Chipotle Vegetable and Meatball Soup

Chipotle Vegetable and Meatball Soup - The Sweet Road

We first discovered this savory concoction at the amazing soup and salad buffet restaurant chain, Sweet Tomatoes. It was called “Albondigas Locas” soup, and I liked it so much that I wrote down everything I could see: meatballs, carrots, rice, zucchini, onions, red pepper. When we got home, I found some recipes online and started making our own albondigas (meatball) soup. Over time, it’s morphed into a chipotle pepper + meatballs + whatever-vegetable-you-have-on-hand kind of soup, but it’s hearty and fairly healthy (the meatballs are baked not fried), and the chipotle gives it a nice spicy kick.


The recipe has a fairly long ingredient list, but, like most soups, it’s flexible. Add a potato, oregano, or some corn, or leave out the tomatoes or celery. If you can’t handle heat (if you’re more of a Spaniard than a Mexican), leave out the chipotle. We like this soup with good crusty bread and cheese.


Chipotle Vegetable and Meatball Soup - The Sweet Road

Chipotle Vegetable and Meatball Soup
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • - 1 slice bread (I use whole wheat, but white works fine)
  • - ¼ cup milk
  • - 1 egg
  • - 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • - 1 teaspoon salt
  • - ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • - 1 pound ground beef (or a mix of ground beef, veal, and pork)
  • - 2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
  • - 1 onion, diced or left in large rings
  • - 2 - 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
  • - 2 stalks celery, diced
  • - 2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • - ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • - 6 - 8 cups (1.5 - 2 quarts) chicken broth
  • - ½ cup long-grain rice
  • - 1 cup water
  • - 2 - 3 tomatoes, diced, OR 1 can diced tomatoes with juice, OR 1 cup tomato puree (all optional)
  • - 1 chipotle chile (canned)
  • - 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (the sauce from the canned chipotle chiles)
  • - ½ teaspoon cumin
  • - 2 bay leaves
  • - 1 zucchini, peeled and cut into large dice
  • - 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • - 1 - 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • - Ground black pepper, to taste
  • - Lime wedges (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F. To keep cleanup easy, line baking sheets with foil, then parchment paper.
  2. Place the bread in a large bowl. Pour the milk on top, and let it soak in for a minute or so. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients except the beef, and mix well. Then add the beef, and mix thoroughly. Using your hands, form meatballs (I usually make mine about 1 - 2 inches in diameter, but make them whatever size you prefer) and place on lined baking sheets.
  3. Bake the meatballs until nicely browned, about 20 - 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Don't worry if the meatballs develop a crunchy crust; they'll become tender as they simmer in the soup later. Set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sautee until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes, and then add 6 cups of the chicken broth, rice, water, tomatoes or tomato puree, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, cumin, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure the rice doesn't stick. Lower the heat to a simmer. Add the zucchini and red pepper.
  5. Wipe off any congealed fat from the meatballs with a paper towel, if necessary, and add them to the soup. Simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender, about 20 - 30 minutes (or longer). If the broth level of the soup seems to be dropping, add more broth, one cup at a time. Adjust with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into bowls and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Inspired by the "Albondigas Locas" recipe at the restaurant Sweet Tomatoes.


This entry was posted in Beef, Cooking, Mexican cooking, Soups and Stews. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Lina Reed

    Have you tried to just drop the meatballs into the boiling soup, so they cook there? If you are using lean meat, you wont get too much extra fat and the flavor of the meat will be in the soup too.

    • TheSweetRoad

      Lina, thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try that.

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