Before jumping to the recipe, don't miss the HELPFUL RECIPE TIPS in the post! I hope you'll find them useful and will love this fantastic recipe.
( 3 Net Carbs per Bowl & Gluten Free)
This Keto Mexican Meatball Soup is about to knock your socks off it’s so good! It’s perfect for chilly evenings and the meatballs have an AMAZING flavor.
Even the Non-Keto kids in your life are going to gobble this up! No making separate dinners tonight!
(Hint: Don’t tell them it’s a Keto recipe and they will never know.)
Plus, it’s pretty easy and you will probably have leftovers for lunches or snacks. (I love these type of time-savers).
This soup is special to me and I have loved it since I was a teenager. This recipe is the same one that I have used for decades (minus the rice in the meatballs).
I won’t clutter up the instructions with the story of how I learned to make this dish.
But I do have to post that short story after the recipe in honor of the Sweet Abuela who taught me to make it.
There is a goat in the story and I think it’s funny so….back to the recipe.
Keto Mexican Meatball Soup = Sopa de Albondigas (Al- bone- di- goss)…
Around here we just call it Albondigas and everyone knows what I mean (Mexican Meatball soup).
And the Keto version is just as good as the traditional version (I think it is anyway). The pork rinds and cauliflower in the meatballs replace the white rice to keep the meat tender and melt in your mouth delicious.
And the secret ingredient in the meatballs (dried mint) is a fantastic complimentary flavor. I know that it sounds weird and if you have never had this soup than you may question it and maybe even think about leaving it out.
DON’T! Please try it with the mint it’s soooo good.
Either Spearmint or Peppermint will work. I really like this dish with Spearmint though. See the tips to find out how I save money on spearmint.
Choose your “green chili” peppers to fit your tastes…
This recipe calls for “green chili”. That can mean different things to different people, depending on where you are from.
What I mean by “green chili” is roasted green chili ( usually Anaheim peppers).
You can get these around here at the fruit stand. But I have used the canned version as well. I mean these.
I usually add more than is listed in the recipe because we like really spicy food. Not everyone does, especially if you are sharing this dish with kids who have tender tongues.
Tips for making the Keto Mexican Meatball Soup:
- Make the stock first.
You’ll want it boiling before you drop the meatballs in so this step just makes sense.
- Choose your peppers to fit your tastes.
I have made this soup with several different kinds of peppers. You can use the canned chili’s if you like. It gives it a wonderful flavor. In the last years I have frozen roasted Anaheim chili’s each year during the summer and use them whenever I make this soup.
- Choose your mint.
I have made this with both Peppermint and Spearmint. And I have used a mix when I didn’t have enough of either spice to give it the flavor I was looking for. I prefer Spearmint but use the Peppermint from my garden when I have it on hand. Both are delicious.
In the winter months when my garden is buried beneath the snow I have been known to use spearmint from tea bags because it’s so much less expensive than buying spearmint in a bottle at my local store.
You can just tear open the tea bags ( just make sure there is no black tea in there or your kids will be up all night).
Or…you can get an awesome deal on organic spearmint here.
Both of these make awesome tea to sooth an upset stomach and stuffy nose.
- You could use ground pork instead of ground beef if you wanted.
This will change the flavor but I am a fan of experimentation. I have never done it because I love this albondigas soup as is.
- You could use chicken broth instead of beef stock.
I actually do this a lot because I have chicken stock on hand most of the time. This recipe is easy and it’s almost hard to go wrong with it.
- Make small meatballs.
This reasoning is two fold. First of all, if you make the meatballs to big they will fall apart in the pot or dutch oven. They are very tender. Second of all, if you make them too big you’ll eat all of the meatballs and have a bunch of stock left.
Everyone has that one person in their family that eats all of the meat out of soup and stew first lol. Make the meatballs small and this will be impossible.
- You could use olive oil to saute the veggies if you have something against butter.
If you do this that maybe you should add a small amount of salt in addition to the salt in the recipe. You’ll lose a tiny layer of flavor by omitting the butter but a myriad of sins can be covered up with salt and pepper.
- Make sure the stock is boiling before you drop in the meatballs.
This is a MUST or your meatballs will fall apart. I tried making this in the crockpot once and it was more like hamburger soup. It was still good but I prefer my meatball soup to contain meatballs.
I don’t know anything about instant pots. I avoided that craze to save room on my already crowded counter so I am not sure if it will work in one of those.
Keep the heat on medium high and only reduce heat if it is about to boil over. I have NEVER had this soup boil over but I still place a wooden spoon across the top of any pot to keep it from happening.
- Your soup should be “done” about 20 minutes after you drop the last meatball in.
This is an absolute favorite recipe of mine!
And since it’s getting chilly you should check out these 15 Low Carb Fall Recipes too!
If you are feeling frisky and want dessert you should be able to find some awesome Keto Desserts to compliment this meal here.
Take a look around the site and you are sure to find fantastically easy meals that your whole crew will love…Keto or not!
Keto Sopa de Albondigas Recipe ( Keto Meatball Soup)
Soup ( Make this first)
- 8 cups Water Some of this will boil off.
- 1 tbsp Powdered Beef Broth Base *Or reduce water to 6 cups and use 3 cups of bone broth.
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1/4 cup Onion chopped
- 1/4 cup Green Chili *Chopped. Canned is fine. See the post tips about types of green chili if you don't know what to use.
