Lemon Basil Meatball Soup

Lemon Basil Meatball Soup from the Unprepared Kitchen

So by now my deep and abiding love of soup is probably obvious. So it should come as no surprise that I’m posting ANOTHER soup recipe! 

Lemon Basil Meatball Soup from the Unprepared Kitchen

One of the things I love best about old recipes that I use over and over again is that I become so familiar with them that it’s easy to come up with creative changes. One of my food quirks is that I’m always in search of something new to eat, whether it’s at a restaurant or at home. I’ll totally eat leftovers and I love going back to old favorites, but I get so excited to make a recipe I’ve never made before.

This can make cooking into a lot of work, which is one of the reasons I had the ideas for a meal plan system that used up all your leftovers by making them into a totally new dish. Brand-new recipe, a lot less work.

My mom’s Italian meatball recipe has been a family staple since I was little, and it’s absolutely delicious with a piece of bread soaked in milk, an egg, grated Parmesan cheese, dried Italian seasoning, and dried fennel seed. Over the years she’s tweaked it to make it gluten- and dairy-free, and even to make a Mediterranean version with ground cloves.

I feel like ground beef is one of those things you can only do so much with. (I’d love to be proven wrong, by the way!) But it’s inexpensive compared to steak, and it goes a long way. I came up with this meatball recipe when I was in the mood for a new taste but didn’t have a lot of inspiration. It came out of a combination of a recipe for Greek Lemon Vegetable Soup that I love and my mom’s meatballs. I added the Greek flavors to the meatballs, and voila! Lemon basil. 

You can used boxed broth, but homemade beef bone stock is perfect in this recipe. Nourishing Traditions cookbook has a great recipe. Basically you roast the meatier beef bones and then bring to a boil with onions, carrots, and celery in a pot of water, skimming the scum. Reduce heat and add thyme and peppercorns. They recommend simmering at least 12 hours and up to 72.

Also, as usual, pretty much any vegetables you like will work. I would have added green beans to this recipe, but I didn’t have any. Zucchini would also be delicious. You can leave out the potatoes and serve over rice or pasta if you want more of a minestrone result. I think turnips would be absolutely delicious in here as well.

Lemon Basil Meatball Soup
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  1. 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  2. 1 tsp dried minced onion
  3. 1 tsp dried basil
  4. Zest of 1 lemon
  5. 3/4 tsp sea salt
  6. 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  1. 1 medium yellow onion
  2. 3 stalks celery
  3. 4-5 cloves garlic
  4. 4 cups broth
  5. 1 cup diced or puréed tomatoes
  6. 4 carrots
  7. 3–4 red potatoes
  8. 1/2 medium head cabbage
  9. 1 fennel bulb
  10. 1 dried bay leaf
  11. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  12. Fresh basil
  13. Fresh parsley
  14. 3 cups chopped chard leaves
  1. Mix together ingredients for meatballs. Chop onion and celery and sauté in a stockpot in coconut oil on medium heat. Dice garlic and allow to sit 5 minutes: add to pot and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Chop potatoes and carrots and add, along with bay leaf, reducing to a simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Chop fennel and cabbage and add along with 1-2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and cook 5-10 minutes more.
  2. Serve over chopped chard leaves and top with fresh chopped basil and parsley.
The Unprepared Kitchen https://theunpreparedkitchen.com/
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