Meatballs with Brava Sauce

Feb 7, 2020

So, I started a low FODMAP guide to Spain last week, which I’m really excited about, but considering I’m still not done (and may have decided halfway through to re-structure everything)… I figured I’d share a Spain-inspired recipe instead. Otherwise it’ll end up being weeks before I post anything!

Advertisement

Alright. This recipe is all about the sauce. While we were in Málaga, I was reading something on the internet about how almonds are a big thing in that part of the country, and they make an almond sauce that’s particular to that region. So the next day when we stopped in a cafe for a little pre-lunch (we’d had a long morning of sightseeing!) and I saw “albóndigas con salsa de almendras” on the menu I knew we had to get it! I literally had no idea what we’d be getting – would it be creamy? would there be pieces of almonds in it? what even is almond sauce? – but I figured it couldn’t be bad.

Advertisement

We were not disappointed. The sauce was tomato-based, with another flavor I couldn’t quite identify (turns out it’s roasted red pepper), and just a hint of almond taste. In short: delicious. Like any self-respecting food blogger, I decided then and there that I must recreate this.

When we got home (after we detoxed from potatoes, tomatoes, and jamón for a bit), I did some internet searching, and it turns out that this sauce has another name: romesco sauce. Which I’d actually heard of before, just never knew what it was. For some reason though, “Romesco Sauce” just sounded too official to Marc & I for the sort of accidental way we discovered it, and the laid-back atmosphere in Málaga. So we decided to name it “brava sauce,” after patatas bravas – literally “home fries” but in Spain they’re served with a tomato-based sauce. In Málaga it was always almond sauce, in other parts of the country it was minus the almonds. Considering we had patatas bravas pretty much every time we went out, it seemed fitting to name a sauce after them. (even if I did just copy the recipe from Bon Appetit – with a few changes though obviously! 😜)

Non-Spain-related tangent about sauce: I’ve been on a sauce kick lately. Since starting the low FODMAP diet and realizing which foods make me feel miserable, I’ve realized that I subconsciously developed aversions to some foods when I was younger. Bagels, for instance (so much wheat!). Tall glasses of milk (so much lactose!). And, sauces. Not only are restaurant and store-bought sauces full of questionable ingredients and waaaay too much sugar, but they’re also chock full of garlic and onions. I’ve pretty much cut out sauces for that past few years, but it turns out that gets boring after awhile! And listen, people: it’s super easy to make sauces at home, plus you’re in control of the ingredients that go in there. And, like with this almond sauce, they’re addictively delicious. (I literally have to stop myself from eating this with a spoon).

I served this with meatballs and charred broccoli, since that’s the first way we had it (well minus the broccoli, the only vegetables I ate in Spain were potatoes), but you can put this on anything. I’ve even been known to smear it on sandwiches (and eat it with a spoon, obviously 😉). The other day we put it on chicken nuggets!

Advertisement

Advertisement

Meatballs with Brava Sauce

Yield | 2 people (sauce makes 1.5 cups)
Notes
Almond sauce inspired by Bon Appetit (and Spain). Charred broccoli courtesy of Lady and Pups.

Ingredients

Almond Sauce

  • ½ red bell pepper roasted
  • ½ cup slivered almonds (you can also use whole almonds but make sure they're blanched - without the skin)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I use 1 tablespoon each apple cider vinegar and dry vermouth)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil

Meatballs

  • ½ pound ground turkey, chicken, pork, beef
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings: oregano, basil, paprika, etc.
  • Salt and pepper

Charred Broccoli

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Almond Sauce

  • Roast the almonds: spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet. Heat the oven to 400F and put the almonds in the oven while it's heating. Remove after about 5 minutes, or until they're just lightly browned. (If you've bought almonds that are already toasted, skip this obviously.) 
  • Roast the pepper: In the meantime, cut the pepper in half and place it on some foil on another baking sheet. Rub all over with olive oil. When the oven has reached 400 (you should have removed the almonds by this point!), put the pepper in and roast for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Remove the pepper and move the oven rack to the highest rack. Put the pepper back in and broil until the skin is charred and starting to come off the pepper. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, peel skin off (it's ok if a little stays).
  • Add almonds, pepper, tomato, oregano, vinegar, paprika, cayenne, salt, & pepper to a blender or food processor until almonds are in very small pieces. Slowly add oil and blend until smooth. Continue adding oil (if it's very thick) or almonds (if it's too runny) until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  • Sauce will keep in the fridge for several weeks in a tightly sealed container.

Broccoli

  • Turn oven back to 400F. Also heat an oven-safe skillet (we like cast iron around here) to medium to medium-high heat. Trim the broccoli into manageable sized pieces. Oil the skillet generously with olive oil; place broccoli in skillet cut side down and drizzle with more oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Let the broccoli get a head start in the skillet for a few minutes, then transfer to oven to roast for about 8 minutes (if you don't have an oven safe skillet, transfer to a baking sheet here. You'll probably need to cook for a little longer). Turn the broccoli over and roast for another 5-ish minutes, until tender and charred.

Meatballs

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Divide into meatballs. Heat a pan on medium heat and add oil. Cook meatballs for a few minutes on each side, turning regularly to get evenly toasty (I like to use chopsticks for this, but I realize that may be weird). 
  • Serve meatballs and broccoli with a generous serving of almond sauce! Enjoy!

You might also like

Low FODMAP Pierogies

Low FODMAP Pierogies

Basically the Eastern European version of ravioli, these wheat free pierogies are filled with a cheesy potato mixture and fried to perfection. A perfect Christmas Eve meal, or great for any time…

Advertisement

Quick Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Quick Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Is it soup season where you are? Here in Austin, it’s hit 90 degrees every day for the past week. Which apparently makes some people mad, but I’m loving it. Because it’s cooling off in the mornings and evenings, which is when you want to eat soup anyway…

Salmon with summer salad

Salmon with summer salad

If you follow me on instagram, it may seem like the only thing I’ve been eating for the past few weeks is summer veggies. And really, that’s not too far off…

Leave a comment

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Crumbs | A GMGH Newsletter

I get it — the health & wellness world is a confusing place. In Crumbs, my bi-weekly newsletter, I help you make sense of it all! Sign up to learn what I'm reading, doing, and listening to!

Thanks for subscribing! Stay messy, y'all! 💙

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This