- 1/2 cup Bell Pepper Diced. Green is the traditioal choice but I use a mix of colors most often (frozen is fine to save time).
- 1 Cup Sliced Celery
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder Or two cloves minced
- 14 oz Canned Tomatoes No added sugar
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- 1/2 cup Ground Pork Rinds You can put them in the blender or roll them out in a ziploc to a course powdered consistancy. Whatever floats your boat.
- 1 cup Riced Cauliflower I make mine in the blender.
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 2 Tbsp Dried Mint leaves *or 6 tablespoons fresh mint finely chopped. To taste. See notes in post about mint before you think it's weird and leave it out. Trust me.
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder Or two fresh cloves minced
- Saute all veggies EXCEPT canned tomatoes in a large stock with the butter until onions are slightly translucent. (About 3-5 minutes).
- Add canned tomatoes.
- Add water, spices and broth base.
- Bring to a rapid Boil.
- Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and mix them up with your hands. I like to wear latex gloves when making meatballs.
- Make 1 inch (small meatballs) and drop them into the boiling water one by one. Don't dawdle too much. But, do NOT add them all at once. This will drop the temperature of the stock too low and the meatballs will fall apart. You need to keep a steady boil going on.
- Boil over medium/high until veggies are soft and meatballs are cooked through. About 35-45 minutes. ******DO NOT STIR UNTIL IT'S DONE. Your meatballs will fall apart (It still tastes good just in case you couldnt resist stiring).
- You can add toppings like cilantro, cheese or green onions if desired but it awesome right out of the pot.
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The nutrition information in this post is provided as a courtesy. In determining nutrition for soup I can only calculate an exactly portioned bowl of soup so values may vary from bowl to bowl.
Skip over this bit if you don’t care but I am going to tell you a quick story about the first time I had this soup and learned to make it…( I don’t usually do this. This soup is special to me).
I was a teenager living in the California Desert and decided to take the long hot drive even further out into the middle of nowhere to join a friend for a visit to his grandparents house.
They were both from Mexico and had made their haven in a small ranch type house WAY OUT in the middle of the desert decades before. Like waaaay out there where all you could see was pink sand and desert brush. No pavement, no cars and no other houses.
As we drove down the long dusty driveway a pack of happily barking dogs greeted us.
There were chickens roaming free and a burro was lazily grazing on weeds near a small barn. It looked like a set from an old western movie. I could see the heat rising in the distance and everything.
As our car pulled to a stop in a cloud of dust, his Abuela ( which she insisted that I call her too) came running out of the house for a hug. Her face was beautiful and kind and I loved her right away. She hugged me like she had known me my entire life.
Abuela had been cooking and the most wonderful aroma was coming out of the house. She invited us in to help finish making lunch and I was SO excited to learn about traditional Mexican dishes from a “real Abuela”!
And what was the first thing that I saw when I crossed through that doorway and felt the rush of the cool air from the swamp cooler?
A GOAT standing right on top of the dining room table! YES A GOAT!
I was immediately introduced to their Cabra Lechera, Sofia like she was family.
The goat they used for milk was in the house. On the dining table. Staring at me.
The story that followed was that the extreme desert heat dried out her milk…so she lived in the house in the heat of mid-day.
The first thing I thought was…I’m not eating anything. These people are crazy.
My buddy knew this would get me and he could scarcely hide the laughter in his voice while catching up with his Abuela in Spanglish and answering the usual familial questions ( How’s your father? How is school? Is this your amante (girlfriend)?…No Abuela, she’s my Carnala (a term for friend).
I tried to roll with it. But inside I was losing it about the damn goat!
Germaphobia kicked in. Do chickens live in here too? Is the goat eating lunch with the family? Is there poop on the floor? I bet there is and so on…
I didn’t see any poop.
Still, I barely maintained my manners and quelled the urge to run back outside long enough to notice that there was a tall, ornate, metal gate between the kitchen and the rest of the house.
And what did I see when I was invited in past the metal gate?
The most beautiful little kitchen painted in bright colors that smelled of peppers and soap. It was so clean compared to what I was thinking would be going on.
She had made fresh corn tortillas and cheese ( from that same damn goat). And the stock pot on top of the tiny, ancient stove was roiling.
It smelled divine and I started thinking that maybe I could have a little bit of lunch….like, a small lunch. I was prepared to suffer food poisoning for a bite of this soup. It smelled SO good.
When Abuela asked me to help her with the meatballs I was thrilled! I could recreate this at home!
But, when she asked me to put a heaping amount of mint into the meat I thought she was crazy again. Forget it. This is going to be a bust. Mint doesn’t go in meat. ( Except for maybe lamb and only at Christmas).
She stood closer to me, wrapped her arm around me, kissed me on the cheek, guided my hand and dumped a huge pile of mint from the jar I was holding into the meat and rice. She looked me straight in the eye and said “trust me”….
She was was so strong and sure about it that I did trust her about the mint and everything else from that day forward.
She never put on airs and the day I first had this soup I learned a lesson I will never forget…
If someone is willing to introduce you to the goat standing on their dining room table you should make an effort to get to know them.
That kind of authenticity is rare and you can bet that they believe in whatever they say…
The mint makes this soup special. Just try it.
Cheers to Abuela and Keto on!