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Ikea to Introduce Vegetarian Meatballs

Ikea to Introduce Vegetarian Meatballs



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Ikea plans chicken and vegetable balls to reduce carbon footprint

Wikimedia/Miss Eskimo-la-la

Ikea is introducing vegetarian meatballs in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.

Ikea is famous for inexpensive flat-pack furniture and Swedish meatballs, but the company is looking to expand its menu with a new line of vegetarian “meatballs” in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

According to The Telegraph, Ikea’s meatballs are the least environmentally-friendly item on the menu, but they’re also by far the most popular item. Ikea sells about 150 million meatballs a year.

"We are aware of the meat issue with greenhouse gases,” said Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea in the UK. “We are looking at all our food products from a sustainability perspective but specifically meatballs. They are very popular and they are also our most carbon-intensive food item on our menu.”

Yarrow said Ikea is working to tweak the meatballs to make them more environmentally friendly, and it’s also working on developing vegetarian “meatballs” and chicken meatballs.

Ikea hopes the new recipes will go over well and that selling vegetarian and chicken versions will help reduce the amount of regular beef and pork meatballs they sell, but the original meatballs will still be on the menu. Ikea briefly removed them during 2013 when they were found to contain horsemeat, and some customers vehemently objected to their absence.

“We had people begging us to put them back on the menu whatever was in them," Yarrow said.


Ikea To Use Mushroom Based Packaging That Will Decompose In A Garden Within Weeks

Most of the retail products we buy on a daily basis come in a box with protective packaging, to improve a product’s shelf life and handling convenience.

This is needed and beneficial for both, the seller and the customer, but a problem arises because about 50% of all packaging materials are plastic, due to its lightweight and durable properties.

Our environment suffers a lot from the use of polystyrene, and a fact-sheet provided by Harvard reveals that polystyrene, which is made from petroleum, a non-sustainable, non-renewable, heavily polluting and fast-disappearing commodity, is not biodegradable, so it takes thousands to years to break down.

Yet, people do not give up on its use, and according to the French ministry of ecology, we toss over 14 million tons of the stuff into landfills annually. It is estimated that by 2050, 99% of birds on this planet will have plastic in their guts.

Styrofoam causes pollution during its production from petroleum, and it has disastrous effects on the organisms that ingest it. The scariest part is, according to the Ashland Food Cooperative, packaging forms about one-third of the municipal waste in the United States.

Fortunately, people are becoming aware of plastic’s drawbacks, so many companies are seeking for “green” packaging material alternatives to plastic.

Mushroom-based packaging, on the other hand, uses only 12% of the energy used in plastic production and it produces 90% fewer carbon emissions than produced during plastic manufacture.

Therefore, non-petroleum based packaging can help reduce human reliance on fossil fuels, decrease carbon emissions into the atmosphere, counter the hazardous impact of plastic wastes, and protect the biodiversity of our earth.

The Swedish company IKEA agrees that we all need to do something to fight styrofoam pollution, so it is looking to use the biodegradable mycelium “fungi packaging” to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Mycelium is the part of a fungus that acts as its roots, and it grows in a mass of branched fibers, attaching itself to the soil or whatever surface it is growing on.

The alternative Styrofoam is an eco-friendly packaging, developed by the American company Ecovative Design, and the so-called Mushroom Packaging is manufactured in Troy, New York.

Using their Mycelium Foundry, the company is collaborating with companies to create alternative meat products, biodegradable packaging materials, animal-free leather and more.

Ecovative Design is already selling it to large companies, such as Dell, which uses it to cushion large computer servers.

It is created by letting the mycelium grow around clean agricultural waste, like corn stalks or husks. Within a few days, the fungus fibers bind the waste together, getting a solid shape, which is then dried to prevent its growth and production of mushrooms or spores.

According to Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for IKEA in the U.K., the furniture retailer intends to introduce the mycelium packaging as numerous products that traditionally come in polystyrene cannot be recycled with ease or at all. On the other hand, this packaging can be disposed of in the garden, and it will biodegrade within weeks.

Joanna adds that it is even better than mycelium can be grown into a mould that then fits exactly. So, one can create bespoke packaging.

In comparison to polystyrene, mushroom-based packaging uses only 12% of the energy used in plastic production and it produces 90% fewer carbon emissions.

