Bollos Pelones (Venezuelan Meatballs)

Level up your regular meatball night using this Bollos Pelones recipe or known as Venezuelan meatballs. These Latino beef dumplings are made with corn dough stuffed with well-seasoned ground meat filling and then coated or served with a tomato sauce. So irresistible that you can eat these for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner!

 Table of Contents

What is Bollos Pelones?
Venezuelan Bollos Recipe Ingredients
Corn Flour vs Cornmeal
Can I Make Bollos Pelones using Harina P.A.N?
Recipe Substitutions
Making Ahead Instructions
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Bollos Pelones Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Let me take your taste buds to the beautiful country of Venezuela. 

Although there’s still a dispute between Venezuelan regions as to the origin of this meatball recipe, that doesn’t stop people (even the non-locals) from falling in love with this simple dish.

Unlike other typical Venezuelan dishes, Bollos Pelones is one classic dish only found in home kitchens. 

That goes to say that every bite of this precious meatball served with tomato sauce surely remind you of home!

What is Bollos Pelones?

Bollos pelones or Latin beef dumplings actually sort of translates to "hairless buns". Really! 

As funny as it may sound, the word bollo means cooked dough, while pelones means naked or bald.

This name makes reference to the fact that it’s not covered or wrapped in leaves unlike its popular Mexican cousin tamales.

It may look like a complicated meatball recipe at first, but trust me, once you get passed making the ground meat filling, then everything will be a breeze to make.

Venezuelan Bollos Recipe Ingredients

Don’t be intimidated with the long list of ingredients. In fact, most, if not all, of these ingredients are probably sitting now in your pantry. 

Here’s what you need for this very comforting Venezuelan meatballs with tomato sauce dish.

Ground Meat Filling

Bollos Pelones' Ground Meat Filling

  • Garlic and onions - two of the most basic flavor enhancer in any dish.
  • Oregano - just a sprinkle of this special herb could add a bold and earthy flavor to this meatball recipe.
  • Veal - you can use any ground meat but I did use veal here which is a meat from younger cattle that is slightly more tender.
  • Crushed tomato - it adds layers of sweet, acidic, and umami flavor to our ground meat.
  • Black pepper and salt - to add more taste to our ground beef meatball recipe.
  • Olive oil - use to saute our ground meat and veggies and at the same time incorporating that slight olive flavor.
  • Corn Dough

    Venezuelan Meatballs Recipe Corn Dough

  • Water - this dissolves our next ingredients and holds everything in.
  • Corn Flour - it's a type of flour that came from grinding whole dried corn kernels into powder form (more on this below).
  • Salt - adds flavor to our dough.
  • Butter - adds a nice buttery flavor to our dough and softens for that feel good mouthfeel.

  • Corn Flour vs Cornmeal

    A lot of people sometimes confuse corn flour with cornmeal. Before you go shopping for ingredients for this recipe, let's dive in a little deeper on what really is corn flour.

    Corn flour is a flour that comes from milled dried whole corn kernels. It's fine and smooth like your regular whole wheat flour.

    Depending on the corn variety, this type of flour could actually be yellow, white, or even blue.

    Cornmeal on the other hand is like the grittier cousin of corn flour. It also comes from milled dried corn, but it is coarsely ground.

    Can you use them interchangeably?

    Yes, you sure can. However you've got to be aware that using one for the other would have a slightly different result when it comes to making this Latin beef dumplings recipe.

    So if you're using cornmeal to make muffins and pancakes, expect them to have a grittier texture instead of having a finer and less crumbly texture. The same goes with our Venezuelan meatball recipe here.


    Can I Make Bollos Pelones using Harina P.A.N?

    Absolutely! Harina P.A.N or Pan is a popular brand of pre-cooked cornmeal that contains no additives and certified 100% gluten-free. 

    Use the same amount of Harina P.A.N as called for in the recipe for corn flour.

    Recipe Substitutions

    • Feel free to use any ground meat like chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.
    • Don't have oregano? Feel free to fresh thyme, marjoram, or simply go with Italian seasoning.
    • You may swap crushed tomatoes with an equal amount of tomato puree. Or you may use freshly diced tomatoes, however, you'll need to cook it longer to break it down

    Bollos Pelones Served with Tomato Sauce

    Making Ahead Instructions

    If you're a busy person like me, you can always make the stuffing for these veal meatballs a day before.

    Simply let it cool down completely after cooking. Then transfer it in an airtight container and store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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    • 4-in-1 Spinner, Chopper, and Mixer - forget about manually chopping your onions or garlic coz this 4-in-1 chopper here makes preparing your food easy and fun
    • Transparent Pyrex Mixing Bowl - get to see all your ingredients and how it transforms in this transparent mixing bowl
    • Stainless Steel Bergner Pot - a large pot with a cold touch handle perfect when boiling water for our Bollos Pelones.
    • Stainless Steel Colander - easefully drains your cooked veal meatballs in boiled water using this stainless colander

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