The Handbook
The Handbook

I don’t consider a trip to IKEA as ‘shopping’, but rather it’s a quest. Following a purposely vague map through many distant lands, armed only with a stubby pencil, there’s a holy grail awaiting the brave knight who completes the task. And now it comes in vegan…

Only a worthy hero will venture to Croydon (or Wembley, they’re equally inaccessible), and make their way through the shadowy territories of Ekorp, Knopparp and Ekkanäset, the badlands of model kitchens and ersatz art and do deadly battle with their partner over whether an IKEA mattress will fit on a John Lewis bed frame. If your relationship survives intact, struggle to prevent the incredibly confusing array of shortcuts, all of which lead to the lighting department, from slaying your precious prince or princess. But when you finally manage to triumphantly pay for your Billy bookcase, there’s a greater prize on offer: meatballs.

IKEA’s meatballs are as iconic as the shop’s blue and yellow livery or its confusing flatpack instructions. During lockdown you missed them so much you flocked to recreate them at home, and served with chips, lingonberry jam and gravy there’s Michelin starred restaurants I’d forgo to enjoy a well earned IKEA café meal (actually I’ve just  mulled that sentence over and I’d like to rescind it with immediate effect. But I’d happily skip dinner at many-a-gastropubs or mid-level chain restaurant). But what about non-meat-eating dragon slayers? What’s on offer for them?

Well now there’s meatballs, but without the meat. While IKEA have long produced their veggie balls, their new line comes out on Monday August 1st and they apparently taste JUST LIKE THE MEATBALLS!

Armed only with a stubby pencil, there's a holy grail awaiting the brave knight who completes the task. And now it comes in vegan...

The new recipe includes yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apple, and when you grind this all together the taste and texture somehow, and bafflingly, mimics the experience of Ikea’s proper meat meatballs. Though while the balls themselves are vegan, the usual IKEA gravy does contain dairy, if you were hoping for a totally vegan alternative.

Not only are the new balls animal friendly, they’re also super eco, with IKEA claiming they’re ‘a more sustainable sibling to the much-loved meatball’. To this end a vegan meatball creates 4% of the climate footprint of the usual (meat) meatball.

The vegan balls will be launched in the IKEA bistro (that’s the little kiosk after the tills) where they’ll cost for £1.50 for eight balls, and in the shop where you can buy them frozen to make at home for £2.75 for a 500g bag. But if you’re waiting for them to appear in the restaurant you’ll have to hang on a little bit longer as they won’t be stocking them until October 23rd.

Nevertheless, the quest is over, Sir Munchalot can now enjoy vegan meatballs after his epic adventures in the office furniture department. And they all lived happily ever after… (except the cows and pigs still being slaughtered for the regular meatballs).