Family Recipe: Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

I learned to make this soup originally in High School Food and Nutrition class. The teacher was very big on low fat, low carb (it was the 90’s), so I’ve made a lot of changes from the original recipe to include more vegetables, aromatics, and herbs/spices.

Thankfully our  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box loads us up weekly on locally grown, farm fresh veggies. All the veggies I used in this recipe came from our CSA box!


  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 80/20)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice (don’t use instant rice. I used jasmine rice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c plain bread crumbs 
  • 1 T. Parsley
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • 2 T. Minced garlic
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped 
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 15-ish oz. cans diced, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 green zucchini or calabaza (Mexican Squash), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Penzeys Penzeys Salsa & Pico Seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, rice, egg, breadcrumbs, and parsley. Form small meatballs, and set aside until all the meat is balled up. 
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil and fry meatballs, turning frequently so all sides are browned.
  3. Remove meatballs, and set aside. Keep the drippings in the Dutch oven.
  4. In the Dutch oven, over medium heat, sauté carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. 
  5. Add in the garlic, continuing to cook over medium heat, until garlic is fragrant.
  6. After garlic is fragrant, turn heat down to low, add in remaining ingredients, including the meatballs that have been patiently waiting. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and allow to simmer for 15-30 minutes, giving time for the ingredients to mingle, and the meatballs will swell slightly, as the rice in them cooks. 


This recipes serves 6-8. It freezes well and is so good topped with a little queso fresco, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and a little hot sauce. 

If you don’t eat beef, you can use any other ground meat. I’ve never used faux ground “beef”, so I can’t vouch for it.