Make a hearty and filling bowl, complete with quinoa meatballs. Orzo is a small rice-shaped pasta; if you can’t find it, use pearl couscous (often labeled Israeli couscous) or another small pasta shape. Excited to try this comforting and delicious Italian soup with meatballs?
For the quinoa meatballs:
- 1 cup of cooked diced potato (or sweet potato or squash)
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa (or buckwheat or short grain rice)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or ketchup)
- 1 teaspoon of dried herbs
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or 1/2 a teaspoon if using ketchup)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional)
- olive oil for preparing the baking sheet (optional)
For the Italian wedding soup:
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1/2 a chopped onion
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves minced (or 1/2 a teaspoon garlic powder )
- salt to taste
- 8 cups of water
- 1 cup of orzo (or pearled couscous)
- 1 tablespoon of dried herbs
- black pepper (freshly ground)
- 2 cups of chopped spinach (or kale or chard)
For the meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil or line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Smash the cooked potato in a bowl. Add the quinoa, tomato paste, dried herbs, salt, and nutritional yeast (if using). Toss to mix well. Form the mixture into about 20 balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, spaced slightly apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball and bake for 15 minutes more.
Transfer the meatballs to a large plate to cool.
For the Italian Soup:
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic (if using fresh), and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.
Add the water, orzo, and dried herbs (plus the garlic powder, if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the orzo is soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the meatballs and chopped greens to wilt. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.