This is a Mexican soup made with meatballs (albondigas) and vegetables. Most broth based soups are characteristically healthy, but I went a step further using lean ground turkey and a scarce amount of olive oil. Another personal spin on the soup was to add pureed black beans and cooked brown rice to the meatballs. The addition keeps them moist and flavorful (and added bonus gluten-free). Also, beans and rice are inexpensive ingredients that “stretch” more costly items like lean ground turkey or beef. And that friends is healthy (and financial – my husband would be so proud) tip #8, this glorious month of dish transformations.
I infused the broth with whole dried chili peppers, but born and raised in a small Midwest town has taught me not all pantry items are readily accessible to home cooks in some areas, so I included substitutions below (or peppers could be ordered online).
The nutrient difference on this healthy recreation wasn’t as drastic, but I did manage to shave off a few extra calories and cut over half the grams of fat with my redo.
Enjoy this one with your friends and family – it’s a keeper! And easily adaptable to your slow cooker too. Even better leftover the next day. Make it a meal with reduced-fat corn tortilla chips and my black-bean mango salsa.
• 1 lb LEAN GROUND TURKEY, 93/7*
• 2 cloves GARLIC, grated
• 1 EGG, large
• 1/4 cup ONION, finely chopped
• 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 3/4 cup BLACK BEANS, rinsed & drained
• 3/4 cup BROWN RICE, COOKED, (leftover or made ahead)
• 3/4 tsp SALT, SEA
• 1/4 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
• 1 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
• 3/4 tsp OREGANO, dried
• 2 tbsp FRESH CILANTRO, chopped
• 3/4 cup ONION, chopped
• 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
• 28 oz CRUSHED TOMATOES, canned
• 3 cloves GARLIC, minced
• 1 tsp OREGANO, dried
• 3 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
• 1 tsp CHILI POWDER
• 6 cups CHICKEN BROTH, LOWER SODIUM*
• 2 cups WATER
• 2 DRIED WHOLE PASILLO-ANCHO CHILI PEPPERS**
• 6 DRIED WHOLE GUAJILLO CHILI PEPPERS**
• 3 cups GREEN BEANS, frozen or fresh
• 2 cups CARROTS, chopped
• 2 cups CORN, frozen
• 1 ANAHEIM CHILE PEPPER, chopped (or Green Bell Pepper)
• SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
*Gluten free option: Use gluten free chicken broth and 100% pure lean ground turkey (no added wheat based stabilizers or preservatives)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. For the meatballs: puree 3/4 c. black beans with 1-2 tsp water in a small chopper, food processor or blender (pulse about 30 seconds). In a large bowl combine 1 egg (lightly beaten), 2 cloves grated garlic, 1 t. olive oil, 3/4 c. cooked brown rice, pureed black beans, 3/4 t. salt, 2 T. fresh chopped cilantro, 1/4 t. pepper, 1/4 c. onion, 1 t. cumin and 3/4 t. dried oregano. Add ground turkey and mix together with hands just until incorporated (be careful not over mix or meat will become tough). Form meat mixture into 24, about 1-inch meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, sauté 1/2 chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 c. carrots in 1 tsp olive oil for a few minutes until softened. Add 1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. chili powder, 3 t. ground cumin, 6 c. low sodium chicken broth, 2 c. water, 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes and 8 whole dried peppers**
Bring soup to a low boil. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until peppers infuse desired amount of flavor into the broth.
4. Remove dried peppers and add 3 c. frozen or fresh green beans, 2 c. frozen corn, chopped Anaheim chile pepper (or green pepper) and cooked meatballs. Simmer on medium low at least until vegetables are heated through. Taste and season with salt, pepper and additional spices to taste. Garnish soup with fresh chopped cilantro. Serving size: about 2 cups soup with 2 1/2 meatballs.
**If unable to find dried whole peppers just omit (may need to add more spices) or puree 2 or 3 (or to taste) canned chipotle peppers in adobo and add to broth.
VARIATIONS: Add or substitute other favorite vegetables or use lean ground beef or chicken for turkey
NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING: 200 calories, 4.5g fat, 0g sat fat, 50mg cholesterol, 25g carb, 6g fiber, 8g sugar, 15g protein