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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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mexican meatball soup

We're so close, friends. Spring is just around the corner and making her presence known with sunny days and >50-degree temperatures. There are tiny yellow crocuses blooming in my backyard, and when I spotted them last Thursday I giddily ran inside to grab my camera. I've spent several mornings over the last week outside walking up a mountain and back...in short sleeves. I am even contemplating slipping sandals on today for my afternoon errands. Sandals! This incredible weather has me wanting to spend every moment outside, basking in the warmth and sights and smells of a budding new season. It has me thinking of gardening, the smell of the earth and the feel of dirt under my fingernails. We've ordered the seeds for our tiny plot (and a much bigger one...a project I am excited to share with you once it gets rolling!) and Brian and I have a big date next weekend weeding and mulching and amending. 

One of the first harvests we'll have this spring will be cilantro. It really is the perfect opening crop because it compliments spicy fare so well. I tend to favor food with a little kick this time of year...I'm thinking it has something to do with the drastic temperature swings we see around here, with warm days sliding into very cool nights. A zippy soup that warms from within is quite welcome after the heavy, thick, potato-based stews we consumed to warm us all Winter. This recipe is a favorite, with spicy tomato broth and bite-size, cilantro-laced meatballs. It usually only takes a slight rise in temperature for Brian to request it on the menu, and it stays there until Spring slips into Summer.

PS: I am ignoring the fact that they are calling for sleet and snow tonight, choosing instead to concentrate on the lovely 60-degree hike I went on this morning in the sunshine. If I ignore it...it won't happen. Right?

This soup is quite quick and easy to throw together on a weeknight after work. The most time-consuming task is forming the meatballs, but even that doesn't take terribly long. To speed up the process make them the night before and cover tightly with plastic wrap. The soup itself keeps for a couple of days, but is best the day it is made. Over time the meatballs and rice tend to break down a bit.

Mexican Meatball Soup with Rice and Cilantro
from bon appetit december 2000, via the kitchen sink recipes
serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 5 14 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa (medium-hot)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice


  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 3/4 cups onions, 2 garlic cloves and bay leaves; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juices, salsa and 1/4 cup cilantro; bring to boil. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ground beef, pork sausage, cornmeal, whole milk, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, then remaining 1 cup onions, 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 cup cilantro in medium bowl. Mix well. Shape meat mixture by generous tablespoonfuls into 1- to 1 1/4-inch balls. 
  3. Add rice and meatballs to soup and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice and meatballs are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. 
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

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Reader Comments (11)

I was looking for the pic of the crocus

02.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFelicia Hubbell

I so wish I could watch you work. Not in a creepy way! haha I just love your recipes and photos. I have so much to learn!!! Someday I should find a local class or something

02.21.2011 | Unregistered Commentercarrian

the meatballs looks soo tasty and my husband's fav. have to make them soon :)
Talking of waiting for spring and summer .. i think of mangoes .. and lemonades and wearing shorts and walk in the park .. etc etc :D

02.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKankana

I like how the cilantro looks like clover. It's a lucky soup!

So, one of my husband's favorite words in Spanish is "albóndigas"! I think he likes to order meatballs in Latin restaurants just for the word to roll off his tongue.

02.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

@felicia : Sorry! Perhaps I'll do a Spring flowers post on AHPhoto once things start popping up more.
@Carrian : Awe, thanks! And I'm not creeped out. :)
@Kankana : My husband loves this recipe too. And yes to mangoes and lemonade and shorts!!!
@Jen : It is! :)
@Kristina : It IS a good word to go along with a good soup. :)

02.25.2011 | Registered CommenterAndrea

I love this recipe! And I just realized that its one that I make all the time that hasn't ended up on the blog. Can't go wrong with anything from Kristin's blog

02.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

I could definitely eat this for supper tonight - looks delicious.

gorgeous photography!! Loving this soup...

03.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAggie

I love your blog and really enjoyed the post on the Mexican pork soup. It looks delicious!

I recently discovered small, pork meatballs, but Chinese style. Maybe you'll like this recipe: http://inthekitchenwitheva-eva.blogspot.com/2011/02/pork.html

Keep up the great work with your blog!


04.22.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I am looking for inspiration for an Italian Meatball Soup I am making. I like cooking the meatballs in the soup. I have always baked them first... Hmmm, we will see. Looks delicious!

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