Albondigas con Salsa de Almendras, or Spanish Tapas 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).
A sauce made with almonds probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking 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.
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!)
- 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
- 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.
- Add 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the almonds and cook until they are lightly browned. Remove from the pan, reserving the oil and set aside.
- Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into quarters. Add the bread to the pan with the oil and brown on each side. Remove and set aside.
- 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).
- 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.
- Process until a sauce with very small chunks is formed.
- 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.
- Add the saffron threads.
- 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.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish as desired with hot pepper flakes or fresh parsley and extra crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
Calories estimated for a serving of 3 meatballs with sauce
Amount Per Serving Calories 297Total Fat 22gCholesterol 35mgSodium 528mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 2.6gSugar 2.3gProtein 17g
- 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
- 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.
- Mix beef, pork, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, wine, salt, pepper and parsley in a large bowl, until thoroughly mixed.
- Fold in the breadcrumbs, adding water to keep the consistency very moist, but still able to form balls that will hold their shape.
- Form meatballs into balls approximate one inch in diameter.
- Brown the meatballs either in a frying pan, on a baking sheet in the oven.
- Cook the meatballs only until browned, not fully cooked. Remove from pan.
- Add meatballs to sauce, and simmer for approximately 20 - 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
Meatballs can be frozen before or after finishing them in the sauce.
Amount Per Serving Calories 164Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 91mgSodium 123mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 11g