I am focused these days on recipes that are very quick and very easy. This is because the vast majority of my diet coaching clients are either too busy to cook much at home, or are inexperienced cooks and find many recipes a bit intimidating. No one, however, wants to give up the robust flavors you get through creative home cooking (salads get old pretty quickly). This Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup uses pre-made (and low carb) pork meatballs readily available at the grocery store and then punches up the flavor with a hearty, spicy broth full of vegetables.
Ingredient Choices for a classic Mexican Meatball Soup (aka Albondigas)
Albondigas is the Spanish word for meatballs, often translated as “small meatballs”. The type of meatballs traditionally found in albondigas soup are made with ground beef and use rice as a binding agent. Because the recipe below is for a “low carb” Mexican meatball soup, the rice is out. Because it is a recipe focused on being easy, I have opted for pre-made low carb pork meatballs (our store carries the brand Carando). If you prefer to make your own meatballs, this recipe is a good one for home-made low carb meatballs (it’s a mixture of beef and pork).
Albondigas is a healthy warm soup which is especially good on chilly winter days. It is not, however, as rich and heavy as many winter soups tend to be.
There is also plenty of flexibility on which vegetables you want to use. Most classic Mexican meatball soups will have onions, tomatoes, carrots and zucchini in the broth, but any vegetables that you have dying a slow death in the refrigerator can be added or substituted.
Mexican Meatball Soup is also a great candidate for the slow cooker. Simply add the prepared meatballs and the rest of the soup ingredients to the crock pot, then cook on low for 4-6 hours.
This particular recipe is designed to be “medium” in terms of spice level. You can easily change the heat level by selecting the chile spice you use. Check out our spices for the full range of chile spice blends, from mild to smoky, to blistering hot.
Recipe for Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup
Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup – Albondigas
- 1 lb Italian Style Meatballs (Carando is one brand) read label to make sure it is low carb
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 med. onion chopped
- 2-3 whole carrots coarsely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic smashed
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chipotle spice
- 1 tsp mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 med zucchini sliced into 1″ rounds
- 1/2 cup cilantro for garnish
- 1 whole avocado optional garnish
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place meatballs on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 min. Gently turn over meatballs and bake an additional 5-10 min. Remove from oven and turn oven off.
- While meatballs are cooking, heat olive oil on stovetop in a large pot or dutch oven, and then saute onions in the oil until caramelized (about 5-7 min.) Add carrots and saute another 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds.
- Add chicken broth, water, tomatoes and seasonings to the pot of vegetables. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover the pot and simmer on low for 20 min.
- Add meatballs to the pot and cook about 10 min. Add zucchini to pot and cook another 10 minutes
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro and avocados
Here is what the low carb meatballs in our grocery store look like (they are pork and parmesan cheese as a binder).
For more information on low carb lifestyles:
For a list of allowed foods and tips for low carb and keto diets, click here.
If you are experimenting with the nuances of the various low carb diets and want more information on how they differ, click here.
And finally, if you have met your fat loss goals and are curious about some maintenance strategies, click here.
Online Coaching Available:
I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now I currently do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol. I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them. I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark. Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!
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