I love my occasional visits to IKEA, where they sell so much cool stuff. But I'm always sad when I stop in at the store's restaurant after all that shopping and find nothing vegan on the hot food menu. That all changed this month with IKEA's introduction of Grönsaksbullar vegetable balls, vegan "meatballs" made of chickpeas, green peas, carrots, corn, kale, and red bell peppers. IKEA had originally intended to offer "meatballs" that were only vegetarian, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was able to convince them to leave out all animal-based ingredients.
I stopped in at IKEA in West Sacramento over the weekend to see if they were available yet. Sure enough, a sign over the hot food section said "Vegetable Balls." I waited in line, noticing that there was also an asparagus salad that appeared to be vegan, but I held out for the vegetable balls. They were served ten to the plate in a sweet potato and cauliflower sauce, along with mixed vegetables consisting of squash, eggplant, and red bell pepper. A smaller serving is available on their kids' menu.
The veggie balls were actually pretty tasty, especially with the delicious sauce. They weren't a nondescript brown mass like most meatballs are (vegan or otherwise), but had whole peas, corn kernels, and other vegetable bits rolled into them. I ate every bite. Now if they'd only start serving a vegan dessert!
Eventually, IKEA will offer these Grönsaksbullar in their frozen food section, but they didn't have them yet when I was there. I don't know if they'll sell that wonderful sweet potato and cauliflower sauce to go with them or not.
More information about IKEA's restaurant is available at http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/food/.