The beef and rice meatballs in this albondigas soup are simmered in a seasoned tomato broth with potatoes, carrots, and zucchini.
A filling soup that both children and adults will enjoy!
I make soup nearly every week; my favorites are chicken tortellini soup, cabbage roll soup, and this Mexican-style albondigas meatball soup.
I’ve previously stated my love for soup, but there are times when I crave something other than chicken noodle.
This albondigas soup is a Mexican-style soup full of vegetables, potatoes, and tender spiced meatballs. It’s packed with bold flavors and completely satisfying!
WHY ARE THESE Filipino ALBONDIGAS SPECIAL?
So, what makes this Spanish meatball recipe stand out from the rest?
- I believe it is due to the use of fennel seeds in the tomato sauce. Fennel seeds have been used in other recipes (for example, my favorite zucchini soup), but I have only recently begun to use them frequently. I’m in love with their flavor.
- You won’t need many fennel seeds, but even a small amount adds flavor to the sauce, taking it to a whole new level. You should definitely give it a shot!
WHAT ARE ALBONDIGAS?
The Spanish word for meatballs is albondigas, which translates as “small meatballs.”
Meatballs in albondigas soup are traditionally made with ground beef and rice as a binding agent.
WHAT ARE TAPAS?
Tapas in Spain are frequently albondigas, or Spanish meatballs in tomato sauce.
Tapas are small portions of food that are common in Spanish cuisine. They are usually served with drinks, and if you are in Spain, they are sometimes free of charge.
Tapas should not be considered an appetizer; typically, if you begin your meal with tapas, you will finish your meal with tapas.
In Spain, you can go out for tapas, as they are known.
That is, you would go from one tapas bar to the next, having a drink, eating one type of tapa, and then moving on to the next.
Tapear is a Spanish word that means “to go out for tapas,” which is definitely something I would like to do.
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WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR MAKING Filipino SPANISH-STYLE MEATBALLS?
- Ground meat: I use a combination of ground beef and ground pork. You can use only one type, but I like to mix them because pork is a little fattier and gives these delicious Spanish meatballs a heartier flavor.
- Spices: Three types of Spanish paprika: sweet, hot, and smoky. The smoked paprika I use is sweet; if using hot, don’t go overboard; these meatballs aren’t meant to be spicy.
- Fine sea salt (or Kosher), black pepper, and plenty of chopped parsley are also required. Fresh or frozen parsley can be used, but never dried; dried parsley would ruin this dish, and I find it terrible.
- Other ingredients include an egg, bread crumbs, and olive oil to fry the balls in.
- Vegetables: two cans chopped tomatoes, one onion, and three garlic cloves You could use the same amount of fresh tomatoes if they are of exceptional quality: ripe, sweet, and juicy. Otherwise, canned ones are far superior.
- Fennel seeds, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, parsley, salt, and pepper are among the spices used.
HOW DO YOU MAKE ALBONDIGAS SOUP?
- The first step is to prepare the meatballs. I make it with lean ground beef, cooked rice, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. The beef mixture is shaped into small balls and dropped into the soup.
- Tomatoes, onion, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, and spices are used to make this soup. Dinner is ready once the meatballs have cooked in the broth.
- In many albondigas recipes, the meatballs are made with uncooked rice. I prefer to use cooked rice because it allows the meatballs to cook for a shorter period of time.
- I’ve discovered that allowing raw rice to soften for an extended period of time can cause the meatballs to fall apart in the soup. If you prefer, you can I’m in 1/4 cup uncooked rice for the 1/2 cup cooked rice called for in this recipe. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
MAKE AHEAD, STORAGE AND FREEZING
Make Ahead: You can make Albondigas Soup ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, tightly covered (or even in the soup pot). To serve, bring everything to a simmer on the stovetop until warmed through.
Cool completely before storing leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It is best to reheat on the stovetop, but you can also use the microwave.
HOW TO SERVE SPANISH ALBONDIGAS?
Serve them in a small dish as tapa meatballs with crusty fresh bread on the side. The recipe would serve 8 to 10 people in this case.
You can also serve them as a main course with rice or noodles. Mashed potatoes would also be delicious. The albondigas with sauce would serve four people as a main course.
TIPS FOR ALBONDIGAS SOUP
- Make sure to cut your potatoes into small pieces so they can be cooked alongside the meatballs.
- This recipe has been written with a mild spice level in mind. If you like your food hot and spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes or a few teaspoons of hot sauce to the broth.
- Leftover albondigas soup is delicious! Simply reheat your soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- This soup is filling enough to serve as a meal on its own, but I like to serve it with a side of bread or tortilla chips.
- Mint is a common ingredient in albondigas soup. I don’t usually use it because my kids don’t like it, but feel free to add a few chopped fresh mint leaves to the meatballs if you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep albondigas from falling apart?
If you’re concerned about your meatballs falling apart, use cooked rice instead. The raw rice expands as it cooks, which can cause the meatballs to fall apart. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it has happened to me. Use 12 cup cooked rice instead of 14 cup raw rice.
What is Albondigas Soup Made of?
Tender meatballs made from ground beef, rice, onions, garlic, an egg, cumin, and oregano grace this soup. The broth is made from chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and zucchini. Carrots and celery are occasionally added, and a jalapeno is occasionally added for heat. Typically, cilantro or lime juice are added at the end.
How do you keep albondigas from falling apart?
Ground beef and rice are used to make the meatballs. I’ve made it several ways over the years, but my favorite is to use cooked rice and bake the meatballs, which keeps the meatballs from falling apart while cooking in the soup. I used beef broth and a lot of herbs to give the