Tasty Toast: Albondigas Soup


Photo: Yita S. Rivera / The Ebbtide

A bowl of albondigas soup, hot and ready to eat.

Yita S. Rivera, Online Editor

Albondigas soup, or “sopa de albondigas,” is a Spanish dish that consists of small meatballs in a flavorful broth. The word albondiga (“meatball” in Spanish) is derived from the Arabic word for hazelnuts, “al-bunduq,” referring to their similar size.

My grandmother Dora taught my brother and me to make these tiny meatballs as a child. Her father immigrated from Spain in the late 1800s, and my grandmother always stressed the importance of preparing Spanish food to honor our ancestors.

She would always say “watch and learn.” I did just that — and now I’m able to share this recipe for others to enjoy.

Albondigas Soup

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Serves 6

Step 1: Prepare broth


4 cups water

1 box chicken broth

1 tomato, diced

1 garlic clove, finely diced

1 onion, finely chopped (set aside ¼ cup for step 2)

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (set aside ¼ cup for step 2)


  1. Combine ingredients in pot and bring to a boil
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste

Step 2: Prepare meatballs


1 pound ground beef

¼ cup long-grain rice

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper


  1. Mix ingredients together
  2. Roll mixture into ½ inch meatballs (should yield approximately 50)
  3. Bring broth to a rolling boil
  4. Add 5 meatballs at a time to broth, mixing slowly each time

Step 3: Prepare soup


½ cup long-grain rice

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 large squash, chopped


  1. Add rice, celery, carrots and potatoes to broth
  2. Cook for 15 minutes
  3. Add squash and cook for another 5 minutes, then remove pot from heat
  4. Wait 10 minutes before serving