This means that the non-petroleum based packaging can reduce human reliance on fossil fuels, prevent the hazardous impact of plastic wastes, decrease carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and protect the biodiversity of the earth.

Additionally, Joanna stated this was the retailer’s “small yet significant step towards reducing waste and conserving ecological balance.”

An IKEA spokesman confirmed that the company was looking forward to working with Ecovative, claiming that IKEA always looks for new and innovative processes and sustainable materials that can contribute to their commitment.

This is not the first time IKEA is trying to turn to eco-friendly alternatives. It has already launched a vegetarian substitute for meatballs, instead of the Swedish dish served in its cafes.

A spokesman for the retailer added that they want to have a positive impact on people and planet. This means that it often takes a lead in turning waste into resources, developing reverse material flows for waste materials and ensuring key parts of their range are easily recycled.

IKEA was reported to have committed to take a lead in decreasing its use of fossil-based materials while increasing its use of renewable and recycled materials.


IKEA shares recipe for Swedish meatballs with customers on coronavirus lockdown

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This is all well and fine, but could they post a good recipe for yeast-free bread, too?

On Monday, IKEA UK and Ireland shared a recipe for recreating the chain’s Swedish meatballs at home, as IKEA and its cafes in the U.K. are currently shuttered amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

IKEA is taking a queue from Disney and DoubleTree, and sharing an iconic recipe online. (iStock)

IKEA’s recipe is the latest in a trend of theme parks, hotels and celebrity chefs sharing the secrets to their signature dishes for folks stuck at home during the lockdown, including Disney’s Dole Whip, DoubleTree Hotels’ chocolate chip cookies, and Ina Garten’s colossal morning cocktail.

“We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen,” said Lorena Lourido, the country food manager at IKEA UK and Ireland. “Staying at home can be hard, but we want to help make everyone’s lives that little bit easier and more enjoyable.

“Bon appétit or, smaklig måltid, as we say in Sweden!”

Along with the recipe, IKEA released an illustrated recipe card, printed in the style of its assembly directions, to assist in the kitchen. (Not a meat-eater? Don't worry. IKEA has previously revealed the recipe for its vegetarian "meatballs" too.)

“Staying at home can be hard, but we want to help make everyone’s lives that little bit easier and more enjoyable." said Lorena Lourido, the country food manager at IKEA UK and Ireland. (IKEA U.K. and Ireland)

Now if only IKEA would reveal its secret for those IKEA cinnamon buns, we just might have a whole meal on our hands!

Keep reading for the recipe — complete with instructions for making the “iconic” accompanying cream sauce — courtesy of IKEA.


How to Make Ikea-Worthy Vegan Meatballs

When the king of flat-packed furniture announced launched a vegan take on their trademark Swedish meatball, we knew it would be a hit. The GRÖNSAKSBULLAR, a veggie ball made from chickpeas, green peas, kale, corn, carrots, and red bell peppers.

“The veggie ball is meant to cater to a wider audience and offer more choice,” Michael La Cour, managing director of IKEA’s food business, told the Wall Street Journal. They will be healthier (60 fewer calories and half the fat, according to Huffington Post), they will have a drastically smaller carbon footprint (1/30th that of the beef-and-pork version), and — the company hopes — they will usher in a golden age of eco-friendly IKEA cuisine.

RELATED: Best Vegetable Recipes for Meat Lovers

That being said, vegan meatballs are super easy to make and an good go-to meal or side dish to have on standby at home. So, how can you recreate your own IKEA vegan meatball at home and not deal with the crowds? Try your hand at the recipe below.

Easy to make vegan meatballs

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup packed kale
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup cooked or canned black beans, rinsed, drained and divided
  • 2 teaspoons dried organic basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried organic oregano
  • 1 cup frozen organic brown rice, thawed
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peppers, corn, and kale. Cover and cook until peppers are tender and the kale wilts, about 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse sunflower seeds until coarsely ground. Add cooked vegetable mixture, half the beans, basil and oregano. Pulse until mixture is just coming together.
  4. In a large bowl, combine puréed mixture, remaining beans and rice. Stir until combined.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Form mixture into 1 ½-inch balls and transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
  6. Bake meatballs 30 minutes or until heated through and crisp on the outside.

