Swedish Meatballs with Cashew Pesto Arugula Salad

There is one place on Earth that rivals Disney World for me. It can’t match the magic of the Magic Kingdom, but it brings joy to a grown-up’s heart, is filled with the scent of delectable Swedish cooking, and when you are able to show restraint, it’s less expensive than Disney. Have you guessed it yet? Yes, I can only be talking about one place: Ikea. The mecca of affordable furnishings and masters of maximizing small spaces. Who doesn’t enjoy perusing Pinterest-worthy room setups while wiping the remnants of a sticky cinnamon bun from your hand? It’s pure joy.

Sweden, the homeland of this wondrous place, has been a recent topic of conversation for Lesley and me in recent months. We’ve learned a lot about this place. Here are some fun facts:

  • The temperatures are not as cold as we had imagined they would be. The summers range in the low 70s and the winters are in the 20s. Of course, this depends on where you are in the country.
  • The country has made a commitment to renewable energy and is actively phasing out the use of gas and nuclear power.
  • It is in the top five countries with the lowest infant mortality rates.
  • The country does not report statistics related to ethnicity.

So, in celebration of our new learning and Ikea, I decided to make a Swedish-themed dinner for our monthly family dinner. I have never attempted meatballs before, mainly because they weird me out, but I was pleased to find that they were not hard to make. A variation of the moscow mule helped me through the meatball-forming weirdness. They also have a much different flavor than your typical Italian meatballs. Another plus for me. The salad is traditionally named Ruccolapesto Med Cashewnotter and called for a cheese called Västerbotten. Unfortunately our local Kroger doesn’t carry that kind, so I chose another cheese native to Sweden, Jarlsberg. Both turned out really delicious, and the girls at least attempted to eat the meatballs. The dinner wrapped up, in true Ikea style, with homemade cinnamon rolls. The girls spent the night riding their sugar high, and Lesley and I sat happily and contentedly at the table. Another perfect evening.

Swedish Meatballs with Cashew Pesto Arugula Salad

Swedish Meatballs with Cashew Pesto Arugula Salad



  1. The first step to this dish is finely mincing the onions. To accomplish this task, I used my favorite kitchen tool, my Pampered Chef food chopper.
  2. Saute the onions in 1 tbsp butter until soft.
  3. Mix together pork, beef, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper. Add onions when cool.
  4. Form mixture into meatballs. It should make between 40 and 50 meatballs. Place meatballs on a baking sheet.
  5. Melt 1 tbsp butter in skillet.
  6. Brown meatballs on each side. Do not worry about cooking the meatballs all the way through. They will cook in the sauce later.
  7. Clean the skillet and melt 6 tbsp butter. Add flour. Use spatula to continuously stir the mixture.
  8. When mixture becomes a cloudy light brown, add beef stock.
  9. Add sour cream and crème fraîche. You can use all sour cream if you don't want to pay the extra for crème fraîche. I'm telling you, though, it's definitely worth it.
  10. Add meatballs.
  11. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Serve over noodles or potatoes and top with parsley.
  13. For Cashew Pesto Arugula Salad
  14. Shred the Jarlsberg cheese.
  15. Combine cheese, garlic, and toasted cashews in a food processor and chop. Mixture should contain small pieces of cashew.
  16. Add olive oil and canola oil.
  17. Use food processor to mix together.
  18. Toss over arugula.
  19. Chill and serve.
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