Last week, we had this delicious and hearty minestrone soup. It doesn’t take too long to make, and it’s full of healthy stuff like vegetables and beans.
To make this soup even better, I added some small meatballs – an all beef variation of my usual Italian meatball recipe – and I cooked them entirely in the soup to make things easier.
I used ditalin, but you could use any other small pasta you have on hand. Top it off with some vegan parmesan, or leave it as is, and you have a healthy, flavorful meal that’s perfect to warm you up this fall.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
This recipe calls for Panko breadcrumbs. If you’re eating dairy free, you’ll need to be careful and read labels because you might find hidden dairy in many mass produced breadcrumbs.
How to make minestrone soup with meatballs
Make the meatballs. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Gently mix the seasoning and breadcrumbs into the meat with your hands.
Once the meat is evenly mixed, form small meatballs and place them onto a baking sheet. Set aside or refrigerate until you’re ready to add them to the soup.
Sauté the celery, onion and carrot. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven to medium. Add olive oil and sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent. Stir frequently to prevent them from burning.
Add the tomatoes, liquids, and spices to the pot, and bring it to a boil. Once the soup is boiling add the meatballs and zucchini to the soup.
Simmer the soup. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165˚F.
Cook the pasta. Add the pasta to the pot and continue to cook until the pasta has reached al dente (based on package instructions). Add kidney beans and let the soup warm them up before serving.
FAQs and tips for making the best minestrone soup
Minestrone soup has pasta and beans (and in this case meatballs) in the soup. The broth also tends to be a bit thicker than vegetable soup broth.
You don’t need anything to go with it, it’s already a full meal, but I recommend a nice big salad or a loaf of crusty bread.
This soup should last about 4 days in the refrigerator, but the pasta will eventually soak up the liquid.
Yes. You can easily freeze this soup. Just be sure to leave enough room for expansion in whichever container you choose.
Make ahead tip: If you’re going to make this soup in advance, I recommend cooking and adding the pasta just before serving to avoid the broth soaking into the pasta.
More meatball recipes:
More pasta recipes:Print
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the minestrone:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup ditalini pasta
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
- Mix the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop and roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place on a cookie sheet or plate until ready to add to soup.
- Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot to medium-high. Add olive oil, and sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent – about 5 minutes – stirring as needed.
- Add the tomatoes, spices, and broth and bring to a boil.
- Gently add the meatballs to the soup, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and zucchini, and cook until tender (follow the pasta package directions).
- When pasta is al dente, add kidney beans and allow them to heat through before serving.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 208
- Sugar: 4.4 g
- Sodium: 526 mg
- Fat: 5.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Protein: 16.3 g
- Cholesterol: 38.1 mg
Keywords: dairy free, fall
Published: September 5, 2019. Updated: April 2, 2022.
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