The traditional Spanish meatballs in almond sauce recipe is perfect for a tapas style meal, or for the main course. Read on for the delicious Spanish recipe!
I grew up eating Italian style meatballs, simmered for hours in homemade tomato sauce. My family would have an Italian-American dinner most Sundays, including a heaping plate of pasta, homemade tomato sauce, tender meatballs, fresh salad, and plenty of parmesan cheese.
Meatballs in almond sauce (or in any sauce that wasn't tomato based) were a foreign concept to me before moving to Spain. But Spanish meatballs are delicious, and worth trying!
Here in Spain there are hundreds of albóndigas recipes. These little meatballs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and can be made of pork, beef, a combination of the two, or even fish and cuttlefish!
I realize I've never posted a Spanish meatballs recipe here, even though I've made a huge variety over the years. So to start, I'm sharing one of my favorites, a classic Spanish meatballs in almond sauce recipe.
Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce Recipe
Meatballs in Almond Sauce Recipe - Spanish Albóndigas en Salsa de Almendras
For the Meatballs
- 1 lb of ground pork
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 3 eggs
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Parsley minced
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Olive oil or other for frying
For the Sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- 4 slices of white bread crusts removed and cut into quarters
- ⅔ cup white wine
- A pinch of saffron threads add this to the white wine while preparing the rest of the recipe
- ⅔ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup raw almonds
- Start by making the ground meat mixture. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, 2 minced garlic cloves, a handful of minced parsley, the milk, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Add more breadcrumbs if necessary to be able to form the meatballs.
- Refrigerate the mixture for a few hours, or overnight. Make sure it's covered in clingfilm, with the plastic touching the meat directly. You can skip this step, but may have to add more breadcrumbs and the meatballs may not be as flavorful.
- When you're ready to make the meatballs, roll the meat mixture into medium sized balls, and dredge in flour. Fry in hot olive oil (or sunflower oil), turning if necessary to brown all sides. Drain on paper towels. They should still be pink on the inside, as they'll continue to cook in the almond sauce.
- To make the almond sauce, add about ¼ cup olive oil to a frying pan and sauté the 3 whole garlic cloves over medium heat. Take them out as soon as they're golden, and add them to a food processor.
- In the same oil, fry the raw almonds until just golden. Take them out as soon as they've turned color-- don't let them burn! Add them to the food processor.
- In the same oil, turn up the heat and fry the slices of white bread (making croutons). Remove and add to the food processor.
- Add the liquids (chicken stock and saffron-infused white wine) to the food processor, and blend for a minute or so (until smooth but not a complete purée).
- Cover the meatballs with the sauce, and cook for about 20 minutes over a very low heat. If you cook on a high heat, the meatballs could break apart. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water.
- Taste, adjust the salt and pepper, and enjoy your homemade albondigas en salsa de almendras!
What's your favorite meatball recipe? Will you be trying my Spanish meatballs in almond sauce recipe soon?
More of the most popular Spanish tapas recipes
- Chickpeas and Spinach tapas recipe
- Ham croquettes recipe
- Almond crusted fried cheese with honey
- Spanish cheese puffs with sesame seeds and honey
- Traditional Spanish tortilla recipe
H can you freeze the sauce after you have made it
I'm interested in making the almond saffron sauce, my question is can I use almond meal instead of whole almonds. Thanks.
I haven't tried it, but as long as it's mealy and not a flour I think it should work!
Could you tell me what type of white wine to use?
Any dry white wine will do. In Spain I might use some fino (sherry) or a dry Rueda, for example.
Mary Sovik Benedetti
I just made this (ready to simmer the meatballs) and found the sauce to be very bitter. it may be because my raw almonds had the skins on. I added some half and half (about 1/4 cup) and a touch of honey and it's way better.
Hi Mary - sorry to hear that! The almonds should definitely be completely raw - no skins! That will take away the bitterness naturally. Next time! Glad you could save it 🙂
Hi Mary! With this recipe there are two things that can make it bitter: 1. Not taking off the skin on the almonds and 2. Over-cooking the garlic (garlic becomes bitter if it is cooked past the golden stage and very bitter if burnt, so always watch it as it is cooking and cook on medium heat to avoid any accidents). To remove skin from almonds: Boil a small pot of water. When the water is boiling, pour your almonds in and wait for the water to return to a boil. Leave them in for 1 minute and drain. Put them immediately in cold ice water and take them out one by one and pop them through their skin from the bottom to the top of the almond with your thumb and forefinger. Good luck!
Pablo Heras Palacios
They look amazing! I usually make them with wine sauce and flour, I will try this recipe next time!