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IKEA shares recipe for Swedish meatballs with customers on coronavirus lockdown

article

TAMPA, Fla. - This is all well and fine, but could they post a good recipe for yeast-free bread, too?

On Monday, IKEA UK and Ireland shared a recipe for recreating the chain’s Swedish meatballs at home, as IKEA and its cafes in the U.K. are currently shuttered amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

IKEA’s recipe is the latest in a trend of theme parks, hotels and celebrity chefs sharing the secrets to their signature dishes for folks stuck at home during the lockdown, including Disney’s਍ole Whip, DoubleTree Hotels’਌hocolate chip cookies, and Ina Garten’s਌olossal morning cocktail.

“We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen,” said Lorena Lourido, the country food manager at IKEA UK and Ireland. “Staying at home can be hard, but we want to help make everyone’s lives that little bit easier and more enjoyable.

𠇋on appétit or, smaklig måltid, as we say in Sweden!”

Along with the recipe, IKEA released an illustrated recipe card, printed in the style of its assembly directions, to assist in the kitchen. (Not a meat-eater? Don&apost worry. IKEA has previously revealed the recipe for its vegetarian "meatballs" too.)

“Staying at home can be hard, but we want to help make everyone’s lives that little bit easier and more enjoyable." said Lorena Lourido, the country food manager at IKEA UK and Ireland. (IKEA U.K. and Ireland via FOX News)

Now if only IKEA would reveal its secret for those IKEA cinnamon buns, we just might have a whole meal on our hands!

Keep reading for the recipe — complete with instructions for making the “iconic” accompanying cream sauce — courtesy of IKEA.

Ingredients: Meatballs

500 grams (or 17.6 ounces) ground beef

250 grams (or 8.8 ounces) ground pork

1 clove of garlic (crushed or minced)

100 grams (3½ ounces) breadcrumbs

5 tablespoons of whole milk

Ingredients: ‘Iconic’ Swedish Cream Sauce

40 grams (3 tablespoons) butter

40 grams (3 tablespoons) plain flour

150 milliliters (⅔ cup) vegetable stock

150 milliliters (⅔ cup) beef stock

150 milliliters (⅔ cup)l thick double cream

Combine beef and pork and mix thoroughly to break up any lumps. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and mix. Add milk and season well with salt and pepper.

Shape mixture into small, round balls. Place on a clean plate, cover and store in the fridge for 2 hours (to help them hold their shape while cooking).

In a frying pan, heat oil on medium heat. When hot, gently add your meatballs and brown on all sides.

When browned, add to an ovenproof dish and cover. Place in a hot oven (325 degrees F) and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Begin making the cream sauce: In frying pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes, allowing the flour to cook through. Add the vegetable stock and beef stock and continue to stir. Add the thick double cream, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken. Continue to stir.

When ready to eat, serve with your favorite potatoes – either creamy mashed potatoes or mini new boiled potatoes. Enjoy!


How to Make Your Own Vegan IKEA-Style Meatballs

Inspired by the success of their vegan hotdogs and soft serve, IKEA has announced plans to roll out a plant-based version of their classic pork and beef meatballs in the next year. But the official launch in summer 2020 is still a long ways off, and if you can’t wait that long, I’ve got your back. You don’t need obscure ingredients or hours of time to make bangin’ Swedish “meatballs” at home.

How to Hack the IKEA Food Market

I have long loved IKEA, not just for the LACK units of my college days or the little table I’m…

Before I could develop a vegan copycat worth eating, I had to remember what the iconic IKEA dish tasted like. I hadn’t had their meatballs in ages—I’m dedicated to fifty-cent hotdogs and lingonberry slushies—so I schlepped down to IKEA last weekend for lunch. Surprisingly, the meatballs were much blander than I remembered—they mostly tasted like pork, with the barest hint of onion. The texture was dense and bouncy, much closer to uncased sausages than tender, fluffy Italian-American meatballs. As for the gravy, it seemed like a standard roux-thickened meat stock. My favorite part was the vegetables—crisp, nicely salted, and just buttery enough—but the meat is the unmistakable star of the meal.

