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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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.
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.
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 Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia,Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, 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!
Where To Eat Spanish 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.
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.
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.
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.
Spanish Meatballs Recipe Cooking Tips
This easy Albondigas Tapas recipe is quick and easy to make at home.
- We suggest using a large nonstick skillet to reduce splatter when cooking Spanish Meatballs on the stove.
- 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.
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.
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How To Make Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs
Albondigas Tapas Spanish Meatballs
- French knife
- mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 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
- 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.
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