially with the large chunks of veggies. And they're only $1 for 2 burgers ;)

Tea and Sympatico said...

Love those meatballs. I'm always surprised how vegan friendly Ikea is with quite a few accidently vegan cookies and snacks. I also always pick up a jar of a sweet mustard and dill sauce which makes amazing potato salad.

Éphée Lafée said...

I bought a bag of those frozen balls; I didn't know they were offering them at their restaurant! Good to know!

Susan said...

There is an Ikea close to me and I still haven't been to get the vegan meatballs and other vegan stuff. I was going to go earlier this year to get supplies for Eurovision (which was hosted in Sweden this year, so I ate Swedish food all day), but I didn't manage to organise myself. I really have few excuses, it is so close. One day soon...

House Vegan said...

Love Ikea and their vegan snacks! I appreciate the vegan meatball option, and I think they're tasty, but I wouldn't complain if they
started offering vegan mashed potatoes too :)

Erika said...

I just hit up Ikea a few days ago! Another of their offerings which I always buy is the Kex cookies. They're pretty basic graham cracker cookies in alphabet shapes (plus the extra Swedish letters Ä, Ö, and Å). They're pretty insane with a bit of cream cheese! They also recently tarted selling tånkaviar, which is a seaweed-based vegan 'caviar'. It pairs really well with avocado but you could go true Swedish with it and have it on crispbread with some nut cheese.