Meatball and Bean Soup
- For The Soup
- 3tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 400ml passata
- 1tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
- 700ml vegetable stock
- 400g can haricot beans
- 100g kale, shredded
- For The Meatballs
- 250g pork mince
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 2tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- To Serve
- Grated parmesan
- For the Vegetarian Meatball
- 150g mushrooms
- 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1/2 small red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Juice of half a lemon
- Handful of chopped parsley
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup wholewheat breadcrumbs
- Sea salt
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan and gently cook the onion for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and carrots and cook for a further minute.
- Stir in the passata, sun-dried tomato paste and vegetable stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- At this stage, make your balls of choice.
- Add the meatballs to the soup mix along with the haricot beans and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the shredded kale and cook for just 2 – 3 minutes. Serve ladled into warm soup bowls, with grated Parmesan or vegetarian Italian style hard cheese.
For the Meatballs:
- Place the pork mince in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, parsley, egg yolk and a little seasoning then mix together well. Shape into small balls – the mixture will make about 32 balls.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs until golden.
For The Vegetarian Meatball Option:
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet and sauté the onion with a pinch of sea salt until translucent. Add the chopped mushrooms, pepper, garlic powder and oregano and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile put the chickpeas into a large bowl with the lemon juice and mash with a potato masher.
- Add the mushroom mixture, breadcrumbs and egg to the mashed chickpeas, then mix together. If you want to make vegan meatballs, use the vegan egg substitute instead of the egg to bind the mixture.
- Form the vegetarian meatballs with your hands, making them about the size of golf balls. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Place the veggie balls into the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes or so, until nicely golden and piping hot throughout. Serve hot on top of the finished soup.
- Chef’s Tip: Wet your hands a little or put a tiny bit of olive oil on them to stop the mixture sticking as you form the balls.