How do you make soup into a meal? Simple… you add meatballs into the pot. Everyone’s favorite Minestrone soup gets more wholesome and comforting by adding these plump chicken meatballs.
This bowl of Meatball Minestrone Soup is a huge upgrade over the famous Olive Garden Minestrone soup. It retains the rich classic Italian flavors jam packed with veggies, beans and pasta in heavily seasoned tomato broth.
And then you get to bite into delicious parmesan flavored chicken meatballs. All good… so, so good. Try making your all time Italian classic soup with meatballs. You might never go back to the plain veggie version again...
Whatever the time of the year, a GIANT pot of soup is always welcome at the Beisers’. From our Creamy Tortellini Soup, to classic Ribollita and Zuppa Toscana and Fasolada. Even Asian bowls like Egg Roll Soup and Korean Pork Soup, we can gobble up one bowl after another.
We wanted to really reinvent and give a fresh breath of life to ordinary minestrone soup out of a can. Any homemade soup that simmers slow and low with an abundance of ingredients and seasonings turns out way superior and delicious than any store bought soup.
You Will Love this Meatball Minestrone Soup, cos
- It’s super hearty and wholesome with the most incredibly seasoned tomatoee broth.
- It’s a one pot complete meal in itself. Hooray!
- Highly customizable with seasonal vegetables and regular pantry ingredients. (Check out all the variations at the end of the post)
- Budget friendly and can feed a crowd.
- Very nutritious and well balanced meal.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Chances of you digging into a bowl of Minestrone is pretty high if you frequent Olive Garden. It’s an Italian classic packed with vegetables, pasta, some kind of beans, and tomatoes in a richly seasoned tomato broth.
The word “Minestrone” comes from the word minestra, which is Italian for “soup”, and more specifically a soup that’s filled with a mix of vegetables, beans, and sometimes pasta.
Any seasonal vegetable can find its way into the pot. Originated as frugal country dish of Italian peasants, this Italian classic has come a long ways spreading all over the world.
There are hundreds of possible versions depending on what veggies or type of pasta, or even rice, and different kinds of beans. Traditionally, it’s a meatless soup, but is still hearty with the help of beans and robust pasta.
We decided to add some protein to the classic flavors of Minestrone and got immediately hooked. We tried ground chicken meatballs, but you can use the same recipe with ground turkey, ground beef or even ground pork meatballs.
You can even skip meatballs and try sausage instead. All sounds extremely delicious…
Here is What You Need for Our Meatball Minestrone Soup
For Chicken Meatballs
- Ground chicken
- Binders – breadcrumbs, eggs, parmesan cheese
- Seasonings – dried basil, garlic, salt and pepper
For the Soup
- Veggies – onion, carrots, celery, zucchini
- Beans – kidney beans, cannelloni beans
- Pasta – we used ditalini pasta (look like dainty little tubes), but you can use any other smaller shaped pasta like orechettie, mini shells or even macaroni
- Herbs and Spices – thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, red chili flakes
- Flavor Enhancers – garlic, chicken stock, canned tomatoes, salt, parmesan rind
- Garnishings – red chili flakes, fresh parsley
How to Make Meatball Minestrone Soup
I’m going to give you the biggest secret to making that most amazing pot of soup. It’s using plenty of ingredients and seasonings. Your pot is not half as tasty if you use just a teaspoon or two of the herbs or seasoning.
I always say, add in more flavors to get more flavors. That’s why GypsyPlate recipes are way different than the rest. You will find a much bigger percentage of seasonings and herbs and overall ingredients that go in any pot.
Find the detailed instructions and exact ingredients in the recipe card in the end of this post. Saying that, let’s start this soup…
Start by making meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients and roll them into large sized spheres. We love big, plump meatballs floating in our soup bowl. Refrigerate them for some time while you prep the rest of the soup.
Heat oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot and sauté onion, carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add canned tomatoes along with all the herbs, salt and chili flakes. Simmer for 5-8 minutes. Stir in chicken stock along with drained beans, parmesan cheese rind and simmer for 15 minutes.
Always save your cheese rinds instead of throwing them away. They’re one of the best Italian secret flavor enhancers for their pots of stew and soup. It gives tons of delicious flavors to this minestrone soup. Most of the rind will melt away while cooking, and you discard whatever is left before serving.
Time to add chicken meatballs and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add pasta and zucchini and cook till pasta is tender to your preference. We cook it for 12-13 minutes.
Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with parsley and chili flakes.
Variations of Minestrone Soup
- Use any vegetables available in your kitchen. Try green beans, yellow squash, bell peppers, spinach, Swiss chard or mushrooms. Some people even add potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- Use other pasta shapes like orzo, shells or couscous.
- Try meatballs with other ground meats like turkey, ground beef or pork. Try Italian sausage or pancetta. You can add your favorite pre-made frozen or refrigerated meatballs to save some time.
- Use the same recipe minus the meatballs for classic Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup.
Can I Make Crockpot Meatball Minestrone Soup?
Yes, you can. All you need to do is make the meatballs and throw all of the ingredients, except pasta and zucchini, into the crockpot. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
The meatballs should have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees when fully cooked. Add zucchini and pasta to the crockpot 40-45 minutes before serving.
Storing Leftover Minestrone Soup
Refrigerate leftover Minestrone soup in a covered container for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove.
Freeze portions in airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw in a pot on low heat until ready to serve. If it’s getting thick over time, you can always add cup or two of chicken stock while reheating the soup.
Try our Meatball Minestrone Soup tonight, and marvel at the simple hack of making your already favorite soup into an absolute treat. Make it for your friends and family and show them how genius you are for thinking to add some meatballs to everyone’s favorite Italian Soup.
Meatball Minestrone Soup, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1.5 lbs ground chicken
- 3/8 cup breadcrumbs
- 3/8 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 large eggs
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans
- 1 15 oz can cannelloni beans
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 inch parmesan cheese rind
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 3/4 cup ditalini pasta
- salt to taste
- fresh parsley to garnish
- Combine all the meatball ingredients and roll them in large sized meatballs. Refrigerate till they go in the soup pot.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot and sauté onion, carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes.
- Add in garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in canned tomatoes along with all the herbs, salt and chili flakes and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock along with drained beans, parmesan cheese rind and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add in chicken meatballs and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Add pasta and zucchini and cook till pasta is tender to your preference. We cook it for 12-13 minutes.
- Discard any remaining cheese rind. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and chili flakes.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients and roll them in large sized meatballs.
- Mix all ingredients, except pasta and zucchini, in the crock pot. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
- Add zucchini and pasta to the crockpot for the final 40-45 minutes of cooking time.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Instead of Individual powdered herbs, you can use Italian seasoning blend. You can even use fresh herbs instead of powdered. Use 1 tbsp or more each of the freshely chopped fresh herbs.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 498Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 124mgSodium 948mgCarbohydrates 46gFiber 10gSugar 10gProtein 39g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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