INSTANT POT MEXICAN MEATBALL AND BARLEY SOUP

Have you ever fallen into a soup rut? I have. I’m guilty of making the same old soups over and over again in part because my tried and true soups are pretty darn delicious but also because I’m familiar with the recipes and very little creativity is necessary. The soup I’m about to share with you, however, does not fit into the category of my rut soups. In fact, this very soup has inspired me to put a bit more thought and creativity into the soups coming from my kitchen this winter. Like so many of my recent recipes, this one is an Instant Pot soup, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t be created on the stovetop, or even in a slow cooker. In any case, you should definitely pin this Instant Pot Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup recipe, or bookmark it for later. It’s really quite delicious.

This Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner. It's both hearty and flavorful. If you're looking for a new soup to add to your meal rotation, give this one a try. It's SO good.

Jeff and I were at Whole Foods doing our regular grocery shopping one afternoon a few weeks ago. It was too late in the afternoon to grab lunch at a restaurant but we were hungry enough to want a little something. The Whole Foods hot food bar came to the rescue. I chose a cup of corn chowder while he went with the Meatball and Rice Soup. I don’t eat beef, so I make it a point to avoid anything with the word ‘meat’ in the name when we’re out. He really enjoyed the soup, though, and so the inspiration for a new recipe was born.

This Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner. It's both hearty and flavorful and because it's made in the Instant Pot it's also quick and easy. If you're looking for a new soup to add to your meal rotation, give this one a try. It's SO good.

As with so many of the meals I create in my kitchen, this one features favored south of the border flavors. I opted to use turkey for the meatballs, but these are no ordinary meatballs. They get a kick of flavor from chopped green onions and salsa verde. Perhaps the biggest game changer, though, is that I use crushed tortilla chips to act as a binding ingredient that holds the meatballs together. It might seem like an odd choice at first, but I’m here to tell you that one bite of this Instant Pot Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup will make you a believer.

This Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner. It's both hearty and flavorful and because it's made in the Instant Pot it's also quick and easy. If you're looking for a new soup to add to your meal rotation, give this one a try. It's SO good.

The addition of barley adds amazing texture to each spoonful. Carrots, celery, tomatoes and potatoes play a supporting role, too, adding wholesome flavor in each and every scrumptious bite.

This Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner. It's both hearty and flavorful and because it's made in the Instant Pot it's also quick and easy. If you're looking for a new soup to add to your meal rotation, give this one a try. It's SO good.

When I first made this dish, I planned to garnish it with avocado. When I cut into my avocado that night, it was no good so we skipped it and as it turned out, I’m glad. There are already so many great textures and flavors in this dish that, in hindsight, the avocado may have detracted from. A light sprinkling of finely grated cotija and some fresh cilantro are all you need for an unforgettable bowl of Instant Pot Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup. If your soup game isn’t at its best right now, try this one. It will most definitely inspire you to break out of your soup rut.

INSTANT POT MEXICAN MEATBALL AND BARLEY SOUP

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 40 mins Total Time 50 mins
Serves 8     adjust servings


Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground turkey meat (not turkey breast)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 tablespoon salsa verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 small potatoes, diced (red or Yukon gold work well)
  • 3 carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 26 oz. container petite cut tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese, optional

Instructions

To make the meatballs:

  1. Combine ground turkey, egg, green onions, salt, crushed tortilla chips and salsa verde in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir well to mix.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring spoon, scoop the turkey mixture into your hands and gently roll it to form a ball. Do not overmix.
  3. Place the prepared meatballs on a plate and set aside.

To make the soup:

  1. Activate the saute function of the Instant Pot. When the digital screen indicates 'hot,' coat the bottom of the pan with the olive oil. Gently place the meatballs on the pot, one at a time. Allow the meatballs to brown on one side before flipping them. It should take roughly ten minutes for the meatballs to brown evenly on all sides. There is no need to drain, but you can if you'd like.
  2. When the meatballs are browned, turn the Instant Pot off while you prepare the rest of the soup. Add the celery, potatoes, carrots, barley, tomatoes, garlic, spices, cilantro and liquids to the pot. Using a spatula, gently scrape the bottom of the pan, turning the browned meatballs into the soup. If a few of the meatballs happen to break apart during this step, don't stress about it. The soup won't suffer in the least for it.
  3. Lock the Instant Pot lid into place and set the valve to the 'sealing' position. 
  4. Activate the 'soup' function and set the cooking time to 30 minutes. 
  5. When cooking is complete, allow the Instant Pot to naturally depressurize for three minutes. Move the valve to the 'venting' position. When the pin drops, unlock and remove the lid.
  6. Garnish the soup with cotija and chopped cilantro, if desired.
2 reviews
This Mexican Meatball and Barley Soup is perfect for a cold weather dinner. It's both hearty and flavorful. If you're looking for a new soup to add to your meal rotation, give this one a try. It's SO good.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 255kcal Calories from fat 50
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 454mg 19%
Carbohydrate 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 6g
Protein 20g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

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9 Replies to “INSTANT POT MEXICAN MEATBALL AND BARLEY SOUP”

  1. Made this for the family on Sunday and it was a hit all around. Ages 4-40-something gobbled it up and even had seconds. You can definitely taste the tortilla chips in the meatballs and it’s a super fun twist on a classic. We did use ground beef instead of turkey (I have texture issues with ground turkey) but otherwise followed recipe exactly. My meatballs didn’t fall apart, but it definitely wouldn’t matter if they did. We broke them into pieces as we ate the soup anyway. It’s a keeper! ❤️

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