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Mama's Old-Fashioned Albondigas (Meatball Soup)

Rated as 4.68 out of 5 Stars

"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."
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1 h 25 m servings 369
Original recipe yields 12 servings


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  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; 15.3 29.5 29.2 128 1125 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 28
  1. 40 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

I loved it! I made only half of the listed volume and it was a full pot so I recommend using only 1 -1 1/2 ponds of beef and cut all other ingredients in half.

Most helpful critical review

It was all right. But I think I cook the meatballs just a little bit too long because they were just a tab dry. A lot of ingredients to enjoyed it thank you for sharing

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I loved it! I made only half of the listed volume and it was a full pot so I recommend using only 1 -1 1/2 ponds of beef and cut all other ingredients in half.

We liked these albondigas and thought the soup was very tasty. I left out the zucchini and cabbage only because we're not used to having them in our albondiga soup. Other than that, absolutely d...

Made my own tomato sauce by blending 4 tomatoes, 1/4 of an onion, about 6 cilantro leaves, and the minced garlic cloves. I halfed the recipe because I was only making some for 2 people and wante...

Loved it and so did my boyfriend. I changed it up a bit. I used already made chicken broth and also used baby zucchini and carrots. I used about 1/2 cup Kale instead of cabbage too. He want me t...

came out great!! made a few adjustments/ substitutes though. Added brustle sprouts, and instead of using 3 cans of tomatoe sauce i used 1 can of tomatoe paste and one can of stewed tomatoes. i r...

My go to soup on a cold rainy day, or any time i crave it, which is often! I sub the ground beef for ground turkey and water for chicken broth, per your suggestions, and I also sub tomato sauce...

I made this pretty much as the recipe called for. I erroneously put more seasoning in the meatballs and it was still absolutely fantastic. This could easily become a cold weather go to. I do a...

Made it for my sisters they loved it. Only made 1/2 batch. Substituted d puréed diced tomatoes in juice instead of tomato sauce. It’s what I had on hand. Great broth can be used for any clear so...

Very tasty and easy to make. The flavor really comes together when the meatballs are added to the soup base and they cook. The rice gives the meatballs a different flavor twist as well.