This makes creating a vegan version difficult. You can’t just swap vegetables in for meat and expect an even vaguely similar result. Making up the difference usually calls for specialty ingredients that are expensive, hard to find, or both. Closely approximating the bouncy texture of those meatballs requires busting out the powdered plant protein (usually vital wheat gluten) and maybe something gelatinous like agar agar. I wouldn’t be surprised if either or both figure heavily into IKEA’s grand vegan meatball plan.

How to Make a Vegan Roast You'll Actually Want to Eat

Buying a vegan holiday roast is very much like playing Seitan Roulette. A classic Tofurky log is…

For several reasons, I took a different path. I hate making seitan from scratch because it absolutely must be cooked twice: first steamed so the dough cooks through and stays moist, then broiled or fried to crisp it up. Skip the steaming and you’ll get a dry, tough brick skip the frying and you’ll be chewing on a wet sponge. I would never ask anyone to steam dozens of tiny meatballs and then pan-fry them in multiple batches. Also, what’s the average person going to do with a mostly-full package of vital wheat gluten? Make more steamed-then-fried meatballs? No way. I wanted a delicious, vegetable-based mixture that could be rolled into balls, tossed onto a sheet pan, and baked.

To accomplish this, I turned to some reliable vegetable buddies: eggplant and white button mushrooms. Both of them soak up oil like nobody’s business, which is exactly what you want in this case. Cooking them down to a paste with plenty of onions, garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and sugar creates a super-flavorful base, which is something vegan meatballs really need. Cashews add heft and subtle nuttiness, while vegan mayo keeps the mixture moist an absolute shitload of garlic powder and a touch of vegetable bouillon round out the seasoning. Panko, added at the very end, holds the whole mess together. Once they’re rolled out, the balls go straight into the oven—no chilling or waiting around.

They’re less bouncy than the originals, but the texture is otherwise spot-on, and the flavor is miles ahead of under-seasoned ground pork. Every last scrap of seasoning gets sucked up by the eggplant and mushrooms that tiny hit of MSG from the bouillon keeps you coming back for more. Best of all, they hold their shape perfectly, even when doused in gravy.

Let’s talk about the gravy, which, along with the lingonberry jam, basically carries the IKEA meatballs. Most Swedish meatball recipes use sour cream gravy, but I couldn’t detect any dairy in the IKEA version. Still, I figured that a little extra richness couldn’t hurt, especially when boxed vegetable stock is involved. So I added a scoop of the cooked vegetable mixture and some homemade cashew cream, then puréed everything together with a stick blender. The resulting gravy is rich, creamy, and deeply flavorful—exactly what you want to pour over mashed potatoes, savory little vegan meatballs, and, of course, lingonberry jam. Why wait for IKEA’s version when this one is so good?

Vegan Swedish-style “meatballs”

I’m all about flexible ingredients lists, but cashews are the nut for this recipe. They easily purée with just an hour of soaking and add bulk without screaming “Hey! Check out all these cashews!” Even if you skip the homemade cashew cream (store-bought vegan or regular sour cream works great), keep the cashews. Unsalted is my preference (for once), but salted cashews are fine if you go easy on the salt elsewhere.

This will make about 50 small (one-inch diameter) balls and two-to-three cups of gravy, which is enough for at least six servings. Freeze leftover balls on a sheet pan until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag for long-term storage. They reheat well in the microwave or oven.

  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, preferably unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup vegan sour cream, or more (optional)
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant (1-1 1/2 pounds whole), peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, preferably unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • Powdered vegetable bouillon, Trader Joe’s Mushroom & Company umami seasoning, and/or monosodium glutamate, to taste
  • Scant 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Your favorite mashed potatoes ( these are perfection, and easily vegan-ized)
  • Lingonberry jam (canned cranberry sauce works in a pinch)

First, make the cashew cream for the gravy by soaking half a cup of cashews in two or three cups of hot water. Set aside. (Skip this step if you’re using sour cream.)

For the gravy, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until they’re soft and dark brown at the edges, about five minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute, or until the garlic barely starts to brown. Add the flour, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir constantly for two or three minutes. If the pan looks dry, add a little bit more oil.

Stir in the vegetable stock, bring the gravy to a boil over high heat, and turn the heat all the way down. Cover the pot and let it simmer while you make the balls.

