Spanish Stuffed Meatballs with Romesco Sauce


Usually when you hear “stuffed” anything, it means cheese. But in the case of these naturally dairy-free stuffed meatballs, the surprise in the middle is olives and red peppers. This easy, but impressive appetizer pairs beautifully with romesco sauce, a Spanish blend that uses almonds for richness rather than cream.

Stuffed Meatballs with Romesco Sauce Recipe (dairy-free, optionally gluten-free)This stuffed meatballs and romesco sauce recipe with photo was shared with us by, from the National Pork Board.

Special Diet Notes: Olive Stuffed Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, and soy-free. If you’re in need of meatballs sans breading, then I recommend trying these Healthy Turkey Meatballs without Breadcrumbs or these California Dreamin’ Turkey Meatballs.

For egg-free stuffed meatballs, you can swap in 3 tablespoons of beaten aquafaba (liquid from a can of beans), or simply use a couple tablespoons of unsweetened dairy-free milk alternative to help soften.

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Olive Stuffed Meatballs with Romesco Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10 servings (40 meatballs + 1¼ cups sauce)
Romesco Sauce:
Stuffed Meatballs
  • ¾ cup plain dried bread crumbs or panko (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds lean ground pork
  • 40 red-pepper-stuffed green olives (not large)
Romesco Sauce
  1. In a food processor, drop the garlic through feed tube to mince. Stop the machine and add the peppers, almonds, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt. Pulse about 10 times until minced.
  2. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube.
  3. Transfer the romesco sauce to a bowl to serve or cover and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Stuffed Meatballs
  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF and lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, egg, sherry (if using), parsley, paprika, garlic and pepper. Add the ground pork and mix thoroughly but gently with your hands.
  3. Using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture for each, shape the meat into 40 meatballs. Stuff 1 olive in center of each meatball then completely enclose the olive.
  4. Arrange the meatballs on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue baking until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the meatballs to a serving platter. Spear with toothpicks and serve hot with the Romesco Sauce for dipping.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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