This hearty Tuscan soup is packed full of healthy and delicious ingredients, with the added bonus of juicy little meatballs in every bite. The classic Tuscan flavours are brought together in a delicious tomato broth. Crusty bread is a must!
This is the kind of recipe that can please everyone in your house, with all their differences of opinion, likes and dislikes. Say, if there is someone who likes to eat healthily and someone else who shuns the mere mention of healthy (not naming any names here). This recipe is able to appease both. Even with the kids – if they scream over the vegetables or the beans, just dish out some of the meatballs. Every kid loves meatballs, right? Its clean, fresh and healthy, yet still hearty and substantial with those yummy meatballs.
I think the meatballs are the best when they are made small, like a little juicy bite on your spoon. But of course you can make them as big, small or as mismatched as you like. I decided to add breadcrumbs to the meatball mixture – this ensures that they stay soft and pillowy, a little like the matzo balls in that amazing Jewish “penicillin” chicken soup. Check out this recipe I found for an amazing authentic Jewish Matzo Ball soup. It almost makes me want to come down with a cold so I can make that soup!
This Tuscan soup is also the type of food you could eat to feel restored. The chicken stock and can of tomatoes make a delicious broth that brings together all the other ingredients. It is very comforting. Comfort food doesn’t always have to consist of rich and heavy foods (although I love a good Cauliflower Cheese). Its nice when you eat comfort foods that do just the opposite and make you feel healthy and light. Saying that, this is no thin offering. My husband (the one who shuns ‘health food’) and I both felt very full after eating this. We couldn’t go back for seconds (that’s pretty rare).
- 500g / 1 lb ground pork, beef or lamb
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh and dried herbs of choice*
- 1 egg
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- pinch chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 2 medium brown onions, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 red capsicum (bell pepper), diced
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes, plus a can of water
- 1 can of cannellini beans
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- In a large bowl, place all ingredients for the meatballs and mix well.*
- Form into teaspoon sized balls, roll in your hands and set aside.
- Heat some oil in a large dutch oven pot and brown the meatballs on all sides until sealed. Its good to do 2 batches so the pan isn't overcrowded.
- Place the meatballs on a plate until later. Take a paper towel and wipe out most of the grease from the pot. No need to clean it though - leave the flavor for the soup.
- In the same dutch oven, add some more olive oil and brown the onions, carrot and celery until softened and sweet, about 10-15 minutes on low. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.
- Add the pepper, kale, tomatoes and water, salt and pepper and bring back up to the boil.
- Turn the heat to a simmer and add the meatballs. Cover and let cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beans and let warm through.
- Serve with grated parmesan on top.
2. I used the chopped stalks of cilantro (coriander), rosemary and oregano.