Spanish meatballs (albondigas) with pickled green beans are a staple at my family’s Passover seder. They’re flavorful, tangy and a little bit spicy. Over rice (if you eat rice during Passover), they make a meal themselves. True peasant food, they’re a hearty celebration of what simple ingredients can become when treated really well and hugged a little bit. I always look forward to Passover for this Sephardic dish.

(Photo: Avi Shemtov)

Albondigas With Pickled Green Beans

Serves 4


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups green beans
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, julienned
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, incorporate into the ground beef the diced onion, two of the minced garlic cloves, parsley, paprika, cloves and salt. Separate into eight 2-ounce balls and roll into torpedo-shaped meatballs.
  3. Toss the green beans (I leave the ends for this version) in the white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the julienned onion, remaining minced garlic and tomatoes, with a pinch of parsley. Allow the onions and tomatoes to sweat, then add the cayenne pepper. Stir occasionally and add water as necessary until the tomatoes break down to a rustic sauce.
  5. In a large cast-iron pan or other oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil. After 1-2 minutes, add the meatballs. Brown on each side for 2-3 minutes and then add the sauce and green beans to the pan.
  6. Place the pan in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are 155 degrees at their center. Serve hot.
(Photo: Avi Shemtov)