Heat two more tablespoons of olive oil in your biggest skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s almost black at the edges, then toss in the mushrooms and stir for a few minutes—they just need to deflate a little bit. Add the eggplant cubes, sliced garlic, and the water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have shrunk considerably and start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the soy sauce and sugar, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Stir half a cup of the vegetable mixture into the gravy and transfer the rest to the bowl of a food processor. Cool slightly.

If your skillet has loads of brown bits stuck to the bottom, return it to the heat and deglaze with water, scraping to dissolve all of the fond. You won’t need a ton of water start with a few tablespoons and add more if needed. When everything is nicely dissolved, scrape the contents of the skillet into the gravy and stir to combine.

To make the balls, process the vegetables with a cup of dry cashews (not the ones you’re soaking), the garlic powder, and the mayonnaise until quite smooth. Season to taste with powdered vegetable bouillon, MSG , or mushroom seasoning. Finally, add the panko to the food processor and pulse a few times, until just barely combined. You should have a deeply unappealing grey-brown paste.


IKEA-Style Vegan Swedish Meatballs

These gluten-free vegan IKEA meatballs are brought to you in partnership with my friends Little Northern Bakehouse. As always opinions are 100 percent my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site and my Swedish meatball cravings possible!

When I think of IKEA, my most familiar association is not a trembling, near-collapse bureau drawer, nor the panic attack involved in building it. It’s not even the blue bags that were responsible for single handedly moving Charlie and I from our old apartment to our current home. Rather, when I think of Ikea, I think of Swedish meatballs. And then I think of my dad’s old assistant Darren.

Darren loved Ikea meatballs and used to brave the swollen throngs of college-bound cheap bookshelf seekers just to get his fix. This should not surprise me, since Darren also used to brave other horrors of dorm set-up without any promise of a creamy gravy sauce as compensation.

I used to call him “big brother Darren” because his responsibilities as my dad’s minion included moving me in and out of multiple dorm rooms, and chauffeuring me, my duffel bags, and mini fridge the 3-hour drive to and from. Needless to say, even though he never assembled furniture, Darren was an angel. And I only wish I had my cooking prowess back then to make him imitation Swedish IKEA meatballs as a thank you for all the schlepping.

My memories of what these meatballs actually taste like is a little fuzzy, but my hunch is that even if they weren’t packed with gluten, I wouldn’t be crazy about the mystery meat concoction today. For the die-hard fans amongst us though (and big brother Darren, I know you’re out there somewhere), I thought it would be fun to craft a plant-based, gluten-free version of this Swedish delicacy.

These amaze-balls are made from a combination of mushrooms and lentils. They are lightened up by a heaping cup of fresh pillowy breadcrumbs made from a few slices of Little Northern Bakehouse White Wide Slice bread. Their loaves are not only gluten-free but egg-free as well–which is a hard thing to find in the grocery aisle–and certified as Glyphosate Residue Free by third-party testing so consumers don’t have to worry about this cancer-causing substance. I love using their breads to add bulk and goodness to ordinarily trashy foods (like these nuggets, and, well, these meatballs right here).

Though the balls themselves are usually the main ground zero for gluten, with Swedish meatballs you also have to worry about the gravy sauce. In this version, I’m borrowing from my buddy Jessica Murnane’s fabulous mushroom-based vegan gravy from her book One Part Plant. Instead of pureed cashews I take a short cut here by using cashew butter and coconut cream, thereby avoiding dirtying another appliance. These two ingredients make the gravy sauce extra creamy and thick without the use of any flours or a blender.

The only thing to beware of is the crispy Swedish veggie balls becoming soggy in the gravy. I would recommend tossing them together right before your serve and eating immediately. The faux IKEA meatballs would be a fantastic main course over mashed potatoes or a saucy finger food that can be eaten with toothpicks.


Share All sharing options for: Ikea Plans to Introduce Vegetarian Meatballs

Flat-pack furniture giant Ikea is developing a vegetarian version of their famous Swedish meatballs in an effort to be more eco-friendly. Green Business reports that Joanna Yarrow, the head of sustainability for Ikea, said this week at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change event that the regular meat meatballs are the "most carbon intensive" dish on their menu. The Telegraph notes that this is because of the "high carbon dioxide emissions involved in the farming process" of cattle and pork and the high volume, around 150 million meatballs, that Ikea sells each year. A less carbon intensive chicken meatball is also currently in development.

