Albondigas Mexican Meatball Soup

By Enrique Gili
February 24, 2016, 1:54 p.m.
A bowl of albondigas Mexican meatball soup
A hearty bowl of albondigas Mexican meatball soup is the perfect dish for the last chill of winter. (Photo: Enrique Gili)

About This Dish

It's soup season in Southern California, and high on the list of soups to enjoy on a cool winter evening is a Mexican staple called albondigas. The dish consists of savory meatballs, vegetables and herbs, all cooked in one big pot. The soup is easy to prepare, and it's a welcome reminder of home for many.

Traditional recipes typically include meatballs made of ground beef seared in a skillet of hot oil. However, you can make a lighter version of aldondigas without sacrificing flavor. Replace the ground beef with a mixture of soyrizo and lean ground turkey, roll the ingredients by hand and drop the meatballs one-by-one into the pot to simmer. This cooking technique enhances the flavor of the broth without the extra calories.

Prep Time
Total Time
6 to 8 bowls
  1. Chef's knife
  2. Mixing bowl
  3. Rubber spatula or wooden spoon
  4. 1 baking sheet
  5. 1 large cooking pot
  6. 1 cutting board
  7. 1 measuring cup
  1. 34 pound ground turkey
  2. 12 pound soyrizo
  3. 1 egg, cracked
  4. 13 cup plain breadcrumbs
  5. 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  6. 2 Anaheim peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
  7. 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
  8. 1 large garlic clove, minced
  9. 2 carrots, half moons
  10. 2 celery sticks, sliced
  11. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  13. 1 teaspoon spearmint flakes
  14. 1 teaspoon oregano flakes
  15. 12 teaspoon ground black pepper
  16. 2 cups water
  17. 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  18. 6 cups ready or homemade chicken broth
  19. 12 cup dry orzo pasta
Cooking Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl combine ground turkey, soyrizo, breadcrumbs and egg. Gently fold the ingredients together until blended. Pinch and place meat in palm of hand and gently roll to form a meatball about one inch in diameter. Place meatballs on baking sheet and refrigerate, until ready to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a large cooking pot over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add onion, peppers and garlic, and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, black pepper and mint. Cook ingredients until aromatic, about 1 minute. Then add carrots and celery, and cook until tender for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and cover with 2 cups water and bring ingredients to a boil. Then add chicken stock to pot. Add meatballs one by one to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the orzo. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Ideally, you should allow the soup to cool and then reheat, adjusting flavor with salt and pepper as needed. Add chopped cilantro to bowl and serve the soup hot.