Aren’t meatballs fun? There are so many options as far as which ground meat to use: beef, pork, veal (or a combo of all three), turkey, and finally chicken, as in this healthy soup recipe. And size is another matter because you can make mini, medium, large or colossal, and serve them as appetizers, in soups, with pasta, as a side, in casseroles, as sliders on buns, or the ever-popular meatball sandwich… the options are limitless. Below are links to over a dozen more meatball recipes.
Here, we’ll concentrate on soup which we know can require a fair amount of prep in chopping all of the veggies, and with the addition of forming meatballs it’ll take about 30 minutes of your time in total. The slow-cooker does all the rest for the next two and a half hours, so your free to indulge in other pursuits.
However, don’t skip cooking the onions for the meatballs. This step softens the onions so they more easily add their sweet flavor to the meatball mixture. And as always, use homemade chicken stock if at all possible for the most flavor. I really think it would be too bland if you use canned or boxed store-bought broth. A few other changes we made included slightly increasing the amounts of most vegetables.
Plan on feeding 4 as an entrée or 6 as a first course.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable & Chicken Meatball Soup
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 4 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- ⅓ cup panko
- 2 ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
- Grated parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
- Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Remove 1/2 cup of the cooked onion mixture, and place in a medium bowl; set aside. Transfer the remaining onion mixture to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
- Add the diced tomatoes and stir up the browned bits to the pan to deglaze. Stir the stock, carrots, zucchini, green beans, and celery into the slow cooker.
- Add the chicken, panko, 1/2 tablespoon of the parsley, and 1 teaspoon of the oregano to the reserved 1/2 cup onion mixture in the bowl; stir gently with a fork to combine.
- Shape the chicken mixture into 18 (1 1/4-inch) meatballs. Carefully submerge the meatballs into the chicken stock mixture in the slow cooker without stirring.
- Cover and cook on HIGH until the meatballs are done and the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 1 teaspoon oregano. Ladle the soup into bowls and top some grated cheese, if desired. And if you’re not counting carbs, serve hot crusty bread too.
Adapted from a recipe found on EatingWell.com
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