Albondigas, Or Mexican Meatball Soup

By Melissa Pitts

As I have said in previous posts, if I could choose my last meal is would be a big bowl of soup. I can eat it any time of the year, everyday- and never get tired of it. It’s a great way to use up vegetables and stretch your buck for chicken or beef.

In this soup, puffy meatballs studded with rice float in a slightly spicy tomatoey broth with hearty vegetables — once you get through the chopping — this soup is easy and delicious.  The best part is when the meatballs start to slowly fall apart and you have rice throughout the soup. Also, it freezes nicely, so if you want to make a an extra batch it would be perfect.

Enjoy this soup with fresh avocado and cheese if you like or on it’s own — either way it’s wonderful. Buen provecho!

Yields 6 servings

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Preparation Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 serrano or jalepeno chile, whole
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, skin on, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 8 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 zucchini, diced (about 1 cup)


  1. In a heavy large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Then, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until slightly softened. Cool slightly. Put the mixture into a blender, along with the serrano pepper and blend until smooth. Strain and discard the solids. Set aside the liquid.
  2. Make the meatballs: in a medium bowl combine the beef, egg, uncooked rice, salt, black pepper, cilantro, oregano, and cumin. Using wet hands, form about 1 inch meatballs. Put aside.
  3. Heat the large pot again on  medium heat, add the carrots, tomato paste, and potatoes and cook until slightly soft- about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree mixture, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add the meatballs and zucchini, bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer until the meatballs and cooked through- about 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

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