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Meatball Minestrone

The credit for this fabulous and filling soup goes to someone who posted it on the Internet years ago. I can't trace its origin, but thanks Ron, wherever you are. This recipe is a gem that's warmed up my family on many cold nights.

  • 8-10 ServingsServings


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, tahwed
  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dry Italian-style bread crumbs or flavored dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cup or 64 ounces beef broth (can use 4 beef bouillon cubes in 8 cups water)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with its liquid
  • 1 (1-pound) can red kidney beans, with its liquid
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 cup elbow or rotini pasta, uncooked


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Squeeze the water out of the spinach.  Place it in a large bowl and add the ground beef, eggs, salt, bread crumbs, and pepper.  Knead and mix together.  Shape into 1-inch meatballs.

Pour the olive oil directly onto a cookie sheet; do not line with tin foil, you will want to be able to scrape the surface later.  Place the meatballs on the oiled cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the sheet; set aside.  Using a metal spatula or spoon, scrape the drippings and oil form the cookie sheet into a soup pot.

Saute the onion in these drippings over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until the onion gets soft, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the broth, tomatoes with their liquid, kidney beans with their liquid, oregano and basil.  Cover.  Reduce the heat. You want it to simmer for 10 minutes but not reach a full boil.

Add the carrots, celery, and the garlic.  Cover and simmer another 10 minutes.  Stir in the pasta.  Re-cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Stir once or twice to make sure the pasta is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Place the meatballs into the soup and heat through.  If you are making this soup in advance, some of the liquid may get soaked up into the meatballs and pasta.  If this happens, just add another cup or two of beef broth when reheating.