Vegan Mexican meatball or Albondigas soup is such a tasty, easy and wholesome meal that is an instant family and crowd pleaser.
Delicious vegan meatballs cooked with tasty veggies in a deep, rich savoury tomato broth, and served over spaghetti or noodles, is just the best autumnal and winter comfort food.
Quick Origins Of Mexican Meatball Soup (Sopa De Albondigas)
Albondigas is Spanish for meatball and so Mexican meatball soup is also known as Spanish meatball soup.
The main components of Mexican meatball soup is homemade meatballs and veggies cooked in a tomato based soup.
Mexican meatball soup has its origins somewhere in the middle eastern region and not actually Mexico.
During the medieval times middle eastern conquers ruled over parts of Europe and as a result middle eastern cuisine mixed with European dishes. In turn, Spanish conquers introduced meatball soup to Mexico sometime during the 16th century.
Albondigas soup is now a firm part of Mexico's food identity with many variations of meatball soup available depending on the region and family influences.
Vegan Mexican Meatball Soup
This vegan Mexican meatball soup is not authentic but is inspired by the traditional Albondigas De Sopa. My family loved this savoury, rich and delicious meatball soup and it is now on our monthly menu rotation especially now as the chilly autumn weather has surely arrived and here to stay up in the Scottish highlands.
The ingredients I use for this soup are cherry tomatoes, courgettes/zucchini, carrot, potato, onion, garlic, tomato paste, tomato passata (plain pureed tomatoes) and a packet of vegan meatballs. Vegan stock, oregano, a little bit of chilli powder and a few tablespoons of fresh coriander/cilantro provide tasty flavours, along with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
I choose to use ready-made vegan meatballs as I wanted to keep the recipe quick and easy. However, I have provided a link in the recipe notes to a vegan meatball recipe for those interested in preparing their own. There are also some suggestions for meatball substitutions.
To begin, the cherry tomatoes and thin sliced courgette are roasted in the oven for 25 minutes. Once cooked the tomatoes and courgettes are set aside until ready to pop into the soup. Of course the courgettes and tomatoes do not need to be roasted but can be added to the soup along with the carrots and potatoes but roasting intensifies the flavour and provides a munch better texture.
Meanwhile the onions and garlic are cooked in a pan in either a tablespoon of oil or a little veggie stock. Next the carrot and potato chunks are cooked for a few minutes along with the onions, before tomato paste and chilli powder are mixed through.
The vegan meatballs are popped in the pan along with the passata and vegan stock. Dried oregano and fresh or frozen coriander is sprinkled in the soup, and a good sprinkle of salt and black pepper seasons the soup.
The meatball soup is brought to a simmer and cooked for 25-30 minutes until the carrots are cooked and the potatoes are soft and have an almost creamy texture.
While the Albondigas soup is bubbling away the spaghetti or noodles are prepared according to the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside. It doesn't matter if the spaghetti becomes cold as once the soup is ladled over it will heat through.
Once the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, pop in the courgette slices and cherry tomatoes and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
To finish a tablespoon of fresh lime juice is squeezed into the soup to provide a delicious zingy kick, and if required more salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the spaghetti between your serving bowls and ladle over the Mexican meatball soup. Provide extra lime wedges for others to squeeze into their soup if liked. A sprinkle of dried oregano is also tasty, as is a few drops of hot sauce for those who prefer spicy soup.
As with all Mexican inspired food that I prepare for my kids they love a few crunchy tortilla chips on the side to dip or scoop up the tasty food. I prefer a spoonful or two of guacamole, or I share a diced avocado with my elder daughter. So tasty.
How To Prepare Vegan Mexican Meatball Soup
Recipe Notes And FAQS
Leftover meatball soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, within a covered container.
Or frozen in a freezer-safe container for 4-6 months.
Leftover vegan meatball soup can be placed in a pan and brought to a simmer.
Reheat for 3-5 minutes until piping hot throughout.
Any leftover spaghetti or noodles can be stored along with the meatball soup and reheated within the same pan.
Defrost leftovers completely before reheating.
With a few considerations it is easy to prepare this soup as gluten-free.
Choose a gluten-free vegan meatball, check that your stock is gluten-free, and use gluten-free spaghetti or noodles.
I serve my family's meatball soup with spaghetti broken into smaller pieces, but here are a few other ideas:
* vermicelli noodles, long or short varieties
* any type of pasta, including gluten-free
* any type of noodles
* any variety of rice
* mashed potatoes, white or sweet
* tortilla chips
* garlic bread
* corn bread
* crusty bread
* vegan 3 ingredient flat bread
* vegan 3 ingredient quick dinner rolls
* these loaded black bean potato wedges, especially for those with hungrier appetites
* lime or lemon wedges
* sliced spring/green onions
* fresh red onion rings
* sliced fresh chilli
* canned jalapenos
* pickled red onion or gherkins
* guacamole, or fresh diced/sliced avocado
* salsa, tomato or pineapple
* hot sauce
* vegan sour cream/ plain yogurt
You could try this vegan meatball recipe over at the good food website.
