Unconventional Thanksgiving recipes are where it's at...after all, a plant-based feast isn't all that traditional in the first place. Bettina Campolucci Bordi, of the famous Bettina's Kitchen, is Danish and only celebrates the holiday when she's with her American friends.

Bettina’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe is as unlikely as it is delicious, a Swedish-inspired meatless meal, essential to your turkey-free lineup: Plant-based "meatballs", carrot mash, gravy, and pickled vegetables. As we wrapped up our drool-worthy conversation about Scandinavian food, she shared a message to pass along to The Beet readers: "Although I'm not celebrating Thanksgiving this year, I will use the day as an opportunity to give thanks and highlight everything that we appreciate and are grateful for ♥️."

Swedish Nonmeatballz, Carrot mash, Gravy, and nan’s Quick Pickle

Serves 4


For the Meatballs

  • 75g of brown rice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 6 tbsp of tamari, or more if you’d prefer saltier meatballs
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 240g of black beans, from a tin or a jar (good-quality shop-bought), drained
  • 60g of oat bran, (check these are gluten-free if necessary)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp of grapeseed oil, or olive oil

For the Pickle

  • 1 cucumber
  • 125ml of cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of chopped dill

Carrot Mash

  • 6 large carrots, peeled
  • 125ml of coconut milk
  • salt, preferably pink Himalayan
  • Black pepper


  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp of tamari
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour, Bettina uses Maizena
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 375ml of coconut milk

To Serve

  • Seasonal greens
  • Lingonberries, optional


  1. Start by cooking the rice following the packet instructions.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion, thyme, 3 tablespoons of tamari soy, and mustard. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion is nice and tender. Once cooked, take off the heat and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add the onion mix along with black beans and pulse. Don’t overmix but blend until you have a sticky consistency.
  4. Empty into a bowl and add the oat bran, cooked rice, and remaining 3 tablespoons of tamari and give it a good mix.
  5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and with a small or big ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of the mixture and gently roll until you have a round shape.
  6. Place them on the paper and store them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
    To make the pickle, slice the cucumber thinly on a mandolin or use a cheese slicer. Add the slices to a bowl, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Give it a good mix and set aside.
  7. Next, make the carrot mash. In a large pan, boil the carrots until soft, then drain. Add to the blender with the coconut milk and blitz until you get the most beautiful orange mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. For the gravy, heat the olive oil and fry the shallots until nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tamari, cornflour, and sugar. Take off the heat and slowly add the coconut milk, a little at a time, to create a roux, whisking to avoid lumps.
  9. Put the pan back on the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes until you have a lovely shiny gravy, then set aside.


Calories 609 | Total Fat 18.8g | Saturated Fat 8.5g | Sodium 3184mg | Total Carbohydrates 92.4g | Dietary Fiber 15.6g | Total Sugars 21.8g | Protein 22g | Calcium 329mg | Iron 7mg | Potassium 1735mg |

For more vegan Thanksgiving ideas, check out this guide to 25 plant-based holiday recipes.

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