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Armenian Meatball Soup


Have I told you guys about how my husband being Armenian is an inside joke?

Leah Jodus-205

Well, he’s not Armenian, not even close. But on multiple instances, people have asked him if he’s Armenian. How random is that? (We may or may not have had to google Armenia to learn more about this country that happens to be next to Turkey, just in case you are curious.)

(Also, sidenote, I even looked in to doing Armenian cooking for Project Food Blog but decided I couldn’t find enough traditional recipes with ingredients I could get my hands on to justify a whole fancy meal and post so I ended up doing Turkey!)

SO anyway, when I saw Armenian Meatball Soup in my Foodbuzz inbox, I first, laughed my ass off at our inside joke, and second, bookmarked the recipe for the next week.


Armenian Meatball Soup


    1 cup #1 grade fine bulgur
    1 cup water, plus more as needed
    1 pound ground turkey
    1/2 small onion, minced
    1 T. kosher salt
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    2 tsp. paprika
    1 T. unsalted butter
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    6 cups water
    1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce or ground peeled tomatoes
    1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth or beef broth
    1 T. + 2 tsp. kosher salt
    1 tsp. black pepper
    1/4 tsp. paprika
    1/4 cup + 1 T. lemon juice
    1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 T. basmati rice
    1 T. dried mint leaves


Put the bulgur into a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup of the water. Mix and let the bulgur soak for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water and soak for another 5 minutes or so. Fill a small bowl with more water and place next to the mixing bowl. Add the turkey, onion, salt, pepper, and paprika to the bulgur, and mix well with your hands (you may need to wet your hands with the water in the bowl as you mix). Constantly wetting your hands, make little meatballs by rolling small bits of the mixture between your palms. They should be about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in diameter. Place the small meatballs on a tray or baking sheet until ready to cook. You will have about 130 meatballs. {Or 42 if you are like me and don’t really know how big an inch is.}

In a pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter, add the onion, and sauté until softened. Add the water, tomato sauce, broth, salt, pepper, and paprika and bring to a boil (raise the heat to high). Add the lemon juice and carefully drop the meatballs several at a time into the liquid, mixing in between additions to make sure the meatballs do not stick together. Add the chickpeas and rice, if desired. When the mixture comes back up to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through (they will plump up). Adjust the seasonings if needed, and add the dried mint just before removing from the heat. Serve immediately.



This soup packs a serious punch – it is super duper filling, full of protein, and low calorie but not low on flavor! It helps that I used ground turkey instead of beef.


And I loved that it was bulgur that held these guys together. (I’m not supposed to be eating bulgur since it’s wheat but I let it slide because we had it already and I hate wasting food.)


So apparently big balls are the only balls in my vocabulary. And I really thought I was doing well until I got about half way through the meat mix and realized, um, I’m nowhere near 130, like, not even kinda close to on track.


I know I have been really apprehensive about meatballs, but I couldn’t say “no” to this recipe and I’m glad that I didn’t. I really really enjoyed this meal and the boiling’-the-balls method worked really well. (But you didn’t get any crunch, obviously, if that’s your thing.)


The broth itself was a little too salty for my liking but other than that, the flavor was spot on. Honestly, I was nervous about the lack of spices but this soup was simple and wholesome.


If this is authentic Armenian cooking, I might have to start going along with Huz being Armenian, just so I have an excuse to make more!


Who am I kidding?! I don’t need an excuse!


4 Responses

  1. Haha, that’s funny … maybe he should become Armenian and you could move to Turkey? 😉 At least now you know the food would be great!

  2. Awesome post..love your photos, and recipe is must try! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  3. this is great. It looks so yummy and comforting.

  4. Bravo! I actually AM Armenian. Other than the lightness (?) of your husband’s eyes, yeah, he could be.

    Our family is from an area that now belongs to Turkey. If you want to really learn about the country, look up Armenian genocide. I say that because it’s hard to know where Armenian dishes end and Turkish dishes pick up. There’s a lot of overlap and sometimes the difference is just in the name, spelling or pronunciation.

    Anyhow, your soup is perfect. Reminds me of home. Great job!

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