Every year the world happiness report picks up one of the Nordic countries as the happiest. This year, it is once again Finland, and let me say this, they are not happiest for no reason. When I embarked on the journey of researching 12 countries/cultures this year, the first on my list was, Yes the Nordic countries.

But, I made the mistake of underestimating this cluster. Realized very quickly that it will need more than a month, perhaps a few months to go through all the cultural tidbits of these 5 countries. Apart from researching the reason they are happier than most countries, I wanted to see, touch, cook & eat their food. Now, this was a journey in itself.


One thing I noticed almost immediately was how little information was out there for countries that are not a part of Scandinavia and how few blogs are from native Nordics. This research led me to some, well interesting new avenues. I dunked and went through a few narrow lanes, took a boat ride for days, and also dealt with the mafia in order to get the right authentic Nordic knowledge. I did that just for you.

Jokes aside, all my hard work taught me one thing – it is not all about the meatballs, in fact, I did not cook meatballs at all. There are so many other wonderful healthy & easy recipes that real people eat on a daily basis. While I tried many recipes from all the regions – Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland & Denmark, I have my favorites that are cooked repeatedly in my kitchen. Thank me later but here are all the real-authentic-nordic recipes for you.

HEALTHY NORDIC BROCCOLI BUNS

Yes, you read it correctly – Buns made from broccoli. Who knew that can happen, right?

Image: Nordic Food Living

If you are searching for authentic yet healthy Nordic recipes then this blog from Kim Nielson is a must-visit. I have cooked several of his recipes from Nordic Food Living & this is my favorite. My husband loves these as well and what not to love? It is healthy, easy to make, and super delicious.

The only thing to keep in mind after baking them is to not eat them all in one sitting like we did. Why? Because they will be over soon. Or who cares, go eat them all.

We love ours with butter and dipped in chai. We also tried sauerkraut & hummus with the buns. It is tasty any which way.

Oh, and I also made them once with frozen(thawed) cauliflower. They were also very tasty. Do not wait for a single second and try this. If you have broccoli at home then do it now.

Nordic Winter Vegetable Soup

What is Nordic cooking without some stews & soups to warm the soul during those dark winter nights?

Image from Food & Wine; CREDIT: © TINA RUPP

We love making soups in our house and so getting to the soups recipe was the first choice for me. I loved this one from Trina Hahnemann who is a very inspiring food writer.

When you will look at this recipe, you will find that the ingredients are minimal. This surprised me the most about nordic cooking. The spices are not too many and yet the food comes out so warm and tasty. What Nordics have mastered is ‘bringing the real flavor of produce/meat/fish’ out.

This recipe is from Food & Wine and if you are interested in trying some more healthy nordic recipes from Trina herself then go for her book – The Nordic Diet: Using Local and Organic Food to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle.

Creamy Salmon Soup (fiskesuppe med laks)

Staying in line of soups, I love this salmon soup by Nevada Berg.

Image: North Wild Kitchen

Before researching Nordic countries, I had no idea that fish can also be a soup. This was bonkers to my mind so, of course, I had to try this.

I read somewhere that there is a health guideline in one of the Nordic countries asking people to eat fish at least 3 times a week. This shows the love & health aspect of eating for health & longevity which will be a reason for happiness.

Just a few vegetables, salmon & very few spices and you have yourself a warm bowl of deliciousness. I am getting tempted to cook this tonight.

And yes, please do not forget to check more about Nevada. She has an inspiring story to share.

Kladdkaka

I have made this so many times that I feel like it is my recipe.

Image: Sheetal Pawar

Easy as spreading butter on a toast. I made this for a Fika date with my favorite Finnish Podcaster Susanna The Nordic Mum, for valentines day, for our American turned Danish friend who visited us. Basically, this has become a go-to recipe for celebrations in our house.

There are many variations of Kladdkaka but I loved this one especially. Maybe because this was the first I tried or because it just is damn tasty with white chocolate. Yum

Fårikål ( Lamb in Cabbage)

Last but so not least.

Image: Printscreen from Norway with Pål

Can you imagine this – cabbage, lamb, pepper, salt, bay leaves can give you the world’s best stew? My mind went bonkers watching this Youtube video from Pål.

There are some blogs on this recipe as well but I want everyone to watch Pål’s video. You will know why you have to make it. There is this simplicity and love for the dish that you get when you watch him make it from scratch. No drama – just his authentic self cooking the national dish of Norway.

The first time I made this, our whole house smelled of something warm and cozy. You can not tell its cabbage or lamb. And I was skeptical before cooking as it seemed too simple. But it is real – this was the best stew I ever tried. Please make it and you will love it.


So here it is folks – my top 5 favorite recipes from the land of happiness. Try them and let me know how liked them.

I am also on Instagram now under americanwife_mag.

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