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  • Karla Hernandez

Albondiga Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)



Meatballs used to be one of the most difficult things to make vegan. It was difficult for me to figure out how to make a tender ball of chopped or blended vegetables to stick together without falling apart in either a broth or a sauce. I have to admit I am somewhat of a lazy cook sometimes and would rather eat them disassembled if that means not racking my brain to figure out how to make them stick. But now with the ingenious advent of Beyond Beef, I once again am able to make some of my favorite dishes.


Albondiga is meatball in Spanish. It is usually eaten in a tomato based soup with rice and a few veggies. Like many of the Mexican soups I make, this one has a spicy tomato base for which I used one chipotle pepper. Read more about chipotle peppers in my lentil soup recipe. The non-vegan version will have a small piece of hard boiled egg on the inside of each albondiga, but we will replace this with some sauteed super firm tofu. You can add anything your heart desires to this tofu. I added black salt (for an eggy flavor), turmeric (for color) and garlic powder before I sauteed it in some cooking oil. Albondigas are also different than meatballs because they are mixed with not just salt, but also uncooked rice.


Although this recipe is 100% vegan and therefore much more environmentally friendly than any omnivore's recipe, it does require the purchase of some ingredients that come in single us plastic; these being the Beyond Beef and the tofu :( The remorse looms over me like a plastic bag over my head sometimes.


Nuff said, lets dig into this recipe that will yield 10 albondigas and a little over a half an 8 quart pot


Ingredients:

- 1 lb. beyond beef

- 8-10 roma tomatoes

- 1/2 onion

- 4-5 garlic cloves

- 1-2 chipotle peppers

- 1 lb white rice

- 1/5 of an extra firm tofu block

- 1 tablespoon cooking oil

- 32 fl oz mushroom broth or veggie broth

- 1 zucchini

- 1 carrot

- 1 russet potato

- 6 to 10 cilantro springs (optional)

- salt and black salt (black salt is optional)

- a dash of garlic powder

- a dash of turmeric (just for color, optional too)


Preparation:

1. Make the tomato sauce by blending 8 - 10 tomatoes, 1/2 onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1-2 chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 cups of broth.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to a hot 8 quart pot then add the sauce. Set the flame to low and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil again. Keep the temperature on low so that you have enough time to prep the meatballs.

3. Chop the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. You will need one cube per meatball so about a fifth of a tofu block will do. Add black salt (or regular salt), some garlic powder, turmeric powder for color and then saute the tofu in a little bit of oil until it gets slightly browned. Take it off the pan and onto a small plate or bowl.



4. Make the albondigas by mixing 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup uncooked rice and 1 pound of beef.

5. Shape about 2 ounce balls, press down the center of each ball and add a small tofu square. Cover up the tofu to make perfect round meatballs with a hidden tofu cube inside. Place a pan on low heat and place each meat ball there for a few minutes turning them so that they sear throughout.



6. Chop the potato, carrot and zucchini into one inch cubes. When the sauce starts to boil add the albondigas and potatoes, cook for ten minutes. After 10 minutes add the carrot and zucchini. Allow all to simmer on low for 30 to 45 more minutes.

7. Get the remaining uncooked rice and cook on a pan until it browns slightly. Meanwhile heat up 4 cups of water with 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt. Once the water is boiling, add the browned rice to the water and simmer with the lid on and the spout down for about 40 minutes. At 40 minutes open the lid and check to make sure that all the water got absorbed and the rice is fluffy and fully cooked.

8. Add some cooked rice to a bowl and then ladle in some albondiga soup. It's ready to enjoy! :)

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