Sopa de Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

“It's kind of funny for a gringa like me to say this is a favorite I grew up on, but it's true; my dad learned it from a Mexican friend way back, and it's been my favorite soup as long as I can remember. My dad always uses celery; I don't always have it around, it's fine to omit it. Feel free to adjust seasonings to taste. The tomatillos thicken this dish as well as adding flavor; I haven't seen them in any other recipe, but I consider them essential! Almost all measurements are approximate; I just judge by eye and throw stuff in! This soup is killer with homemade tortillas.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 -5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 12-2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or 1 12-2 cups broth (I use homemade)
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) canpeeled diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 5 -7 tomatillos, papery skins removed,washed and diced (depending on size)
  • 3 -4 cups water (depending on how much stock you used and how thin you like your soup)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 13 cup white rice or 13 cup brown rice
  • 2 -4 carrots, peeled and sliced (depending on size)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • For meatballs
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 13 cup plain breadcrumbs or 13 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 14 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg


  1. In a dutch oven or other soup pot with tight-fitting lid, saute onion, garlic, celery (optional), and cumin seed in hot oil until onions begin to look clear.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes (with juice), water, tomatillos, and cilantro.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and add carrots and rice.
  6. Make meatballs: Begin by mixing breadcrumbs, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder.
  7. Knead in ground beef until thoroughly mixed.
  8. Add egg and knead in.
  9. (If needed, add additional breadcrumbs; texture at this point should be slightly firmer than ground beef with nothing added.) Form into small (about 1/2-inch) meatballs.
  10. Bring broth back to a boil.
  11. Add meatballs to hot broth.
  12. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.

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