Also, chopped chunks of vegan burgers or sausages would work well as a meatball replacement.
Alternatively sub the vegan meatballs for large whole tomatoes or whole mushrooms such as chestnut, button or just regular mushrooms.
Perhaps add a can of pinto, borlotti, cannellini or butter beans instead of the meatballs.
A few ideas:
* replace the courgette/zucchini for green bell pepper
* sub the cherry tomatoes for halved or quartered larger tomatoes
* instead of cherry tomatoes use a red bell pepper
* use dried garlic and onion powder in place of the fresh onion and garlic
* sub out the tomato passata for 2 400g/ 15oz cans of chopped tomatoes
* replace the white potato with sweet potato or butternut squash
* run out of carrots? use sweetcorn instead
Passata is simply pureed and sieved uncooked tomatoes, and can be sourced in most UK supermarkets and small grocery stores.
In the US some varieties of passata may be labelled as tomato sauce (intended for pasta, etc and not a condiment like tomato ketchup).
Passata usually comes in tall glass bottles or jars, or in a cardboard package.
If you can't source passata it can be replaced with the same amount of chopped tomatoes, perhaps blend the chopped tomatoes, although that's not necessary.
Or blend fresh tomatoes.
Looking for more vegan Mexican meal ideas?
Vegan Mexican Meatball Soup
- Stock pot/soup pot/ Dutch oven pan
- Small baking pan
To sauté onion and garlic:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil optional, can replace with 125ml/ ½ cup veggie stock
- 130 grams onion 1 small-medium diced, or 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- 4 cloves garlic thin sliced or minced, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Rest of soup:
- 400 grams vegan meatballs fresh or frozen, I used Co-op Gro meatballs (frozen)
- 170 grams carrot thick sliced into ½-¾ cm circles
- 230 grams potatoes sliced into bitesize chunks
- 150 grams cherry tomatoes
- 150 grams courgette zucchini, thin sliced into circles
- 1 teaspoon oregano use Mexican oregano if available
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander/cilantro either fresh or frozen, chopped, optional
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste puree
- 500 grams tomato passata or 2 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 litres vegan stock
- 200 grams spaghetti pasta or noodles/vermicelli, uncooked. Or replace with rice, quinoa or orzo. Prepare more if feeding hungry people.
- 1 ½ lime quarter one of the limes, and squeeze the juice out of the other half, or replace with lemon
Preheat oven to 180 Fan / 200 Celsius / 392 Fahrenheit / Gas 6.
- Place the sliced courgettes/zucchini and whole cherry tomatoes onto a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside until required.
Meanwhile prepare the soup:
- Either heat the olive oil or veggie stock over a medium heat in a soup pan.
- If using oil cook the onion for 5 minutes, stir frequently, and then add the garlic for 1 minute.
- If using veggie stock, gently simmer the onion and garlic for 6 minutes.
- Add the carrot and potato. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Mix through the tomato paste, chilli powder, coriander/cilantro, and oregano. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the veggie meat balls and cook and stir for 1 minute.
- Pour in the passata and vegan stock. Add a few pinches of salt and some black pepper.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and courgette, cook for 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Divide the spaghetti noodles between the serving bowls. Ladle over the soup.
- Serve with a wedge of lime or lemon to squeeze into the soup for a fresh zingy kick.
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary.
- Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Or frozen in a freezer container for 4-6 months.
- Leftovers can be reheated by popping into a pan and bringing to a simmer. Reheat for 3-5 minutes until piping hot throughout. Any leftover spaghetti can be added to the soup and heated simultaneously.
- Defrost completely before reheating.
- Leftovers are very tasty for next days lunch.
- For a gluten-free meatball soup choose gluten-free vegan meatballs, gluten-free stock and gluten-free spaghetti, pasta or noodles.
- Replace the vegan meatballs with chopped up cooked vegan burgers or sausages, or chestnut/button/regular mushrooms, or medium sized tomatoes. Simply pop the mushrooms or tomatoes into the soup at the time the meatballs would be added, or roast along with the cherry tomatoes and courgettes. Pop the roasted mushrooms or tomatoes in the soup 5 minutes before serving.
- Or simply sub in a can of drained borlotti, cannellini, pinto or butterbeans.
- I recommended using dried Mexican oregano if available as this herb provides lemony citrus flavours whereas regular Italian oregano lends more minty notes. But any variety is perfectly fine.
- I have included a link to a Mexican oregano that can be purchased from Amazon UK above within the recipe ingredient list. This is the one that I use.