Albondigas Soup With Cilantro Pesto

READY IN: 2hrs 35mins
Recipe by Witch Doctor

Taking its name from the word for the meatballs that float in its rich broth, this great one-dish meal is arguably the national soup of Mexico. Make a big pot for a casual party, keeping it warm on the stove top. Adding the cilantro pesto to each serving produces a wonderfully fresh taste.

Top Review by DashOfLove

The pesto was amazing. The soup was superb! My guests were impressed and so was I! Arborio rice was perfect and made the albondigas (meatballs) so tender with a desirable bite. I added some fresh cilantro and lime wedges to serve. The cilantro pesto was drizzled ad also served alongside as a condiment. I grated zucchini and it really helped the soup to have a great thickened consistency without being gooey or okra/slimy-like. PERFECT. The second time I made it I added two extra diced tomatoes and it was fantastic. Any veggies you may have on hand and want to get rid of or are close to being thrown out (broccoli, potatoes, squash, etc.) are perfect in this recipe. I always add celery and an extra dose of cumin.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Place the rice in a heatproof bowl. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the rice. Let soak for 40 minutes, then drain; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add 1 of the diced onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. In a bowl, combine the pork, beef, cooled onion, soaked rice, egg, cumin, oregano, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Using your hands, mix well and form into 1-inch balls.
  4. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the remaining diced onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, zucchini, carrots and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to a boil. Carefully slip the meatballs into the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the meatballs are fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. While the soup simmers, make the cilantro pesto: In a mini food processor or a blender, combine the cilantro, mint, lime juice, olive oil, water and salt. Process to a paste.
  6. Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top each serving with a dollop of cilantro pesto. Serve at once.

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