Recently, IKEA Canada Plant Balls were announced with the promise that they are perfect for meat lovers.
The Swedish furniture company claims that this new vegetarian offering has the same taste and texture as the regular meatballs they are known for serving in their in-store restaurants.
I put that to the test and this is my honest opinion.
IKEA's Plant Balls Review
My review is based on the frozen plant balls you can get in the section close to the checkout at IKEA stores, since many locations' restaurants have been closed. However, IKEA claims these are the same products.
I had high hopes when I started cooking them and got the distinct smell of Swedish meatballs. While they stuck to the pan a bit in the process, they looked just like normal meatballs.
My hopes were quickly dashed when I took a bite. Despite promises that these would taste and feel like the original animal-based versions, as a meat-eater, I can safely say these plant protein pieces do not measure up.
The texture is very soft inside, and the flavour is earthy and sort of like bread crumbs. This is very similar to other plant-based products I have tried.
While it may be better if you try these in restaurants when that's allowed again, if you aren't normally a vegetarian or vegan I wouldn't recommend this.
However, if you are on a plant-based diet and don't care that these don't taste like meat then they could be enjoyable for you!
IKEA's Plant Balls Nutrition & Ingredients
According to the packaging, the first ingredient in these plant balls is pea protein. They are also made with water, vegetable oil, potatoes, a binding mix of crumbs and more pea protein, onion, oat bran, mushroom concentrate, dried apple, salt, tomato powder, black pepper, and allspice.
Five plant balls contain 220 calories. They also have 11% of your daily carbohydrates and 15% of your daily sodium.
They also seem to be high in vitamin B12, with five pieces amounting to 60% of your daily value of the nutrient.
Are IKEA's Plant Balls Vegan?
If you are someone who doesn't eat any animal by-products there's some good news for you.
Based on the ingredient list and the store's marketing of these products, they are actually vegan!
A brochure on the products from IKEA called them a "delicious vegan alternative."
They also claim that these plant balls have "only 4% of the climate footprint of the original meatball" so if you're looking to adjust your diet for environmental purposes, these could be an OK bet.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Narcity Media.