Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs

This Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs recipe was created in partnership with Ancestry. All opinions are our own.

This Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs recipe is a healthy plant based dinner, featuring baked meatballs in a delicious vegetarian gravy.

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

Remember our AncestryDNA results a few months ago? Alex and I were interested to find that our heritage wasn’t exactly what we thought! And it sparked a ton of fun conversation within our families. Now, we’re back with some updates: this Norwegian vegetarian meatballs recipe and info about the new Traits feature in AncestryDNA! Even though I’m nearly half Norwegian, we’ve never posted a Norway inspired recipe on A Couple Cooks—so we’re fixing that now. Keep reading for our Norwegian vegetarian meatballs with vegetarian gravy, and more on AncestryDNA!

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

AncestryDNA Traits

A few months ago Alex and I sent a spit sample to the Ancestry lab to analyze our DNA. We got back some interesting results! And it sparked a really fun conversation in both Alex and my families about our heritage. Now that we’ve tried them, we think AncestryDNA kits would be fantastic holiday gifts to help you connect with your family. And this season, Ancestry is offering a brand new feature called Traits. Alex and I got to try out Traits to show you how it works!

Traits is a fun and easy add-on feature to discover how your DNA influences the traits that you’ve inherited from your ancestors and share with people all over the world. There are two categories: Appearance traits (like freckles, hair color, male hair loss, unibrow) and Sensory traits (like bitter / savory taste perception and cilantro aversion). You can use the Traits feature to compare traits you share with your family who have also purchased the Traits feature, and then what region of the world your traits may come from. Are you wondering what Alex and my traits are? Or hungry for Norwegian vegetarian meatballs? Keep reading.

AncestryDNA | Ancestry | Traits

Our Traits

Using the Traits feature has already again, sparked some fun conversation within our families. For example: not liking cilantro is a genetic trait! Do you think you have it? Both my parents do, since we get dirty looks every time we sprinkle cilantro! Keep reading for some of Alex and my interesting traits:

Alex’s Traits:

  • Cleft chin: Yes. This was spot on!
  • Male hair loss: No. Looks like his silver locks are here for a while.
  • Cilantro aversion: No. Which explains why we eat so much cilantro!
  • Bitter taste perception: Sensitive. Alex can taste bitter very strongly (and loves bitter flavors like coffee and celery).
  • Savory taste perception: Not sensitive. Meaning, Alex needs lots of savory in order to taste it…which is exactly the case with these Norwegian vegetarian meatballs with vegetarian gravy.

Sonja’s Traits:

  • Freckles: Yes! And it was spot on. I’ve never loved my freckles, but knowing they’re a genetic marker just like anything else makes them more interesting.
  • Cilantro aversion: Also no, like Alex! Luckily he and I match here and make many delicious recipes with cilantro.
  • Bitter taste perception: Extra sensitive. I’m a “taster” of bitter flavors. The Traits app predicted I’d shy away from Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale–but these are some of my favorite foods!
  • Savory taste perception: Not sensitive…which also matches Alex! Luckily our palates are a perfect match, which helps to explain why we work so well together developing recipes.

How to get AncestryDNA? 

You can purchase AncestryDNA with Traits for yourself or as a gift for $119 ($99 basic kit + $19.99 for traits). Existing AncestryDNA customers can upgrade to this new feature for $19.99. Click here to order. And stay tuned for a huge Black Friday sale coming, too.

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

How to make Norwegian vegetarian meatballs

So, what’s this got to do with Norwegian vegetarian meatballs with vegetarian gravy? My AncestryDNA results show my top DNA region at 53% is Norwegian. It even shows the very exact regions in Norway! This heritage is from my mom’s side. I grew up making only one Norwegian recipe around the holidays (lefse!), but otherwise Norwegian foods have not influenced the way I eat.

This Norwegian vegetarian meatballs with vegetarian gravy recipe is the first Norway inspired recipe here on A Couple Cooks. Now, be warned this vegetarian meatballs recipe is not authentic Norwegian at all! Since Alex and I eat mainly vegetarian, we wanted to find a way to take this classic Scandinavian dish and make it meatless. So, we’ve created these simple vegetable chickpea meatballs—which are actually also vegan—using frozen mixed veggies you can get at any grocery store and chickpeas. Because it can be somewhat time consuming to make vegetarian meatballs, we’ve simplified the process quite a bit.

