Slow Cooked Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

Romesco is a rich sauce of charred tomatoes and roasted red peppers, puréed and thickened with toasted almonds and bread.  It is a lovely shade of red and is extremely flavorful and warming, but not spicy hot. It is one of the favorite sauces in Spain and has inspired many versions. In our recipe, the smoked almonds give it a special twist. Other nuts such as peeled hazelnuts can be substituted. A very versatile sauce, romesco works well with most proteins: fish, chicken, shrimp, and pork would all be great ideas. It also makes a great dip for vegetables.

Lamb Meatballs on a pile of romesco sauce garnished with pea tendrils.
Lamb Meatballs with Romesco Sauce, plated.

Special Ingredients: Sumac and Zatar

Sumac, the tart coating of a dark red berry, is common around the eastern Mediterranean. It adds a nutty but tart taste, and is a terrific partner for goat. Sumac can be found in most Middle Eastern markets.

Zatar (meaning thyme in Arabic) can be substituted if available for the spice and herb mix and generally contains a combination of sumac, marjoram, and thyme, along with other complimentary spices.  It is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle East cuisine.

This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently executive chef at Mercy in Minneapolis.

Chef Ben Spangler.

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

Meatball Ingredient Display: breadcrumbs, roasted peppers, almonds, garlic, pepperoncini, smoked almonds.
Meatball Ingredient Display

Blender Romesco Mix
Pureeing roasted peppers, garlic and smoked almonds in a blender to make the sauce.

Romesco Sauce
Romesco sauce ready for plating

More Slow Cooked Lamb Recipes

Braised Lamb Italian Sausage

Braised Lamb Sugo

Braised Spicy Lamb Meatballs

Meatballs Romesco
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooked Meatballs with Romesco Sauce

Easy goat meatballs with smokey almond romesco sauce
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: Goat, Lamb, Meatballs, Romesco
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 455kcal
Cost: 10


  • 1 Blender or food processor



  • 2 lb Ground Goat
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sumac
  • 1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped herbs such as rosemary, marjoram and thyme
  • 1 ea whole egg
  • 1 ea egg yolk
  • 6 oz  panko
  • 3 oz bread crumbs
  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese

Romesco Sauce

  • 1.5 lb roasted peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons chives
  • 5 ea Garlic cloves
  • 4 oz Smoked almonds
  • 8 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVOO
  • 2 oz Pepperoncini
  • 4 oz Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp Red wine vinegar to taste, optional


Romesco Sauce

  • Pulse roasted peppers in blender with the garlic, salt, pepper,  half the chives, and pepperoncini, then puree.
  • Add almonds and process until smooth then add 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, puree again, then add the remaining breadcrumbs.
  • Slowly drizzle in EVOO. Results should be thick, slightly rough and textured. Adjust the flavor with a touch of red wine vinegar to taste.
  • Let the sauce stand for an hour at room temperature for flavors to blend.


  • Mix salt, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, sumac, herbs, garlic, cheese and bread crumbs
  • In a large bowl combine the meat and eggs until fully incorporated. Add the remaining meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Once blended completely roll into 2 oz (1/4 cup) meatballs and put in fridge uncovered for 1 hr to fully hydrate the bread crumbs
  • Preheat an oven to 300F.
  • Working in batches, gently brown the meatballs on medium heat on 2 sides
  • Once all seared add back to the pan and with 2 cups romesco and enough water to almost cover meatballs
  • Cover with lid and braise  300 °F for  approximately 1.5 hr or until the meatballs are tender.
  • Allow to cool until warm.


  • Place 2 oz romesco on center of plate and add meatballs, garnish with 1 Tablespoon pepperoncini, pea tendrils if using, parmesan and chives, then serve immediately.
  • You can also serve the meatballs and sauce directly from the pan, buffet style.


Ground goat meat is used here but ground lamb or ground venison work well too. 
In the recipe chef garnishes the meatballs with chives and pea tenderils but a little chopped parsley is fine too. 


Serving: 6oz | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 2732mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 708IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 269mg | Iron: 5mg