Beef Meatballs in Gravy Sauce

Beef meatballs, seasoned with aromatic spices – nutmeg and allspice in a thick gravy sauce, served with homemade cranberry sauce. A healthier version of IKEA Swedish meatballs. 

My husband and I just lovee going to IKEA. After good shopping, we like to visit IKEA restaurant, of course 😉 and we always kind of order the same meal – I have fish with vegetables and my husband have Swedish meatballs. He loves that dumplings with cranberry sauce so much that it’s a real pleasure to watch him while he’s eating them. Of course, every time he mumbles with his mouth full how I JUST HAVE to prepare Swedish meatballs at home someday. And luckily for him, that day came just before the new year’s eve. I was thinking how it’s time to make something new for lunch, and that recipe sounded challenging, and I knew that my hubby will explode with happiness. I found original recipe for Swedish meatballs, and I modified it by swapping unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. And this is how I made this recipe – a healthier version of Swedish IKEA meatballs.

With the “small” healthy changes in your diet, you’re making a long-term good for your health.

For the preparation of this dish, I used 100% ground beef that I bought fresh at a local butcher shop. You can buy fresh ground beef in the store, of course. When buying just pay attention to the shelf life and color of meat – beef must be red, not brownish. First I added breadcrumbs and spices into a ground meat, and I mixed it right with my hands. Then I added one egg yolk who nicely joined the whole mixture. Make sure you let the mixture stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before you start cooking. That way the mixture will soak spices scent and flavors and become more compact. I used mild and hot spices – nutmeg and allspice. Slightly peppery allspice and sweet-smelling nutmeg gave the meat unique and aromatic flavor. I didn’t add any salt to the mixture because the meat itself is sufficient salty and the sauce, made of beef broth, makes this dish salty enough.

I shaped meatballs with my hands, and to control the size of the meatballs I used a tablespoon. Make medium size 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs (diameter up to 4 cm). First I baked meatballs in a pan with little olive oil over medium heat until browned on all sides, and then I set them aside on a plate.  Meat will let out enough fat so don’t overdo with added oil. Then I added the flour and beef stock into a pan. When the sauce become thick, I returned the meatballs to the pan, and I cooked all for about another 10 minutes.

Beef Meatballs in a Gravy Sauce |

Beef Meatballs in a Gravy Sauce |

[Tweet “I live a #healthylifestyle, so today I’m preparing #recipe for healthier IKEA Swedish meatballs.”]

I served beef meatballs with mashed potatoes, but it goes well with pasta or rice. To make sure IKEA experience is complete, I also served a homemade cranberry sauce. I made a sauce with dried cranberries due to lack of fresh ones. Of course, you can simply go to the store and buy a cranberry jam, but if you watch for calorie and added sugar intake than making a sauce at home is a better and healthier option.

Beef Meatballs in a Gravy Sauce |

As I watched my husband enjoy the tasty meatballs that I just prepared, while spreading the sweet red cranberry sauce on every bite, I could not but feel pure satisfaction. I’m glad I tried that recipe for Swedish meatballs after all and I’m pleased I’ve managed to adapt it to us that eat healthily. I hope that you too will enjoy in healthy rounded titbits. I believe that once you try this recipe at home, next time you visit IKEA restaurant, you will not crave so much for their meatballs anymore.

Beef Meatballs in a Gravy Sauce |

Beef Meatballs in Gravy Sauce |

0 from 0 votes

Beef Meatballs in Gravy Sauce

Beef meatballs, seasoned with aromatic spices - nutmeg and allspice in a thick sauce, served with cranberry sauce. A healthier version of IKEA Swedish meatballs.
Course Dinner, Lunch, meat
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 20
Author Natalie


For meatballs and gravy

  • 1 pound 500 g ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups beef broth

For cranberry sauce:

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. For meatballs and gravy
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, allspice and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Add egg yolk and mix well. Leave for 10 minutes at room temperature.
  3. With hands and using a tablespoon roll the mixture into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs (up to 4 cm in diameter). Dip one side of an each meatball into whole wheat flour and arrange it on a plate.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate and set a side.
  5. In remaining oil whisk in flour and cook for about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

For cranberry sauce

  1. Soak dried cranberries in warm water for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain cranberries. Keep the water in which were cranberries.
  3. Mix half of cranberries with 2-3 tablespoons retained water in a blender until smooth.
  4. Put rest of cranberries in a saucepot, add honey or syrup, lemon juice, and mixed cranberries and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally while the liquid is reduced

Have you tried IKEA’s meatballs? I would love to hear what you think about this healthier version. Can wait to hear your responses 😉



Are you interested in a healthy lifestyle? Then subscribe to my VIP list and get new blog posts delivered straight to your inbox 😉

Check out my other healthy recipes 😉

Soy Marinated Chicken Skewers

Soy Marinated Chicken Skewers

Turkey burger with greek yogurt topping

Turkey burger with greek yogurt topping

Leeks Ginger Egg Bake

Leeks Ginger Egg Bake |

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *