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Close up photo of gluten free meatballs on stove top in sauce on large pot

How To Cook The Best Meatballs On The Stove In Sauce

  • Author: alicia gonzalez tome
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Main course
  • Cuisine: Spanish


Learn how to cook the best meatballs on the stove top in delicious sauce. This gluten-free Spanish meatballs recipe will become your new favourite! It is a family recipe (gluten-free adapted), that has gone through generations, and it's always a favourite within the family and guests. Ideal to make a big batch and freeze portions to enjoy on a busy weeknight. Dairy-free.



Meatball mixture

2-3 garlic cloves cut in medium chunks

Handful of fresh parsley

2 slices of soft GF bread (crust removed)

1/4 cup of plant-based milk (I use sugar-free almond)

1 kg of grass-fed lean ground beef

2 organic eggs

1/4 brown onion grated (excess liquid removed)

1 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of ground black pepper

Chickpea flour

Tomato sauce

6 tbsp of tomato passata or tomato puree

2 big / 3 medium brown onion diced

1/3 cup of white wine

400ml of chicken stock

2 bay leaves (optional)


  1. Start by making the meatball mixture. Cut the bread in chunks with the hands, and soak it in the milk. Smash using a fork or pestle. Crush the garlic with the parsley in a mortar and pestle, until they’re well crushed. Add the soaked bread, a tiny bit of wine (approx. 1 tbsp) to the mortar, and combine all the ingredients.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the meat with the rest of the ingredients. Combine well with your hands, until all the ingredients have blended.

  3. Roll the meatballs. Add a generous amount of chickpea flour to a plate. Grab a bit of the meat with a tablespoon, and form the meatballs with your fingers (I like the meatballs quite small, but this is a personal preference). Roll over the chickpea flour, and transfer to a tray or plate. You might want to put parchment paper or spread a bit of extra flour to avoid the meatballs sticking to the plate/tray.

  4. Repeat this process until you’ve used all the meat. You should end up with approximately 60 small / 40 medium meatballs.

  5. Fry the meatballs. Pour olive oil to a large pot and bring it to boil. The olive oil should be approx. 1-2 fingers high, to cover half the height of the meatballs. Fry the raw meatballs on medium-high heat in small batches, so there is enough space around. Cook for approx. 1 minute on each side, until they’re nicely golden brown. Set aside on a plate.

  6. Prepare the onion-tomato sauce. Clean the oil with a thin strainer. Add the onion to the oil with a pinch of salt, and cook on medium-low for approx. 15 minutes until it becomes soft. Pour the tomato, wine and bay leaves, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour the stock little by little, stirring to combine. Increase to medium-high heat, bring it to boil, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

  7. Using a skimmer, grab all the onion from the sauce, and transfer it to a food mill (see notes below). Place the food mill over the pot, and mash the onion. The sauce will look quite liquid at the beginning, but it will thicken later.

  8. Cook to meatballs on the sauce. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and once it starts boiling cook for another 5-8 minutes.


If you don't have a food mill, you can use a hand blender instead. Don't over blend the sauce though.

You can bake the meatballs instead of frying them. Add parchment paper to a baking sheet. Add the uncooked meatballs and add a little olive oil. Bake in the oven at 200 degree celsius for approx 20 minutes.

You can use other meat (instead of beef) - ground pork, ground turkey or ground chicken would work well. You can also use a combination of them. For example 1/2 lean ground beef + 1/2 ground pork.

Store the leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can freeze portions in airtight containers for up to 3 months. They're ideal to have a delicious meal ready on a busy weeknight!

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