Inspired by our love of the Minnesota State Fair’s Blue Barn food vendor and their former menu item, the Swedish Meatball Smörgås, we created this Swedish Meatball Sandwich. We don’t generally feature state fair foods here but we simply couldn’t resist making a homemade version of this one.
Served on pretzel rolls, this creation features juicy meatballs topped with a warm, delicious gravy. Diced dill pickles and lingonberry preserves on top give a delightful punch of sour and sweet. It is a perfect meal when the temperatures are cooler, you are missing the state fair, or you want your food to give you a hug =) It is comfort food at its finest.
Smörgås means open sandwich. Some consider the Italian hoagie and the Southern Po Boy as its counterparts. Key with this creation is using a hard roll or bun that’s firm enough to carry the weight of the meatballs and toppings. Then simply serve it open-face style. This ends up a knife-and-fork type sandwich. It generally doesn’t work as a hand-held meal. Using utensils helps create the “perfect bite” each time: meatball, gravy, bread, pickles, and preserves.
Once the meatballs are in motion, I like prepping everything for quick assembly once they are fully heated. The gravy takes some time to thicken and you wan to keep that warm. Then it’s just a matter of assembling. Wedge the meatballs in the roll, then layer on the gravy, pickles, and preserves.
Tailor to Your Taste Preferences
When we made this Swedish Meatball Sandwich for the first time, we used frozen meatballs, pretzel rolls and a simple homemade gravy.
That said, feel free to use variations to tailor this Swedish Meatball Sandwich to your own tastes. A few examples:
- Headed to Ikea? Pick up their frozen Huvudroll meatballs.
- Want some heat and extra zing? Put hot sauce and extra ground black pepper in the gravy, which amps up the flavor.
- Can’t find lingonberry preserves? Try cranberry or another tart fruit or flavor.
- Use chicken, ground turkey, or all-beef meatballs, such as the Cooked Perfect brand. Simek’s and Good & Gather are also available locally (in Minnesota).
- Morph this into a classic meatball hoagie with an all-beef meatball, spaghetti sauce, and shredded mozzarella.
- If you prefer making your own meatballs, go for it: go with a plant-based meat, or any type of meatball you enjoy making. The world is your oyster, err…meatball.
- Also, if you can’t find a pretzel roll, try a baguette or ciabatta roll. I prefer anything sturdy that won’t get soggy.
Note, the gravy portion of this Swedish Meatball Sandwich recipe is from Nedra–who tested recipes with me for many years. We use her traditional Swedish meatball gravy from her church’s annual Swedish meatball and lutefisk fundraiser. So, in other words, it’s a tried and true gravy recipe.
By the way, if you don’t recall the Blue Barn’s Swedish Meatball Smörgås, maybe this will refresh your memory.
We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did making and noshing on it. And if you want a perfect dessert pairing, make ahead this delightful Cookies & Cream Ice Cream. You’ll love that too!
Swedish Meatball Sandwiches
5 pretzel rolls, or your favorite hard rolls
20 (1-inch size) frozen meatballs
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper, to taste
5 large dill pickles, diced
1/4 cup lingonberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Partially slice each roll, in half, but not all the way through. Place open/face down on baking sheet. Bake until toasted, 5-10 minutes; set aside. Bake meatballs 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in flour; cook until bubbly. Whisk in milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to medium high. Cook until thickened, stirring often. Divide the meatballs among the toasted (open-face) rolls. Top with gravy, pickles, and preserves. Serve warm! Enjoy!