Swedish meatballs skyrocketed on the IKEA menu without the masterminds expecting it to become a sensation. From a classic domestic dish, it became a global giant that impressed the whole world.
But while it’s a flavor bomb on its own, we think it could still use a little help from the side dishes. That’s why we round up the 25 best side dishes for meatballs you can serve at your next gathering.
And no! It’s not the classic pasta-marinara sauce combination or the traditional mashed potato. We’ve moved on from that and found an innovative approach for this glorious meal.
From the unique salads to flavorful sauces, we’re sure you’ll find this list a go-to when meatballs are on the menu. So if you’re ready to explore some side dishes, let’s get cooking!
Potatoes make an excellent side dish for any main course. Whether it’s a date night dinner or a family party, it can satisfy appetites.
This melting potato recipe offers a crunchy exterior and creamy interior through roasting. And for that irresistible moisture, a broth is added at the end.
2. Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Enhance the flavor of your favorite cooked meat with a delectable sauce. The chicken stock offers a salty taste, while the herbs add a refreshing flavor with the garlic and mushrooms. You can use this as a dip or pour it over pasta with Swedish meatballs.
Are you looking for a classic Swedish side dish? Try pairing meatballs with a plate of pressgurka, a pickled pressed cucumber.
It has a crispier texture with a pickle flavor from the wine vinegar and salt. But you can also add simple seasoning like dill to help the flavor develop a little better.
4. Cheesy Mushroom Gratin
This recipe combines all three ingredients we love: cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes! It is an excellent pairing with Swedish meatballs because of its creamy texture and mellow flavor. Not only that, the extra mozzarella cheese makes it a comforting dish you’d put on repeat.
If you want a filling side dish but are tired of the same old potato recipes, try serving rice instead. This lemon herb recipe is a great way to jazz up a bowl of plain fluffy grains. It is easy to make and only needs the simplest of ingredients.
6. Mustard Dill Sauce
Here’s another sauce recipe if you want a tangy, savory flavor with hints of sweetness. It is quick and easy to make with no cooking required. All you need is a food blender, and you’re ready to tip your midweek meal over the edge!
Are you looking for a casual weeknight side dish for your Swedish meatballs? Or maybe a healthier choice for the family?
Serve these deeply caramelized, tender, and flavorful sprouts. It offers a sweet and savory taste with hints of acidity that’ll tickle your taste buds.
8. Pearl Barley Salad
This Asian-inspired pearl barley salad is a side dish that is more filling than any ordinary salad. It combines the flavors of Japanese rice vinegar, maple syrup, vegan mayo, and more. Altogether, it creates a balanced salty-sweet taste that complements well with a Swedish meatball.
Swedish cuisine has been very open to foreign influences, including French cuisine. And one of their specialties that go well with Swedish meatballs is baguettes.
You can combine the two to create a sub with provolone cheese and tomato sauce. Perfect for your next game night party!
10. Garlic Turmeric Rice
Nothing is more comforting than warm, flavorful rice on a slow weeknight. This garlic turmeric rice is well-seasoned with greens and spices you don’t usually see in fried rice. Some ingredients you’ll immediately notice are the vibrant color of corn and red pepper.
Here’s a quick side dish if you don’t have the time to make every strand of pasta from scratch. It only takes 15 minutes with less than an hour when served with a pre-made Swedish meatball.
All you need is al dente noodles, butter, and some seasonings to spice it up. You can also toss in some fresh parsley and dill for a refreshing taste.
12. Rich and Creamy Tomato Soup
Meatballs make an excellent backdrop for the succulence and acidity of tomatoes. That’s why (we reckon) this rich and creamy soup recipe is the perfect side dish for the whole family. Filled with bright tomatoes and flavorful spices, you won’t even believe this uses canned tomatoes!
13. Belgian Stoemp
Elevate your mashed potato side dish with this version from Belgium. A Belgian stoemp has a creamy potato base packed with sauteed vegetables and cream that provide comforting flavors.
But what we like about this is its customizability. You can add any greens you want as long as you keep the moisture down.
