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3.34 from 6 votes

Southwestern Meatballs in Easy Adobo Sauce

These tender meatballs are made with tortilla chips that not only make them gluten-free and extra flavorful. While they bake in the oven, make an easy adobo sauce and serve with sliced avocados.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Keyword: family friendly, gluten free, meatball
Servings: 4
Calories: 393kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00


  • Food Processor
  • 9 x 13 Baking Dish
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Saucepan



  • ½ White Onion, minced
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 3 cups Whole Tortilla Chips
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Mexican Oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • ½ lb Lean Ground Beef
  • ½ lb Lean Ground Pork
  • 1 large Egg


  • 2 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • ½ Green Bell Pepper, minced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon Minced Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (from a small can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo)
  • 1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt, to taste

To serve:

  • Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below)
  • Sliced avocado


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the meatballs, in a food processor pulse the onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add the tortilla chips and pulse until the entire mixture is finely ground.
  • Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining meatball ingredients (through the egg). Mash with a fork or your hands until evenly combined. Form mixture into 1.5-inch balls, placing them in a 9x13 inch glass baking dish as you go. Bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes.
  • While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. (Make sure the saucepan is fairly large, as you’ll add the meatballs directly to the pan.) Add the onion and green pepper to the pan and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and chilis in adobo and sauté, stirring frequently, until the chilis begin to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat so that the mixture maintains a very low simmer until the meatballs come out of the oven. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and stir to coat. Remove from heat.
  • Serve immediately over cilantro-lime rice (recipe below) with avocado slices.


Meatball recipe adapted from Fresh Tart.


Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1420mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g