Which side dishes work best with Albondigas? With its hearty vegetable broth, this traditional Mexican meatball soup goes well with comforting starches, like tender cornbread, traditional red rice, or carb-friendly cauliflower rice. Mexican flavors like cilantro and lime are fresh and delicious in slaw and avocado salad.
Albondigas is a meal in a bowl containing meatballs, potatoes, and veggies, so the best side dishes need to be light and flavorful, complementing the meal. Let’s look at some ideas for delicious sides.
You can serve albondigas with plain tortillas, but making chicken tostadas is simple and makes a bowl of soup into a festive meal.
Heat vegetable oil and fry corn tortillas until crisp, about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Combine 1½ cups shredded cos lettuce, two cups of diced, cooked chicken, ⅓ cup grated cheese, 1 cup cooked black beans, and one small chopped red pepper. Toss with vinaigrette.
Serve the chicken mixture on the corn tortillas, and top with sour cream and salsa.
Although cornbread is American, not Mexican, this golden, tender bread works well with the hearty broth and meatballs.
Preheat the oven to a searing 450⁰F (230⁰C) and position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Grease a cast-iron skillet with bacon grease or shortening.
Whisk together 10 ounces of ground cornmeal, one tablespoon of sugar, one teaspoon of baking powder, one teaspoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of salt.
In another bowl, beat two eggs and two cups of buttermilk. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and mix until just blended.
Place the skillet in the oven and heat until the fat smoke. Pour in the batter and bake for 20 minutes until firm and golden.
Cheese Biscuit Ring
These delicious cheesy biscuits have a slight bite and light, floury centers ideal for dipping in soup.
Preheat the oven to very hot (450⁰F). Grease a flat baking sheet.
Sift together two cups of cake flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, salt, and a teaspoon of paprika. Stir in 1½ cups grated strong cheese and two teaspoons of mustard powder.
Whisk an egg with half a cup of milk. Combine the dry and wet ingredients to create a soft dough. Add a little more milk if necessary.
Knead the biscuit dough lightly and divide it into six pieces. Shape each piece into a roll and place the rolls together in a circle on the baking sheet, touching ends. Brush with milk.
Bake the biscuit ring for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes add a beautiful color and sweetness to the savory meatball soup. Baked fries are also lighter than those deep-fried in oil.
Preheat your oven to a hot 400⁰F (200⁰C).
Peel and slice three sweet potatoes into strips or wedges. Combine one teaspoon of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of paprika, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Place the slices of sweet potatoes in a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mix and toss to cover the fries.
Spread the sweet potato fries in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.
Meatball soup is often served alongside rice, which you can either eat separately or spoon into your soup.
Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then add a teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder and fry briefly. Add a cup of uncooked, long-grain white rice and fry gently for a couple of minutes.
Add 1½ cups of water or chicken broth and one can of tomato sauce. Bring the rice to a boil, cover, and simmer on medium to low until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
Cilantro And Lime Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower is an excellent option if you’re cutting down on carbs. This rice is flavorful but plain enough to contrast with the heartiness of the soup.
Grate or process a large cauliflower until it resembles rice. Heat a tablespoon of good olive oil over a low to medium heat. Add cauliflower and cook for 5-8 minutes, with seasoning. The cauliflower should be tender, not mushy.
Stir in half a cup of finely chopped cilantro and the juice of 1-2 limes.
This gratin is cheesy but not rich and full of healthy vegetables to go with the vegetable broth.
Preheat the oven to a moderate 360⁰F (190⁰C).
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan. Add one crushed clove of garlic and a pound of sliced zucchini. Fry gently for five minutes until the zucchini is crisp and tender.
Layer the zucchini in an ovenproof dish with alternate layers of sliced tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh oregano. Sprinkle with ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese and a cup of grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.
You can serve these sweet, tasty peppers hot or at room temperature, dolloping them on bread or into the soup. The peppers’ sweet richness adds to the broth’s lightness and goes well with beef meatballs.
Heat half a cup of good olive oil in a frying pan. Fry one clove of flattened garlic, then discard. Add six cored, seeded, and sliced red or yellow peppers to the fragrant oil.
Cook gently for five minutes. Add four large chopped tomatoes, the ripest you can find. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Garnish with parsley.
For a healthy midweek meal, serve the soup alongside a helping of crunchy, refreshing slaw.
For the dressing, mix six tablespoons of mayonnaise, the juice of two limes, four finely chopped green onions, one finely chopped jalapeno pepper, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk thoroughly.
Finely chop one small jicama, ¼ small red cabbage, and ¼ cup of cilantro. Combine with the dressing.
Avocado And Pimiento Salad
Avocado is a traditional side for most Mexican food, and this bright salad with its spicy dressing adds zest to the soup.
Whisk together three tablespoons of oil, two teaspoons of lime juice, a dash of mustard, a dash of Tabasco sauce, salt, and pepper.
Make a bed of lettuce leaves. Top with two sliced avocados, two canned pimientos, black olives, and freshly diced coriander. Drizzle over the spicy dressing and serve immediately.
Best Wine Pairings For Albondigas
Because albondigas is a traditional Mexican recipe, you will get many different versions of it, garnished in different ways. The garnish and veggie content will influence your choice of wine.
If your albondigas contains lots of beefy meatballs, a hearty tomato broth, and little to no garnish, go for a medium-bodied red wine, like a Portuguese Alto Douro. This spicy red stands up to tomato dishes, which are often quite acidic. Other good red wine choices are a light, fruity Cinsault or a Spanish Rioja, with berry, balsamic, and wood notes.
You’ll look to white wines if you’ve got albondigas made with turkey meatballs and green veg, like zucchini, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve this wine with avocado and a delightfully dry or medium-dry Riesling, Zinfandel or Chardonnay.
For the best of both worlds, choose a sparkly rosé, especially if your soup has lots of chili and spice.
Best Sauce And Garnish Pairings For Albondigas
Choose garnishes and sauces from the Mexican cuisine flavor profiles, as these mirror the flavors of the meatball soup.
Think about your usual taco stuffings and go that route:
- Grated cheese, especially Mexican cotija
- Tortilla chips or nachos
- Fresh chopped cilantro and mint
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Queso Fresca, a soft, creamy cheese
To make an authentic Mexican salsa, roast and peel 6-7 Anaheim chili peppers and 1-2 jalapeno peppers. Place your roasted peppers in a blender or food processor with ½ teaspoon of salt, three crushed garlic cloves, and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. Pulse or process quickly, leaving the salsa chunky.