Having spent many years celebrating Swedish Christmas with loved ones, I feel like I finally have found a pretty good spread for my vegetarian Swedish smorgasbord. Traditionally Swedes have almost no veggies on the Christmas spread – except for a brown cabbage dish which doesn't exactly dance on the plate.
I'm not a big fan of fake meats – so what you will see here are just veggie swap outs – flavourwise they are nothing to really write home about – but they look the part. Maybe try one or two for your vegetarian loved ones.
1. Baked Swede – A substitute ham – The centerpiece of the Swedish Christmas table is the ham. OK, so Tofurkey has scared off many a meateater from vegetarian substitutes. Instead of ham, I prepare a breaded swede or rotebega. In the past I have boiled my swede in a vegetable boullion. This year I might bake it instead, since the flavours are better. Then I baste it in egg with a click of mustard, and then roll it in bread crumbs. This slices up nicely and looks a bit like ham. It doesn't taste anything like ham though.
2. Vegetarian Swedish meatballs – OK, so this is a bit of a shake-up. If you like fake meat products, just buy a box. I make mine from scratch with chickpeas, breadcrumbs and an egg – for consistancy. I flavour it with traditional Swedish meatball spices like nutmeg – and a Swedish allspice we have at home. I used a basic falafel recipe and changed the spices.
3. Eggplant 'herring' – I pickle some eggplant to mimic herring. One of the common herrings is mustard herring. To mimic this I take a few tablespoons of mustard, a dash of white wine vinegar, 2 dashes of canola oil, half a cup of cream, salt and pepper. I use this to cover small strips of eggplant that I have steamed in my steamer. (I cut the eggplant to about the same width as herring). Place in glass jar and let chill in the refrigerator.
4. Jonssons Temptation -without the temptation – traditionally this is a potato casserole with some anchovis mixed in. I serve just a plain potato casserole as this dish. Any respectable recipe will do
5. Rice cereal – this is one of those few vegetraian dishes on the menu – I have seen it served as a starter or a dessert. In my home we cheat and use rice flakes that you can find in Swedish stores. This takes about 15 minutes to prepare. Here is a basic recipe if you cannot find the flakes
Traditionally you hide an almond in the cereal – and the one who finds the almond is the next person to get married (or to get a little prize). The cereal is served with cinnamon and butter on top, and some people pour milk or fruit soup (another Swedish specialty) on top.
So Enjoy! And hope you have a very happy and perhaps a touch of the vegetarian, Swedish Christmas smorgasbord (or julbord as we say here!)