Green Business reveals that Ikea is also "seeking to adjust the traditional recipe to potentially reduce its carbon footprint." Ikea has been working with the the WWF to look "at meatballs and various other food items" that it sells to see how it can adjust its recipes to "give great taste but also perhaps less of an environmental impact."

Changing the recipe of the meatballs could be risky, but Yarrow "was confident that sales would not suffer with a low carbon alternative." Even after the scandal last year where it was found that some meatballs contained horse meat, Yarrow said "we had people begging us to put them back on the menu whatever was in them." There is no word yet on when Ikea plans to introduce the new meatballs. Tweeted Yarrow: "Last night I spoke abt lots of #Ikea's work to help tackle #climatechange but #green meatballs got the headlines!"


How do you heat up frozen meatballs from IKEA?

It is from the foodsaver site - so that is all the reference to frozen or sealed bags. Just make sure you thaw your meatballs first before making the sauce.

Subsequently, question is, how do I cook frozen meatballs without sauce? If using without a sauce: Place the number of meatballs in the crockpot that you want to use. Add ½ cup of water or chicken stock. Heat on low for 4-6 hours. If using with a sauce (like tomato, spaghetti, gravy or BBQ), put the sauce into the crockpot and then pour in the number of frozen meatballs you want to use.

Keeping this in consideration, how do you reheat frozen meatballs?

Place 6 frozen meatballs on microwave-safe plate.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place desired amount of frozen meatballs in baking dish.
  3. Heat for approximately 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Can you buy frozen meatballs at IKEA?

You can enjoy them at home, too So it's no big surprise that you can buy everything you need in their marketplace &mdash just pick up the lingonberry jam, cream sauce, and frozen meatballs next time you're shopping, and you've got a super-easy meal for dinner tonight.


'Veggie balls'? Come on, Ikea, stop trying to put the hell in healthy

A trip round Ikea is a soul-crushing experience, with one saving grace: the junk food. And now you’re introducing ‘healthier options’? The horror! The horror!

Veggie meatballs: a healthier option, but not for me. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Veggie meatballs: a healthier option, but not for me. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Last modified on Thu 2 Aug 2018 19.42 BST

The Bible is not that specific in its depictions of the infamous world “Hell”. It’s all “fiery lakes” and “everlasting destruction” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

These days, of course, we don’t need a description. We can just go to Ikea.

Ikea is a place of great suffering and torment. It is a place of unimaginable horror. It is a place where it’s extremely difficult to find the exit.

And now, thanks to its decision to try and take its menu healthy – starting with the introduction of “veggie balls” alongside its famous Swedish meatballs – it has got even worse.

With any place that’s bloody awful, there is usually one saving grace. In the case of Ikea, it has always been the food. The junk food.

More than 600 million customers eat Ikea food every year. That’s no surprise. The one thing that makes an Ikea trip tolerable is the prospect of eating some salty, fatty, I-don’t-give-a-shit food at some point during the ordeal.

But now, it seems, not even our junk food is safe. Our Swedish tormentor is introducing vegetarian meatballs at its in-store restaurants, in what it says is the first step in a bid to bring “healthier food” to its menus. Frozen yoghurt and flavoured water are also planned, and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Ikea “has more up its sleeve”.

The thing is, though: this is all wrong. All of it. People do not want healthy food from Ikea. If you’re going to Ikea, you’ve already committed to the day being a write-off. You want to eat poorly.

When you approach the Ikea food counter, you’ve spent the last four hours wandering round a huge warehouse. Round a space that is deliberately designed to make it impossible for you to escape. You’ve had no daylight in that time. You have been sent on fruitless missions to find things that don’t exist. The sound of children screaming has surrounded you, haunted you, during the entire experience.

What would you want having been through this? Quinoa and pine nuts? Cous cous and spinach? A celery stick? It’d take you right back there. You’d be able to hear their screams.

No, what you need is meatballs – don’t bother about what meat – and mashed potato. Or some chicken tenders – they’re like chicken nuggets, but longer – and fries. Or a big ice cream and a can of pop.

The veggie ball is a misnomer. Ikea already does vegetarian food. It’s called pizza and fries.

We don’t want your veggie ball, Ikea. We don’t need your veggie ball. We’re trapped in your impenetrable warehouse, gorging on fries in your Swedish restaurant, and we like it just fine.