And in honor of the Savory (umami) detection Traits feature, we brought in all the savory elements to up that savory flavor, covering the vegetarian meatballs is in a salty, savory vegetarian gravy. It’s so good that we’re already dying to make it again. Serve it with a grain like quinoa and a refreshing salad like this shaved Brussels sprouts salad. Let us know if you try out the recipe—and if you’ve tried AncestryDNA!

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

Meatballs before baking: a 2 teaspoon cookie scoop (size 60) is very helpful for shaping! See the recipe below.

Looking for more comfort food recipes?

Outside of these Norwegian vegetarian meatballs, here are a few more comfort food recipes:

This recipe is…

This Norwegian vegetarian meatballs recipe with vegetarian gravy is vegetarian. The meatballs alone are vegetarian, vegan, plant based and dairy free. For gluten free, try Gluten Free 1 for 1 flour.

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs | vegetarian gravy | chickpea meatballs | Norwegian meatballs

Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs Recipe

1 Star (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Norwegian


This Norwegian Vegetarian Meatballs recipe is a healthy plant based dinner featuring baked chickpea meatballs in a delicious vegetarian gravy.


For the vegetarian meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas and green beans)
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (for gluten free, try Gluten Free 1 for 1 flour)

To serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the vegetables, chickpeas, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, kosher salt, and pepper for 3 to 5 minutes until warmed through and the vegetables are evenly coated in spices.
  3. Add the vegetables and the flour to a food processor. Pulse about 20 times until chunky paste forms, scraping down the bowl of the food processor as necessary.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Gently form the dough into about 40 to 46 balls (using a 2 teaspoon cookie scoop** or two spoons) and place each on the baking sheet. Resist the urge to roll the balls in your hands or they will come out too dense.
  5. Use a pastry brush to brush the outsides of the meatballs with olive oil.
  6. Bake the vegetarian meatballs for 30 minutes until lightly browned, rotating the pans at 15 minutes to allow for an even bake. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before adding to the gravy.
  7. Meanwhile, make the vegetarian gravy. When the meatballs are done, add them to the pan with the gravy. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


*For vegan gravy, try this vegan gravy or this one.

**A size 60 cookie scoop is helpful to get the round shape for these vegetarian meatballs; we’d highly recommend using one! It also makes the process much faster. (If you buy one, you can use it over and over for cookies too, so it’s not single use!) If you use the two spoons method to shape the dough, the meatballs will look less beautifully round — but they’ll still taste good. You can use your hands to spot fix any balls that are misshapen on the baking sheet. The timing in this recipe is based on using a cookie scoop.

Keywords: Norwegian Meatballs, Vegetarian Meatballs, Vegan Meatballs, Vegetarian Gravy, Chickpea Meatballs, Vegetarian, Healthy Dinner Recipe

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    November 15, 2018 at 9:52 am

    My husband can’t eat corn or carrots what can I replace mixed veggies with?

    • Reply
      November 15, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Good question! You can replace this with other frozen vegetable mixes that don’t have corn and carrots!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I have been craving something like this and I love that you two came up with a vegetarian/vegan option! Loved reading about your Ancestry results too! Yay for no hair loss! Lol!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

    These look so good! I always make Swedish meatballs for my Christmas party – things might need to take a Norwegian turn this year. And that’s fascinating about your traits. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a genetic test and this is very compelling!

  • Reply
    Ginger by Choice I food & lifestyle blog
    November 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    What a fun idea to give someone the AncestryDNA test as a gift for Christmas. That might really interesting (we’re a bit French if I remember correctly :). And those meatballs look really tasty. I’m trying to step up my vegetarian meatball game right now, so every new recipe is more than welcome! Have you ever made a larger badge to freeze some of them for more dinners?

    Thanks for this lovely recipe and this fantastic gift idea,

    Ginger by Choice I food & lifetsyle blog

  • Reply
    November 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    DNA testing is so crazy interesting. I loved doing my own. Also you guys, these veggie meatballs sound amazing.

  • Reply
    Ruth Berge
    December 2, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    I am fully aware of my Norwegian heritage the old fashioned way -hearing it from my family. I am looking for a potluck meatball similar to Norwegian because there are many Hindus attending. Your recipe is totally unauthentic to any Norwegian meatball because you are adding paprika! This is a Hungarian spice, Norwegian meatballs have nutmeg and no paprika. Thanks for the ideas.

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