14. Crispy Onion Rings
We’re sure you’re kids would love this side dish accompanying a plate of juicy meatballs. Crisp onion rings provide a savory taste with hints of sweetness – they won’t even notice it’s onions!
Along with this, you can whip up a fry sauce that also works well with meatballs. So don’t miss out on that dip for a complete meal set-up.
Are you looking for a light yet comforting side dish for a casual lunch date? Try this tossed garden salad that echoes the vibrant color of summer.
It has the perfect formula for veggies creating a texture you’ll gush over. It also has cheese and croutons drizzled with homemade Italian vinaigrette.
16. Marinated-Artichoke Pasta Salad
Surprise your family with this cold pasta salad recipe and some Swedish meatballs. It has a zesty taste from the lemon and hints of saltiness from the artichoke brine.
You can also do this ahead of time if you want to focus on cooking the meatballs. After all, it’s cold pasta!
17. Glazed Carrots
Glazed carrots are one of the easiest side dishes you can serve with Swedish meatballs. It only takes 20 minutes to cook, yet it is enough to provide an excellent flavor.
The carrots have a tender, crisp, and perfectly caramelized exterior that even kids enjoy munching on. So go ahead and try this candied-healthy side dish.
18. Braised Red Cabbage
Add a rich-colored dish to your table with this braised red cabbage recipe. It has a sweet taste from the onions with a fruity flavor from the grated apples. The nutmeg also adds a nutty, earthy flavor to break up too much sweetness on the palate.
Creamy textured pumpkin soup combines well with a tender Swedish meatball. It is gently spiced, allowing the natural flavor of the fruit to rise.
The soup is gently spiced to allow the natural flavor of the pumpkin to shine and to prevent it from overpowering the main dish. (In case you didn’t know, pumpkins are technically classified as a fruit!)
You can also do this a day in advance since it tastes better when eaten the next day.
20. Crispy Potato Balls
If you love pairing french fries with meatballs, this side dish will make you love it even more. Potato balls have a crispy texture that feels like you’re biting into crunchy chicken skin.
But the secret to it lies in the delicate preparation of potatoes. So be sure to sharpen your knives to achieve a phenomenal texture.
This healthy beet and apple salad offer sweet and little savory flavors. The beets are roasted with thyme and olive oil for 1 hour and 45 minutes to tone down the bitter taste. Additionally, the mustard vinaigrette dressing gives it a tangy taste that complements well with Swedish meatballs.
22. Garlic Cauliflower
Savory or light flavors are what we usually look for in a side dish. But have you thought of serving something spicy? Try this Spanish dish if you like heat and new flavors.
The marrying flavors of garlic, smoked paprika, and Spanish olive oil give it a strong taste that kicks.
If you’ve dined in at IKEA, you’re likely familiar with the Swedish meatballs served with potatoes, lingonberry jam, and cream sauce. All of which provide a contrasting taste yet harmonize naturally.
Lingonberry sauce offers a sweet and tart taste that is easy and quick to make. In about 15 minutes, you can serve this with hot and tender meatballs.
24. Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Sunflower Seeds
Make a delicious party on your plate with this winter salad recipe. It works as a light side dish that offers numerous health benefits.
You’ll find kale, pecans, pomegranate seeds, and many more in this dish. For the dressing, you can expect a sweet, acidic, and garlicky taste that blends well with a Swedish meatball.
Are you looking for an alternative side dish similar to coleslaw? Celeriac remoulade is made from grated celery root mixed with a creamy sauce.
It resembles the build and sweetness of coleslaw but with a celery-like flavor. It is also much healthier because of lesser mayonnaise and the option to use a vegan cream.
In this list, we’ve covered every side dish, from soups to sauces and (of course) the crowd favorite: potatoes! We also included healthy options for those who are on a specific diet. And also, some dishes for the kids or kids-at-heart.
What side dish for Swedish meatballs do you plan on cooking for your next meal?
25 Best Side Dishes For Swedish Meatballs
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After earning her Journalism degree, Eleonor Davis worked in the digital marketing industry for four years before joining the Birch Restaurant Team. Today, she works with food bloggers, ensuring every information is bluff-free and verified! When she’s not working, Eleonor is a mom, a sushi-lover, and a world traveler!