Spanish meatballs

Spanish meatballs

Albóndigas con picada de almendra

Smith & Daughters
Bonnie Savage

This dish goes with mash, rice, roast vegetables, anything …The meatballs can also be frozen – perfect for last-minute dinners, or turn them into burger patties for your next barbecue. Come to think of it, this would also make an epic sandwich filling. Why haven’t we thought of this earlier? Italians can’t be the only ones with a meatball sub … We serve these at the restaurant over Braised Barley and Peas using heaps of extra sauce to coat the meatballs, but you can use this over any side of your choice.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
200g brown rice
olive oil, for shallow-frying
1 green capsicum, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
100g instant oats, blitzed in a food processor until they resemble a rough flour
80g gluten flour, plus extra if needed
100g tinned brown lentils
55g chickpea flour
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
15g nutritional yeast, (optional)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke, (optional)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
small handful basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
olive oil spray, for baking, (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely diced
3 tomatoes, finely diced
250ml white wine
2 fresh bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs
handful parsley stalks
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices sourdough or white bread, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
80g almonds, toasted
small handful ‹at-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
pinch saffron
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon chopped thyme


  1. To make the meatballs, cook the rice in plenty of salted boiling water over medium heat until almost over-cooked, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Heat a large glug of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the capsicum, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until very soft.
  3. Add the cooked vegetables to the rice along with the remaining ingredients. Season to taste and mix very well. Set aside in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour.
  4. Shape the mixture into small balls (ball size is completely personal, but the larger the balls, the longer they will take to cook). If the mixture is a little wet, add 1 tablespoon gluten flour at a time until the balls maintain their shape. Refrigerate until firm.
  5. Heat a nonstick frying pan with plenty of oil and fry the meatballs in batches over medium heat until golden brown all over. Alternatively, you can spray the meatballs with olive oil and cook in a 170°C oven on a baking tray lined with baking paper for 20–30 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, celery and tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the wine and herbs and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Add the stock, increase the temperature to medium and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half.
  7. To make the picada, heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the bread over medium–high heat until golden on all sides. Transfer to a food processor along with the remaining ingredients and pulse until it forms a rough paste.
  8. Add the meatballs to the sauce to heat through, stirring gently. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
  9. Slowly add the picada to the sauce, stirring constantly over low heat until thickened. Return the meatballs to the pan and coat in the sauce.
  10. Serve with braised barley and peas (like we do at the restaurant), or with rice, mash, roast veg, bread – anything you want!
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