My daughter Rebecca said that this is the best soup I’ve ever made.
It’s one of those simple recipes where the ingredients come together, complement each other, and the result is more delicious than you might have thought. The little meatballs are satisfying, fun, and delicious.
It’s pretty quick to make. The most time consuming part is shaping the meatballs. Don’t give in to the temptation to make the meatballs bigger to save time. They are more tender and enjoyable smaller. Yes, I’ve done it and then regretted it.
Other vegetables may be added or substituted, depending on what needs using up and what you like. Just cut them up into the size pieces that you’d like to find on your spoon. Vegetables that take longer to cook get added to the pot first. String beans, kohlrabi, and kale are a few examples of vegetables that would also taste good.
The fresh chopped basil garnish makes a difference, so put it in if you can.
- For the Meatballs: makes about 48 1" meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken breasts (may also use turkey)
- 3/4 cup almond flour (also called almond meal)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving at the table
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped (note: soup needs 2 additional chopped garlic cloves so chop all garlic together...it's easier)
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (try for chives since they taste better, if you can't find them you may substitute white and light green part of green onions or shallots)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black ground pepper
- For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoon salted or unsalted butter
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
- 3 medium carrots sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 7 cups Homemade Chicken Broth or the best quality broth you can find
- 1/2 small cauliflower (total cauliflower weight about 1 1/2 pounds) cut into small florets
- 1 large yellow squash, diced
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2" lengths, tips kept whole
- 1/4 pound baby spinach leaves, washed (if using regular spinach, use double the amount because you lose about half when stemming)
- Chopped fresh basil (about 15 leaves)
- Make the Meatballs:
- Place the oven rack in the upper half of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Mix all ingredients for meatballs together in a medium bowl. Scoop 2 level teaspoons of mixture and form into about 1" diameter meatballs. Only measure once, as a guide, and just eyeball the rest. Makes about 48 meatballs. Place meatballs on baking sheet. They may be placed close together - about 1/4" to 1/2" apart.
- Bake the meatballs until fully cooked through, about 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and reserve.
- Make the Soup:
- Start the soup while the meatballs are cooking.
- In a large pot heat butter on medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring so onion doesn't brown, until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook for an additional minute. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add broth, cauliflower, yellow squash, zucchini, and salt. Bring to a boil, turn heat down immediately to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are just softened, about 12-14 minutes.
- Add asparagus and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until asparagus are just tender and spinach is wilted. Taste and add more salt if required.
- Ladel soup into bowls, add 5-6 meatballs to each bowl, and top with a little chopped basil. Serve immediately with grated parmesan on the side.
- Alternately, put soup into a serving bowl, add all meatballs to soup, sprinkle basil on top, and serve the soup at the table.
- Make ahead: Soup and meatballs may be made ahead the same day. Refrigerate soup and meatballs separately until ready to serve. Reheat the meatballs by baking at 300° until just warm. Gently reheat the soup on the stovetop.