Rachel Getting Hungry: Tortilla Meatball Soup

by Rachel on October 5, 2011

Inspired by Leah’s Season of Soup challenge, Monday night, I took on a new recipe: Tortilla Meatball Soup from Cooking Light.

I’ll admit: I actually planned to make the soup without really reading the recipe. When looking for recipes, I tend to read the ingredients but disregard the steps involved. Come Monday afternoon, when I was sending it to Eric in the context of, “So you’ll be starting dinner tonight; here’s how…” I realized that it was kind of an annoying recipe. It just has a lot of steps. A lot of chopping. A lot of dishes.

I debated copping out. “Can’t I just use the ground beef?” I whined to Leah. “Do we really have to make it into balls first?”

But if Cosmo has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t skip the balls!

So Eric and I toughed it out and even though it was a kind of pain in the ass to make, it was so good! And — lucky for you — I now have some ways to make the whole process a little easier!

First, break out the gadgets! I hate chopping veggies, and coring peppers is one of those annoying tasks that I’d love to make easier. When I saw this pepper corer at HEB a few weeks ago, I didn’t even think about it — I just added it to my cart.

It definitely came in handy for this recipe; I was able to core the pepper for the soup without nearly slicing off my fingers in the process.

On the other hand, you could just skip this step altogether and buy bottled roasted red peppers. Pre-heating the broiler to cook the peppers (and the tortillas, which I burned the first time around!), waiting for them to cool, and peeling them added a lot of waiting and work to this recipe that I could have done without.

Another way to make the recipe less complicated is to use black beans instead of red potatoes. That means less washing, chopping, and cleanup, and black beans make more sense to me anyway.

A few other changes I recommend, both for making things easier and making things more delicious:

  • Used bottled minced garlic.
  • Swap out the shredded cheese for queso fresco.
  • Add diced avocado as a topping.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream — I tried it without sour cream and with sour cream…sour cream won. (When doesn’t it though?)

I must say, the soup was way better than I expected. I guess I was expecting some sort of average Mexican chain restaurant appetizer tortilla soup, but this was so much better than that. I think the chipotle chile pepper is what did it — it adds a little smokiness and depth that made it better than average.

So…don’t skip the balls and give it a try!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eden October 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

I never skip balls.
But lets be real here, man balls are gross, veiny, droopy things!


2 Rachel October 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

For some reason, this made me think of “Mean Girls” and now I feel compelled to say “SHE MADE OUT WITH A MEATBALL!”


3 [SMASH] October 5, 2011 at 9:47 am

Wow, that soup looks delish. I’ve been following Leah’s tour de soups. Glad fall foods are upon us, even if it’s going to be 86 degrees today.


4 Keri @ Iron Mountain Movement October 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

Love the pepper corer! Will be going shopping later today.


5 Carrie @ No More Tomorrows October 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

I got an idea for a soup the other day and created it. I was SO proud. Very simple but very yummy. As the weather is getting cooler (not yet for you I know. Sorry) I may start experimenting with some soups to see if I can find ONE to impress the man with.


6 Laura Georgina October 5, 2011 at 11:28 am

You really, REALLY can’t be doing this to me right now, with the yummy soups that make me pee a lot, while I’m all impressionable and constantly wanting Mexican food (and, this week, in possession of the vehicle to go get supplies whenever I see a recipe that NEEDS to be made thisverysecond)!

But, in all honesty, I can’t wait to make this, and may do this afternoon because it’s cool enough to not faint in the kitchen. And especially because I need more artfully-snuck-in red meat in my life these days.


7 Deva @ Deva by Definition October 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

This looks like the best tortilla soup ever. I am bookmarking this page so I can make the soup when I have all the ingredients, because YUM. Especially the balls.


8 cindylu October 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I thought this recipe was going to be similar to the Mexican albóndiga (meatball) soup, which I love. Here’s the recipe I used to make my soup on Monday: sopa de albóndigas. My mom never made us tortillas soup at home; I’ve only had it outside the house. However, I have eaten many soups withtortillas in hand.


9 Ella, RD October 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Ooo! I made the “Mexican Meatless Enchiladas” tonight from that same issue – lots of yummy things in it. I was considering making the same soup… but I’ve been trying to sneak meat-free meals into my husband’s diet lately. I’ll post about the enchiladas on my blog in the next week or so. Love me some Cooking Light, I’m always glad to see you do too :)


10 Amanda @ Click. The Good News October 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

That looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)


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