For this week’s installment in the Cooking Light Ground Beef Series, our recipe is Tortilla Meatball Soup. I was excited to prepare this recipe because it sounded so delicious. This one takes a bit of time because there are several steps, so plan accordingly.

When I read through this recipe, I thought it would be an odd flavor pairing to have potatoes and carrots with chipotle spiked meatballs. I was surprised by how well all of the flavors worked together. The roasted corn and peppers tied it all together. Most of the flavor is in the meatballs and they are fabulous. They are smoky and spicy from the chipotle chile–yum! Ground beef doesn’t always lend itself well to soups, but meatballs are superb.

The final verdict? My family loved this soup. Loved it! My husband raved about it and the kids licked their bowls clean.


Tortilla Meatball Soup
Total time: 1 hour 30 min.
Serves 6


2 jalapeño peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 ears corn on the cob (or 2 C. frozen corn)
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into ½-inch thick strips
cooking spray
¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/3 C. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
1 T. olive oil
2 C. chopped onion
2 C. (3/4 inch) cubed red potatoes
1 C. (1/2 inch thick) slices carrot
3 C. fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 C. water
½ C. (2 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ C. (1 oz.) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
½ C. chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Cut jalapeños and bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange corn (either cobs or frozen kernels) on baking sheet with pepper. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until blackened, turning corn once. Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Mince jalapeños, and coarsely chop bell pepper. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Set aside.
  3. Place tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning after 2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Combine ¼ tsp. salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, and the next 3 ingredients (through chipotle chile) in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combined. With moist hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).
  5. Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs to pan; sauté for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 5 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add peppers, broth, and 2 C. water; bring to a boil Reduce heat; simmer 20 minute or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining ½ tsp. salt and corn; return to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done. Ladle 1 ½ cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 4 teaspoons Monterey Jack cheese, 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese, and 4 teaspoons cilantro. Top evenly with tortilla strips.