While meatball soup can be traced back to ancient Persia, Spanish colonizers brought it to the Americas. In Honduras, this soup is made with chayote, tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini. Serve it with a salad for a full meal. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.

EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2021


Credit: Leigh Beisch

Recipe Summary





Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare meatballs: Combine beef, eggs, panko, oregano, cumin, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. 

  • Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a large saucepan over high heat. Form the beef mixture into 32 balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Add half the meatballs to the simmering water and cook for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. 

  • To prepare soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chayote (or summer squash), potato and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are coated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and their juice; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, zucchini, salt and the meatballs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.


To make ahead: Prepare through Step 2 and refrigerate meatballs for up to 1 day. 

Tip: Chayote squash are small, pear-shaped squash with a mild, sweet taste. To peel and seed them, cut a thin slice off each end and use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin. With a sharp knife, quarter the squash, then slice off the white center and the seed. If you can't find chayote, use summer squash instead.

Nutrition Facts

1 ⅔ cups
329 calories; fat 17g; cholesterol 113mg; sodium 585mg; carbohydrates 21g; dietary fiber 4g; protein 23g; sugars 6g; saturated fat 6g.