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Low Carb Meatball Soup (Albondigas): with Pre-made Meatballs

Low Carb Meatball Soup (Albondigas): with Pre-made Meatballs
Home » Diets » Low carb Mexican recipes » Mexican Meatball Soup (Albondigas)

This Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup uses pre-made pork meatballs with a parmesan filling rather than refined carbs as a binding agent. Add a hearty and spicy broth with a generous amount of vegetables and you have what is referred to as a Sopa de Albóndigas, or Mexican Meatball Soup.

Low carb Mexican meatball soup (Albondigas)
Low carb Mexican meatball soup (Albondigas)

Jump to: RECIPE | Spanish vs Mexican Albondigas | Substitutions

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What are Albondigas?

Albondigas is the Spanish word for meatballs, often translated as “small meatballs”. In Spain, Albondigas are often served as tapas and made with a mix of veal and pork. When served as a soup they are poached in a variety of broth bases, from tomato and garlic to almond.

In Mexican cuisine however, meatballs are typically pork or a combination of beef and pork, mixed with eggs and served in a smoky chipotle sauce.

The type of meatballs traditionally found in Mexican albondigas soup often use uncooked rice as a binding agent.   This recipe for meatballs stuffed with hard boiled eggs and served with salsa is a good example of how rice is used as the binder.

Substitutions for the High Carb Ingredients

Because the recipe below is for a “low carb” Mexican meatball soup, using rice as a meatball binder is out.  In the recipe below I opted for pre-made low carb pork meatballs (our local grocery store carries the brand Carando), which uses parmesan cheese as the binder.

If you prefer to make your own meatballs however, these Greek meatballs or these Vietnamese meatballs are both low carb recipes with meatballs made from scratch. Just change the spice profile of one of the made-from-scratch recipes and you will have Mexican low carb meatballs.

There is also plenty of flexibility on which vegetables you can 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.

Is Albondigas Soup Spicy?

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. 

Just make sure you get the freshest spices you can find, as many spices lose their punch with age.

Bowl of Mexican meatball souop (Albondigas) with avocado garnish.
Bowl of Mexican meatball souop (Albondigas) with avocado garnish.

Albondigas in the Crockpot!

Mexican Meatball soup is also a great candidate for the slow cooker. Simply add the prepared meatballs (uncooked) and the rest of the soup ingredients to the crock pot, then cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Using Pre-made Low Carb Meatballs

Here is what the low carb meatballs in our grocery store look like (they are pork with parmesan cheese as a binder).

low carb prepared meatballs made with pork
low carb prepared meatballs

Popular Low Carb Meatball Recipes:

How to Include the Slow Carb Diet in Your Lifestyle

For more information, I’ve put together a  list of allowed foods and tips for slow carb, low carb and keto diets, 

I also offer a series of guides if you are experimenting with the nuances of the various low carb diets and want more information on how they differ,  

Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup – Albondigas

Low carb Mexican meatball soup (Albondigas)
This sauce is rich and robust with a blend of Mexican spices, fresh vegetables and premade meatballs. The meatballs are pork and parmesan pre-made meatballs to save on time, but you can certainly make your own.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 76


  • 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 or sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic smashed or minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chipotle spice
  • 1 tsp mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 med zucchini sliced into 1″ rounds
  • ½ 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.
    1 lb Italian Style Meatballs (Carando is one brand)
  • 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.
    2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 med. onion, 2-3 whole carrots, 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 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.
    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
  • Add meatballs to the pot and cook about 10 min.  Add zucchini to pot and cook another 10 minutes
    1 med zucchini
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro and avocados
    1 whole avocado, 1/2 cup cilantro


Calories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 312mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 567IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
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