Easy, delicious and hearty enough for dinner, this meatball soup is made easy starting with store-bought fully cooked meatballs. Slow cooker option, too!
During the busy holiday season, it’s always great to have easy dishes like this Easy Italian Meatball Soup up your sleeve. It is the perfect combination of easy, delicious, vegetable rich, hearty, comforting and warm.
I love all the little parts that go in to this soup – meatballs, vegetables, greens and pasta, all in a tomato flavoured broth. It’s a great combination of flavours and textures! Serve with garlic bread for an easy and delicious dinner!
Carrots. It is always really disappointing when you make a dish like this and upon first spoonful, discover that the carrots aren’t cooked through. You can avoid that by cutting your carrots into small pieces and taste testing your carrots for done-ness, before adding the pasta to this soup. Keep simmering until they are tender, then add the pasta to finish.
If you want to up the fibre quotient, some white or red kidney beans would not be out of place in this soup.
Like some heat with your warm soup? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you are sautéing the vegetables.
If you have leftovers, you will find that the pasta will continue to soak up liquid from the soup, resulting in a thick soup. It will thin slightly with re-heating. If you need to thin further, add a bit more chicken stock or water.
Be sure to season well with salt and pepper, as needed, to really bring the flavours together.
I made my soup with frozen, store-bought, fully cooked Italian meatballs. Look for them in with the frozen meats at your grocer (President’s Choice in Canada has some nice ones!). You can also start with store-bought fresh/ready-made Italian meatballs from the meat case, that you pre-cook yourself before adding to the soup. Finally, you can also make your own meatballs from scratch from your favourite recipe and pre-cook.
Crockpot option! Add all ingredients except pasta and spinach to your slow cooker. Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours. Add pasta and cook, covered an additional 15-20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach until wilted, then serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.
Get the Recipe: Easy Italian Meatball Soup
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 cup carrots, diced 1/4-inch
- 1/2 cup celery, diced 1/4-inch
- 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste, optional
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained,preferably fire-roasted
- 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, or 1 tsp basil and 1/4 tsp of thyme and oregano leaves
- Parmesan rind, or 3/4-inch cube of Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 20 frozen, fully cooked Italian meatballs, about 1 inch *see notes
- 3/4 cup ditalini pasta, or other small pasta
- 4 cups baby spinach
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, if using and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender (taste to be sure). Discard bay leaf.
- Pour in can of tomatoes. Add Italian seasoning, Parmesan rind, if using, and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Add meatballs. Continue simmering soup another 15 minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
- Add pasta and simmer a further 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper and/or Italian seasoning, as needed. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach until wilted.
- Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.
More meatball soups you might also enjoy …
I made this today, preparing for an Italian dinner I’m making for our small supper club. I used my own homemade meatballs rather than frozen, but otherwise made the recipe as written. Outstanding flavor! I love soups in winter, and this one is going to join the rotation from now on.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup, Charis and yes, soups get me through Winter :) Thanks so much!
This was a great hearty soup to get started in the crock pot. Served it up with a caesar salad and french bread for an easy meal. I threw in a little more carrots and celery, but next time I would probably keep it closer to the measurements given (my taste testers weren’t exactly vegetable fans). But I would add more meatballs and little bit more pasta. I ended up adding more meatballs to the leftovers which were even more delicious than the first night. (BTW, the frozen Italian beef meatballs at Costco were perfect for this.) I do think that some white beans would make this even more hearty and taste wonderful. Will definitely be making this again!
So glad you enjoyed it! And yes, it would be nice with white beans, as well :) Thanks so much!
Simmering on the stove right now. I had to add about 1 cup of water because pasta wasn’t quite cooked. I will add more broth next time. Can’t wait to dig in ☺
Thanks Geneviève! Enjoy :)
I love your idea of adding kidney beans to this recipe. Could you suggest how much to add and do you add the beans at the beginning? I will probably cook mine in the slow cooker. Thank you so much for your time.
Hi Beth, my first thought was about 1/2 a can of kidney beans. See how that looks and if you can sneak a few more in from there. I would add them at the end with the pasta. Enjoy!
Simmering on the cooktop now. Smells so lovely and my little taste test was just delicious! Perfect soup for a cold
night . . . .23 inches of snow in November. Have been shoveling and snow blowing for 2 full days! Comfort food is what we all need!
Perfect snowy cold weather soup, Kristie! Not sure if we’ve had 23 inches here, but we’ve had way more than we usually see in November. Winter has settled in. Thanks!
This has CCB written all over it! This is a keeper!
Perfect for this time of year! We’ve been so busy and now it’s almost December. I need a hearty bowl of soup and could eat this almost everyday. Love that you started with fully cooked meatballs. Pinning :)
What a comforting meatballs presentation. Would love to dig in while it’s snowing outside! Stay warm, Jennifer!
Such a comforting bowl of soup, Jennifer! Love all the hearty ingredients from the meatballs to the pasta. All this needs is a buttery slice of bread for dunkin’ into all that savoury goodness :)
This is the kind of soup that everyone in my family would enjoy Jennifer. I’ve got a family full of meatball lovers! So hearty for the winter season!