Minestrone Soup That Has It All
While I hate to leave summer behind, and I won’t give into pumpkin spice season for a few more days at least, I am excited about soup season. And this meatball minestrone soup is a great addition to your soup season line-up.
It’s got it all: tons of veggies, delicious (adorably small) meatballs, and pasta. The veggies make it really healthy, while the meatballs and pasta help create a satisfying meal. This is a fantastic healthy dinner recipe. But also consider meatball minestrone soup when meal prepping–this soup recipe can fill a lunch box for a week!
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How to Prep Your Veggies for Soup
This minestrone soup recipe is very easy, but a few notes on how I like to prepare it. First, dice the veggies nice and small. I like about 1/4-inch pieces. This is so that you can fit more stuff on your spoon at once and always have the perfect bite. Cutting the veggies small also allows this soup to cook fairly quickly. Think about the size of a frozen pea and cut your veggies to about that size.
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When considering the pasta, also consider its size and use something on the small size; I like the small, tube-shaped pasta, ditalini. Small elbows, tubetti, or orzo are also good options. I also cook the pasta separately from the soup. And, if there are leftovers, store it separately, too. This ensures the pasta doesn’t soak up all of the broth.
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About Those Meatballs
Finally, this recipe makes about 35 small meatballs. I think it’s a good amount for the recipe–about 6 meatballs per serving. But if you are trying to reduce your meat consumption–or just want a head start on another meal– freeze a third or half of the meatballs after you roll them. To freeze, first place on a small plate or quarter sheet pan in the freezer. Once the meatballs are fully frozen, transfer to a zip top bag and place back in the freezer for another meal.
Meatball Minestrone Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ medium onion diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 medium carrot diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 large red bell pepper diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 medium zucchini diced small, ~¼-inch
- 1 medium summer squash diced small, ~¼-inch
- 6 oz green beans trimmed and chopped into small pieces, ~¼-inch
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes add more if you like more spice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 28 oz canned, diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ lb small pasta cooked and drained
- kosher salt
- fresh basil leaves optional, for garnish
- parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino romano cheese optional, for garnish; grated
- ¼ medium onion minced finely
- 2 cloves garlic minced finely or grated with a microplane grater
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ cup milk
- ⅓ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 whole egg
- 1 lb ground beef
- Place a 6-8 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pot and the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften and the onion starts to become translucent. Stir occasionally.Add the zucchini, summer squash, and green beans to the pot with ½ tbsp kosher salt. Cook for another 3 minutes until the second round of vegetables begin to soften. Stir occasionallyAdd the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Cook for another minute stirring to incorporate the herbs into the rest of the vegetables.
- Add the diced tomatoes with all of the juices in the can and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, make the meatballs. In a medium bowl, whisk together the onion, garlic, oregano, basil, kosher salt, black pepper, milk, egg, and bread crumbs. Whisk until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture looks like a thick paste.Add the ground beef and use your hands to gently mix the ground beef into the paste. You want the ground beef and bread crumb mixture to be well-combined but do this as gently as possible. Once mixed, use a tablespoon sized disher scoop (or just a tablespoon) to portion the meatball mixture. And then roll into balls. This is also a good time to get your pasta water boiling.
- After 15-minutes of cooking, uncover the soup and drop the meatballs into the broth. Stir very gently to make sure the meatballs don't get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for another 15-minutes. Stir occasionally.This is a good time to cook your pasta.
- After poaching the meatballs, taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup in a bowl with ½ cup of cooked pasta. Garnish with fresh basil and grated cheese which are optional but very much recommended.
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