This Low Carb Mexican Meatball Soup uses pre-made pork meatballs with a parmesan filling rather than using 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.Jump to Recipe
What are 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, using uncooked rice as a binding agent.
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 the meatball is typically pork or a combination of beef and pork, mixed with eggs and served in a smoky chipotle sauce.
Substitutions for the High Carb Ingredients
Because the recipe below is for a “low carb” Mexican meatball soup, using rice as a 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.
f you prefer to make your own meatballs however, these Greek meatballs or these Vietnamese meatballs both use a basic low carb recipe from scratch. Just change the spice profile 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 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.
You can find a full range of chile spices and blends here, from mild to smoky, to blistering hot. Just make sure you get the freshest spices you can find, as it makes a huge difference.
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.
Albondigas is a healthy warm soup which is especially good on chilly winter days. It is not as rich and heavy as many winter soups made with a cream base tend to be. It is however, filling and delicious!
Using Pre-made Low Carb Meatballs
Here is what the low carb meatballs in our grocery store look like (they are pork and parmesan cheese as a binder).
Popular Low Carb Meatball Recipes:
How to Include the Slow Carb Diet in Your Lifestyle
For a list of allowed foods and tips for slow carb, 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.
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 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.
- 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
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