Photo: John Autry
Hands-on Time
43 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Serves 6

If you can't find fresh corn on the cob, substitute 2 cups frozen corn kernels, and broil them with peppers. After making this Tortilla Meatball Soup, you can use a few leftover chipotle chiles to spice up a pot of beans, rice, stews, or canola mayonnaise.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat broiler.

Step 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 on baking sheet with peppers. 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.

Step 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.

Step 4

Combine 1/4 teaspoon 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).

Step 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 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn; return to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done. Ladle 1 1/2 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.

Ratings & Reviews

Tasty but a lot of work

June 25, 2015
Too labor intensive for the finished product, though leftovers were better after the flavors melded a little.  Doubt I'd make this again though.

sanfran0117's Review

January 10, 2013
Very tasty. Substituted vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Added a can of tomato purée. Otherwise followed recipe. Delicious and would definitely make again!

mary327's Review

January 05, 2013

ChefInSR's Review

October 07, 2012
Amazing! I left out the panko and cilantro, because I did not have any. My corn came from a can, undrained. Since I am using up the last of the vegetables from the garden, I used Anaheim chilies (2) in place of the red bell pepper, and I used 7 jalapenos altogether. My meat was 90% lean ground beef. I don't like whole chunks of chipotle chili from the can, so when I open a can, I blend it all with its sauce and a little water. Then I freeze it, and when I need some, I use a knife to remove chunks. That way, none gets wasted. So I used about a teaspoon of the puree in the meat and added another 2 teaspoons to the broth along with a generous teaspoon of chili powder. Just right! Instead of all the water, I added 3 cups stewed tomatoes from my garden.This soup is good even without the toppings if you don't want the calories, but the cheese and baked tortilla take this to a whole new level. I baked the tortillas at 425 for 6 minutes, as I burned the first batch trying to broil them. Yummy!

Tomtes's Review

April 04, 2012
Solid recipe. I don't like a ton of heat and this has just the right amount. It needed a little more salt, but other than that I wouldn't change anything. The tortilla strips really make the soup! Don't try and shortcut by using tortilla chips.

mblozano's Review

January 18, 2012
I loved this recipe too. I didn't have jalapeno peppers or the chipotle chile so I used a small can of fire roasted whole green chilis. I also felt like the broth lacked a little flavor (maybe because of the switch in peppers) so I added a little more salt and some cumin (added that because I didn't have fresh cilantro on hand). I also added a little more broth (1c) as my family doesn't like thick soups. It turned out great!! The meatballs were delicious as well as the soup. I'm not a big fan of really spicey stuff so I might keep it this way. If you don't have corn on cob, I also used frozen sweet corn and that tasted great (I'm sure the broiled corn would have been good though.

Marciesrc's Review

January 03, 2012
I'm a foodie and I don't typically follow a recipe, but when I saw the picture on the cover at the airport I bought the issue!! I am now hooked on COOKING LIGHT!!!! Best magaizine I've ever picked up. However, I did change some things. We love HOT in my family, so I used the entire can of chipotle with adobo sauce. I poured the remaining adobo sauce into the broth mixture. I also baked the meatballs in the oven. Much better idea and cut a HUGE portion of fat from the dish. I also added a can of crushed tomatoes. Chili powder was also added. The last two items gave it more of a tortilla soup broth. Everyone loved it and I will make it again. Great twist to Tortilla and Albondigas Soup!!!

laegnome's Review

December 16, 2011
Delicious!! Very flavorful despite the relatively short cooking time. I made the recipe as written and loved it, but I also like some of the other reviewers' suggestions to add a can of tomatoes. I'll try that next time...and maybe throw a little chile powder into the broth as well. I might also try adding some extra potatoes, carrots and peppers to transform it into more of a stew. Will definitely be making again this winter!

DaisiRene's Review

December 11, 2011

GBShelbyMI's Review

December 06, 2011
Made for the first time this evening. Local store didn't have jalapeno peppers so we used Anaheim instead. Also, instead of the water I used a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice, and a can of Bush's Grilling Beans - Black Bean Fiesta flavor, since it has corn, peppers, and onions in a southwest sauce. Came out fantastic. My wife is hesitant to try new foods, but she loved it. We will definitely be making this again. I'd also like to try it with some stewed pork roast instead of the meatballs!