Mama's Old-Fashioned Albondigas (Meatball Soup)


This is my number-one soup recipe, perfect for a cold rainy day, handed down to me by my mother. I hope you all enjoy it as much as my family has.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
12 servings



  • 1 gallon water

  • 3 cups tomato sauce

  • 1 yellow onion, quartered

  • 4 tablespoons chicken bouillon (such as Knorr®)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano


  • 3 pounds lean ground beef

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ cup tomato sauce

  • ¼ cup uncooked white rice

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (Optional)

  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt (such as Season-All®)

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 10 small baby potatoes

  • 5 large carrots, sliced diagonally

  • 5 stalks celery, sliced diagonally

  • 2 zucchini, chopped

  • 2 cups thickly shredded green cabbage

  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges (Optional)

  • 2 avocados, chopped (Optional)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (Optional)


  1. Pour water into a large stockpot over high heat. Stir in 3 cups tomato sauce, yellow onion, chicken bouillon, garlic, and 1 tablespoon dried oregano. Bring broth to a slow boil.

  2. Combine ground beef, eggs, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, white rice, 1/4 cup cilantro, seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cumin in a large bowl. Squeeze mixture with your hands until thoroughly mixed.

  3. Scoop 1/4 cup of beef mixture and form in a ball. Lower gently into boiling broth. Repeat with remaining beef mixture.

  4. Stir potatoes, carrots, and celery into the broth. Cover and simmer until meatballs and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cabbage. Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with avocado and 1/4 cup cilantro.

Cook's Notes:

Vegetables can be varied to your liking (corn, bell peppers, squash, etc).

Lean ground beef is preferred for a healthier, less fatty stock. Chicken broth can be substituted for the water and chicken bouillon for a richer stock, if preferred.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

369 Calories
15g Fat
30g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 369
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 1125mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 40mg 200%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 876mg 19%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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