Smoky Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs Recipe

Learn how to make authentic Albondigas Tapas, a Smoky Spanish Meatballs recipe.

Traditional Spanish Tapas Meatballs can be served as an appetizer or main dish entree.

Our homemade Spanish Meatballs are quick and easy to make at home, ready to serve in under 30 minutes!

We know your friends and family will love these healthy Spanish Meatballs featuring flavourful ground beef, panko crumbs, garlic, smoked paprika, thyme, olive oil, green olives, diced tomatoes and slivered almonds.

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Save our homemade Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe to Pinterest!
Save our homemade Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe to Pinterest!

What Are Albondigas Tapas?

Albondigas translates to “meatballs” in Spanish.

In Spain,Albondigas are traditionally served at tapas bars. At these famous watering holes guests are often served complimentary snacks and appetizers to accompany the purchase of beer, wine or a cocktails.

While tapas culture once existed across Spain, it’s now common for restaurants to offer a menu with prices for the food they serve.

It is still possible to experience authentic tapas culture in Spain if you visit the southern region of Andalusia. Tapas traditions were born in the scenic town of Granada, which still to this day offers friendly traditional bars that share free small plates piled high with Spanish Meatballs in a smoky tomato sauce.

You can cook this healthy homemade Spanish Meatballs recipe as an appetizer or party snack or serve it as a dinner main dish with rice, sourdough bread and a fresh salad.

Albondigas Tapas recipes can vary by region and family tradition. Our Spanish Tapas Meatballs feature tender beef meatballs that simmer in a smoky tomato sauce with green olives, almonds, garlic and smoked paprika.

Traditional Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe ingredients.
Traditional Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe ingredients.

Travel to Spain by Cooking Albondigas Tapas at Home

I love traveling to Europe!

During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through IrelandScotlandEnglandWalesPortugalBelgiumHollandDenmarkNorwaySwedenFinlandRussia,EstoniaLatviaPolandCzech RepublicGermanyAustriaCroatiaBosniaHungarySlovakiaGreeceTurkey, France and Italy.

What I love most about traveling to Spain is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The Spanish dishes in Madrid and Barcelona are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Salamanca, Toledo, Valencia, Mallorca, Ibiza, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Malaga.

Once back home from a Spanish holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Spain and can impress friends and family by making our quick & easy Spanish Tapas Meatballs recipe!

Combine Spanish Tapas Meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Combine Spanish Tapas Meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Where To Eat Spanish Tapas Meatballs

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Spanish restaurant that serves authentic Tapas Meatballs.

Haven’t traveled to Spain before? It may be helpful to first sample traditional Albondigas Tapas at a local Spanish restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine the ideal size of meatballs, desired smokiness of the tomato sauce and best side dishes to serve at the table.

In Toronto, popular Spanish restaurants that serve Smoky Tapas Meatballs include Carmen, Bar Isabel, Patria, Salt Wine Bar, Bar Raval, Barsa Taberna and Labora.

Roll Tapas Meatballs with your hands into the size of ping pong balls.
Roll Tapas Meatballs with your hands into the size of ping pong balls.

My Family Loves Spanish Meatballs

I love cooking Spanish food for my family!

I knew my family would love this healthy Spanish tapas recipe because they love meatballs, olives, almonds and tomato sauce.

After they raved for my Swedish Meatballs and Bitterballen I knew they’d fall in love with this easy homemade Albondigas Tapas recipe.

I love cooking Spanish Meatballs during the colder months of year as a steaming plate does a great job at warming the bones on a frigid winters day.

I served Tapas Meatballs to my parents during a blizzard in February and they instantly fell in love with the hearty comfort food dish.

We typically enjoy Spanish Meatballs as an entree, served with fresh salad, rice and sourdough bread.

It’s also guaranteed to please at your next party when served as an appetizer or passed around the room with toothpicks as a cocktail hour snack.

In a large skillet simmer Spanish Meatballs with tomatoes, olives and garlic.
In a large skillet simmer Spanish Meatballs with tomatoes, olives and garlic.

Albondigas Tapas Health Benefits

Our Spanish Tapas Meatballs recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Beef is a great source of protein and minerals like iron as well as an excellent source of the amino acid L-carnitine. Beef also features antioxidant glutathione known for its anti-aging benefits.

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, thyme may help keep your blood and immune system healthy.

Olives are ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.

Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Containing more protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium that other nuts, almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease, keep your bones healthy,  and help your body absorb essential nutrients. 

Cook Albondigas Tapas in smoky tomato sauce until moist and tender.
Cook Albondigas Tapas in smoky tomato sauce until moist and tender.

Spanish Meatballs Recipe Cooking Tips

This easy Albondigas Tapas recipe is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula to stir the meatballs to ensure you don’t scrape or damage the pan.
  • We’ve exclusively used ground beef in this recipe but you can substitute for veal or pork. Or a combination of all three!
  • The meatballs have a moist and tender texture thanks to the addition of Panko crumbs. You can substitue for homemade bread crumbs in a pinch.
  • We’ve used Spanish green olives in this recipe but you can feel free to substitute with any of your favourite olive varieties.
  • We’ve used canned tomatoes but if they are in season we suggest using fresh beefsteak tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.
  • The dish is garnished with slivered almonds before serving but you can substitute for traditional Spanish Marcona Almonds or Smoked Almonds if you prefer.
Serve Spanish Tapas Meatballs sprinkled with slivered almonds.
Serve Spanish Tapas Meatballs sprinkled with slivered almonds.

What To Serve with Tapas Meatballs

There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day then cozying up to a bowl of Spanish Tapas Meatballs.

You can enjoy them all on their own as a snack or appetizer. We prefer to serve the recipe to friends and family as a main course alongside a fresh salad, sourdough bread or rice.

If you’re hosting an Iberian-themed dinner party why not serve a fun potluck buffet featuring Garlicky Sopa de Ajo, Bolo de Caco Madeira Sweet Potato Portuguese Rolls, Portuguese Bean Soup with Kale and Sausage, Patatas Bravas, Croquettes and Blistered Padrón Peppers.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes, Cinnamon Babka, Fig Frangipane Pistachio Tartlets, Caribbean Coconut Rum Banana Bread Bundt Cake, Maple Black Walnut Ice Cream, Swedish Ricotta Oatmeal Rhubarb Bars, Moist Baileys Banoffee Cake and Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies.

Spanish Tapas Meatballs can be served on their own as an appetizer or with rice or bread as a main course dish.
Spanish Tapas Meatballs can be served on their own as an appetizer or with rice or bread as a main course dish.

You May Also Enjoy These Beef Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best homemade Smoky Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best homemade SmokyAlbondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs recipe!

How To Make Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs

How to make traditional Albondigas Tapas. Our easy authentic Spanish Meatballs recipe features a smoky tomato sauce, olive and almonds.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: Spanish Meatballs
Servings: 6
Calories: 268kcal

Equipment

  • French knife
  • mixing bowl
  • Skillet
  • Wooden spoon
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 2/3 cup Panko Crumbs
  • 5 Garlic Cloves 2 minced, 3 thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme plus 3 sprigs
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Pitted Green Olives chopped
  • 1 cup Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Slivered Almonds toasted

Instructions

  • Mix together the beef, panko, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon paprika, minced thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Form into 16 balls.
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and brown on both sides for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup water, sliced garlic, remaining 1 tablespoon paprika, thyme sprigs, olives and tomato. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • The dish is finished once the sauce lightly glazes the meatballs. Garnish with toasted almond slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.8g | Protein: 24.7g | Fat: 14.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 565mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 1.4g | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 15mg

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