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Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras – Spanish Tapas Meatballs

Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras – Spanish Tapas Meatballs

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Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras, or Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce is a traditional Spanish recipe. 

It frequently appears on Spanish Tapas menus, which include an assortment of small appetizer portions of dishes meant to be shared (see more receipts below).

tapas menu

Spanish Tapas Dishes

A sauce made with almonds probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a sauce for meatballs, but it is a delicious alternative to a traditional cream or tomato sauce.

The flavor of Salsa de Almendras, made with caramelized onions and garlic, toasted bread, brandy (or wine) and toasted almonds is rich and unique. The sauce has a creamy texture but is heartier than a typical cream sauce.

The taste is mildly nutty and slightly sweet from the caramelized vegetables. The flavor of the sauce blends into the background when paired with the mini beef and pork meatballs.

Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras

The almond sauce is a delicious variation to usual meatball recipes bathed in a tomato-based sauce (although we do have a chipotle-tomato sauce recipe for meatballs for those who are looking for more options to serve at once). 

Serve with crusty bread to soak up the sauce, or consider making a full tapas spread (including some Spanish Manchego Cheese and possibly some Jamón ibérico (Spanish ham) and a little Sangria to round out the party!)

Yield: 25 - 30 Meatballs

Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras

Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras

Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras - Spanish Tapas Meatballs. Traditional Spanish Meatballs in a creamy toasted almond sauce.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup (60 ml) Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup (75 g) Raw Almonds (almond slivers or whole almonds will work)
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 2 Slices (75 g) White Bread or 6 - 7 slices of white bread banquette approximately 1/2 inch thick (1.3 cm)
  • 1/2 Cup (118 ml) Brandy, Cognac or White Wine
  • 1 Cup (236 ml) Chicken Stock
  • Pinch Saffron
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • (See ingredients for the meatballs below)
  • Fresh Parsley, Cilantro and/or Red Pepper Flakes as a Garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare the meatballs per the recipe below. The meatballs should be cooked until lightly browned on all sides. This can be done a day in advance, or the meatballs can be prepared and frozen until ready to use in the recipe, and then thawed.
  2. Add 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the almonds and cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from the pan, reserving the oil, and set aside.Toasted Almond Slivers
  4. Remove the crusts from the bread and cut them into quarters. Add the bread to the pan with the oil and brown on each side. Remove and set aside.Pan Toasted Bread
  5. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the onion slices, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Add the sliced garlic and cook until browned (another 3 - 5 minutes). Lightly Caramelized Onion and Garlic
  6. Add the 1/2 cup (118 ml) of the chicken stock, the brandy, toasted almonds, pan-toasted bread, and browned onions and garlic to a blender or food processor.
  7. Process until a sauce with very small chunks is formed.
  8. Add the meatballs to a pan along with the processed almond sauce over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.Spanish Albondigas
  9. Add the saffron threads.
  10. Continue to sauté for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add additional stock if the sauce begins to get too thick. The liquid will give the sauce a more smooth even texture.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Garnish as desired with hot pepper flakes or fresh parsley and extra crusty bread to soak up the sauce.Spanish Tapas Meatballs

Notes

Calories estimated for a serving of 3 meatballs with sauce

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 297Total Fat 22gCholesterol 35mgSodium 528mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 2.6gSugar 2.3gProtein 17g
Yield: 25 - 30 Meatballs

Albondigas - Spanish Tapas Meatballs

Spanish Tapas: Albondigas

Spanish Meatballs are a perfect tapas menu item - the "albondigas" are finished in a smoky tomato sauce, making this an addictive snack.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground beef
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (100 grams) Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons (12 grams) fresh, finely chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups (66 grams) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 (118 ml) cup red wine
  • 1 cup (237 ml) water
  • 1 cup (237 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic, onions, and parsley in a food processor or blender. The idea is get the flavor of these ingredients to permeate the meatballs, not to have chunks of onion or garlic in the meatballs.
  2. Mix beef, pork, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, wine, salt, pepper and parsley in a large bowl, until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Fold in the breadcrumbs, adding water to keep the consistency very moist, but still able to form balls that will hold their shape.
  4. Form meatballs into balls approximate one inch in diameter.
  5. Brown the meatballs either in a frying pan, on a baking sheet in the oven.
  6. Cook the meatballs only until browned, not fully cooked. Remove from pan.
  7. Add meatballs to sauce, and simmer for approximately 20 - 30 minutes or until fully cooked.

Notes

Meatballs can be frozen before or after finishing them in the sauce.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 164Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 91mgSodium 123mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 11g
 

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