This classic Swedish meatball sandwich (köttbullemacka) with creamy red beet salad is a uniquely satisfying flavor combo, perfect for a quick lunch or as appetizers on smaller bread.
These are so good, we can’t walk by a Swedish cafe without ordering one. They are so tempting, it’s impossible!
But, since it’s been quite awhile since, we needed to learn to make our own.
It’s a really satisfying sandwich. And also satisfying, is the fact that you can make these super delish sandwiches at home, anytime you like!
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Ingredients in Swedish Meatball Sandwich (Köttbullemacka)
- Rye Bread — Swedish style rye bread is perfect for this sandwich, although other bread can be used depending on your preference or what’s available. Alternatively, you can use a baguette or roll for a Swedish meatball sub.
- Meatballs — Swedish style meatballs, we use leftover meatballs from our Instant Pot IKEA Swedish Meatballs recipe. You can use as many or as few as you like. If you don’t have a lot of leftover meatballs, you can cut them in half or slice them to make them go farther. Even with less, it’s a very filling sandwich. This sandwich is usually served right from the refrigerator, with cold meatballs but the meatballs could also be warmed slightly or room temperature, if you’d rather.
- Creamy Pickled Beet Salad — or in Swedish it’s called rödbetssalad. If you can find it prepared you can use a store bought version, or make it with our easy recipe! It is so simple to make and we use labneh and sour cream instead of heavy cream.
- Arugula — or you can use other greens, such as iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves.
- Pickles — yum yum style, sweet pickles or you can use dill if you prefer. If you don’t have any or don’t like them, feel free to omit pickles.
- Dill — fresh sprigs, for garnish.
- Butter — to spread on the rye bread.
How To Make Swedish Meatball Sandwich (Köttbullemacka)
This open faced sandwich is a perfect choice when you have some leftover Swedish meatballs or ready prepared store bought meatballs. If you don’t have that, you can make a batch of these easy Instant Pot IKEA Swedish meatballs.
It’s a simple recipe.
Essentially, you combine your meat mix, form into balls, brown them in batches and pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. Once complete, transfer them to a serving dish and whisk up a delicious gravy using saute mode of your Instant Pot.
Next, in an ideal situation, you’ll already have some creamy pickled beet salad. Perhaps you have purchased some or have some leftover as well.
If not, it doesn’t take very long at all. You can do this!
Get your whole or sliced pickled beets (canned or jarred), and dice them into small pieces. Put the diced beets in a bowl, add a bit of labneh and sour cream, vinegar and lemon juice, and combine. That’s it!
I was surprised how simple it was the first time I made this. I don’t know why it seems so intimidating.
Now that you have all your ingredients, all that is left is a quick assembly.
Butter your slice of bread, top it with lettuce, pickled beet salad and meatballs.
And, if you like, you can garnish with sliced sweet pickles and sprigs of dill.
What To Serve With Swedish Meatball Sandwich (Köttbullemacka)
This is a hearty sandwich that is the perfect size for lunch. You can make these as appetizers on smaller bread.
It is commonly served in cafes and when making at home, don’t forget to have some coffee close by!
If you’d like, you can also serve smoked salmon gravlax salad with mustard and dill sauce. And Swedish shrimp sandwiches are commonly served in the cafes as well.
Preparation and Storage Tips
This sandwich is really easy to make when you have leftover Swedish meatballs and creamy pickled beet salad ready.
You can make and freeze meatballs ahead of time in large batches to have ready when you get a craving!
Although, if you don’t have them prepared, don’t fret!
Once prepared, you can keep these sandwiches covered, for up to three days in the refrigerator. That means you can easily assemble them the night before or morning of a get together.
More Swedish Sandwich Recipes
- IKEA Shrimp and Egg sandwich
- Seafood Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)
- Shrimp Salad Sandwich (shown below)
- Toast Skagen Shrimp Toast
- Doner Kebab Roll (Kebabrulle)
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Another restaurant style classic shrimp salad sandwich is perfect for an elegant lunch. You can also top smaller bread with this filling to serve as appetizers. With tasty cold water shrimp, you’ll impress your seafood loving friends with this simple open faced sandwich.
Swedish Meatball Sandwich (Köttbullemacka)
- 1 slice Rye Bread
- 1 teaspoon Butter, for the bread, or more
- 1 handful Arugula, or lettuce
- ½ Cup Red Beet Salad, prepared, homemade (see below) or store bought
- 8 Swedish Meatballs, prepared, leftover
- 4 slices Pickles, optional for garnish
- 1 Dill , sprigs, to garnish
Creamy Pickled Beet Salad
- ½ Cup Pickled Beets, canned or jarred, sliced or whole, then diced
- ½ tablespoon Labneh
- ½ tablespoon Sour Cream,
- ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon Vinegar
- Place a slice of Swedish style rye bread on a plate. Spread butter evenly on the rye bread,
- Cover with arugula or lettuce.
- Add creamy red beet salad over top of the lettuce, toward one side of the bread.
- Arrange the Swedish meatballs on top of the creamy red beet salad.
- Garnish with optional pickle slices and dill sprigs. Keep chilled, covered in fridge until ready to serve.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.