Persian Meatball Soup Recipe

This hearty and delicious meatball soup is thickened with brown rice and flavored with sweet tangy apricots, shallots, and fragrant herbs. The topping of creamy yogurt and freshly chopped mint and tarragon, takes it from delicious to divine!

4.3 from 3 reviews

A warming hearty soup with brown rice and meatballs and vibrant flavors of apricots and fresh herbs.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (34 medium shallots)
  • 1 cup raw brown rice, rinsed and drained (or substitute 1 cup farro or 1 cup wheat berries)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried apricots – about 2 dozen – each apricot sliced in half. (My favorite are the organic unsulphured apricots)
  • 8 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more, to taste
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated on a box grater
  • 3/4 pound yellow flesh potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 small potatoes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves


  1. Start The Soup: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until they soften. Add the rice and toss it around in the pot until all the grains are well-coated with oil. Add the apricots and 5 cups of chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, at a strong simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Shape and cook the meatballs: While the soup is simmering mix the ground beef with the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Roll into small (1-inch) balls. (30-32 meatballs) Spread a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a large skillet and set the heat to medium-high. Brown the meatballs on all sides, 4-5 minutes total.
  3. Finish The Soup: Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the meatballs, potatoes, remaining 3 cups of broth, dried thyme (1 teaspoon), dried mint (1 teaspoon), and salt (1 teaspoon). Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes longer, or until the rice and potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. To Serve: Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt and a heaping teaspoon of each of fresh herbs.

Keywords: meatball soup, Persian meatball soup