Weekend Cooking: Albondigas (Mexican Meatball Soup)

Even though we don’t seem to be having much of a winter here in Southern California this year, it still feels like it should be soup season, and this soup is perfect for cooking on the weekend.
I grew up with an Italian interpretation of meatballs, served with macaroni and a red sauce (often on Sundays at my great-aunts’ apartment). The homemade meatballs in my husband’s family kitchen were served in the Mexican soup called Albondigas. His Mexican grandmother taught his non-Mexican mother her recipe, and his mother passed it on to me. And I lost it. But I’ve adapted a version from Simply Recipes to suit our tastes…and here’s where you’ll find the original version, which may better suit yours. 

albondigas meatball soup recipe 3rsblogdotcom

(Note: I did not have to change anything to make this gluten-free.)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I use 1 tbsp each olive & grapeseed oil)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp dried/minced onion (or 1 large onion, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp dried/minced garlic (or 1 large clove fresh garlic, chopped)
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock OR water OR a mixture of both the original recipe calls for 3 quarts liquid, but we prefer a thicker soup–AND we leave out vegetables. I recommend using 3 quarts if including veggies–see suggestions below.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup raw white rice
  • 1-1/4 pound ground turkey (standard package)
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pot (5-qt) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add broth mixture and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add carrots and string beans.
  2. Prepare the meatballs. Mix rice into meat, adding basil and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in raw egg. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
  3. Add the meatballs to the simmering soup, one at a time. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve with warmed soft tortillas (use corn tortillas for a gluten-free meal–otherwise, any type of flour tortillas are fine)
Yield: Serves 6-8.
This soup can be made 1-3 days in advance of when you plan to serve it, and it’s actually more flavorful if you do. Allow to cool before refrigerating–if you have shelf space, put the pot directly into the refrigerator, and transfer back to the stove for reheating when ready to eat.

Add these after the soup has boiled, but before the meatballs go in

  • 1/2 lb of string beans, strings and ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

Add these after the meatballs have been cooking at least 30 minutes

  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1-1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
weekend cooking feature badge bethfishreads

Weekend Cooking is a weekly blogging feature and link-up hosted at Beth Fish Reads. It is open to any and all food-related posts: book reviews (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,318 other subscribers
Sunday Salon: Thankfully Reading, and (Weekend) Cooking Too!

Sunday Salon: Thankfully Reading, and (Weekend) Cooking Too!

I didn’t officially sign up for Jenn’s Thankfully Reading Weekend, but I’m thankful that I have gotten some reading time in every day since Thursday, and hope to continue the trend today. I finished one very long e-book, my last read for Kim and Leslie’s Nonfiction November, and started on the two January releases I’ll be reviewing for Shelf Awareness (I’d like to start 2014 right on time over there, which means getting my reviews in […]

Gettin’ a Little Saucy (Weekend Cooking)

Gettin’ a Little Saucy (Weekend Cooking)

(NOTE: This is based on an exercise we did in my writing workshop this week, and I thought it might work as a Weekend Cooking post, although I don’t think I’ve ever participated in Weekend Cooking before! Weekend Cooking is a weekly blogging feature hosted at Beth Fish Reads.) I made a batch of family-recipe marinara sauce last weekend. The specifics of our recipe tend to vary–every cook in every generation of my mom’s family […]