This recipe is packed with protein and veggies that your kids won’t even realize are there while they are scarfing it down. I added carrots and mushrooms along with the onions and garlic to the meatballs to sneak in some extra nutrition. I find that instead of taking away treats when trying to be healthier, just add more and more of the good stuff and eventually you crowd out the unhealthy foods. For the meat I use whatever I am able to find that is the most local/or organic/ethical option.
This was the soup that converted my husband. He was not a fan of soup, like weirdly opposed to eating soup. The problem was that I was raised on healthy and hearty Italian-American home cooked delicious soups and I had every intention on keeping that tradition going. So when I made this one for him in the early years of our marriage he approached it cautiously optimistic as he is a fan of meatballs. Even though I pack this soup with veggies and of course lots of spinach he absolutely loves it and even now requests it!
Small cookie scoop (optional)
Sheet tray with parchment paper
1.5-2lb grass-fed ground beef (use turkey, chicken or pork if you prefer)
1c bread crumbs
4-5 cremini mushrooms, finely diced or minced
1 small onion, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 beaten egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4c organic whole milk
1/2c Pecorino Romano, grated
1/2c Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
handful parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, mix until incorporated. Make a test patty to check for seasoning before shaping all of the balls.*
2. Using a small scoop or a rounded teaspoon place the balls on the parchment lined sheet pan and bake at 400* for about 30 minutes until they are golden, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time.
*If you would like, sometimes I cook the vegetables before adding them to the meat. In a large sauté pan, 1T olive oil add the onion, mushrooms, carrots and garlic. Cook until soft and allow to cool before adding to the meat and mix. Just a different experience if I have a few extra minutes I like to do it this way.
Large stock pot
2T olive oil
1 medium onion diced
3 carrots diced
3 celery stalks diced
12c your favorite stock (I used chicken)
1/2c white wine
1c Pastina or other small pasta
11 oz baby spinach
1. Heat the olive oil in your stock pot, add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until soft.
2. Add the wine and let cook down by about 1/2. Then add the stock, bring to a boil, add the pasta and cook until almost al dente.
3. Add the meatballs and the spinach and simmer another couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic bread if desired!
If your kids are meatball fans like most that I know this is a great way to pack lots of veggies into their next meatball night. I hope you enjoy it with those you love! Let me know in the comments 🙂