kaleh gonjeeshki – Persian meatball and potato soup

kaleh gonjeeshki - persian meatball and potato soup

Kaleh Gonjeeshki is a Persian meatball and potato soup, simply flavored with tomato paste, turmeric, beef and potatoes. 

Growing up in an Iranian home this was our version of Chicken Noodle Soup, simmering on the stove anytime we had a cold. My mom always kept one pound portions of ground beef in the freezer and our house was always stocked with onions and potatoes. Should me or my siblings simply hint at a sniffle, maman would defrost the beef and whip up a comforting pot of Kaleh Gonjeeshki. 

kaleh gonjeeshki - persian meatball and potato soup
Add soft boiled eggs to leftovers for a hearty breakfast soup!

Diced onions are slightly caramelized and layered with rich tomato paste. The tomato paste cooks with turmeric, mellowing the acidity and adding lots of savory flavor to the dish. The seasoned meatballs are cooked right in the broth, lending their beefy-goodness to the entire soup. To top it all off, chunks of potatoes cook in the soup, releasing starch to create a surprising luxurious broth. The end result is a hearty, flavorful soup. Slightly meaty, perfectly salty, with a tang of acid from the tomatoes – kaleh gonjishki is the new chicken soup and it’s delicious whether you’re healthy or feeling under the weather. 

kaleh gonjeeshki - persian meatball and potato soup
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Give this recipe a try and add an exotic twist to your standard “get-well-soon” soup recipe!

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kaleh gonjeeshki - persian meatball and potato soup

kaleh gonjeeshki – Persian meatball and potato soup

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  • Author: Sepideh Campos


Persian meatball and potato soup. 


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • kosher salt 
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1, 28-ounce can san marzano plum tomatoes
  • ½ pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes 
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt, optional 


  1. Break the ground beef up into small pieces and place in a large bowl, set aside. 
  2. Cut the onion in half. Dice half of the onion in a small bowl. 
  3. Cut the remaining half of the onion again, creating 2 wedges. Dice 1 onion wedge and add it to the rest of the diced onion. 
  4. Grate the remaining onion wedge, using the large holes of a cheese grater, and add the grated onion to the bowl of ground beef. 
  5. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and garlic powder over the ground beef mixture. Mix the beef, seasonings, and onion together with clean hands until fully combined.  
  6. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. 
  7. Add the diced onion and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook over medium heat until translucent and starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. 
  8. If the bottom of the pot is turning dark, deglaze the pan with a little bit of water. 
  9. Add the tomato paste to the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the paste turns dark red, 3-5 minutes. 
  10. Add the turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  11. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes to the pot. Use a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes up a bit. 
  12. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium high heat. 
  13. While the liquid is coming up to heat, roll the meat into small meatballs (about 2 tablespoons worth of meat per ball). 
  14. Gently place the meatballs into the simmering broth. 
  15. Simmer for 20 minutes over low heat. 
  16. Add the potatoes to the simmering broth, cook uncovered until the potatoes are cooked (a fork should easily pierce the potato flesh), 20-30 minutes. 
  17. Taste the broth and add more kosher salt if desired. 
  18. Serve with fresh parsley leaves and a dollop of plain greek yogurt. 
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