Meatballs, or cheatballs in this case, are never easy to photograph. But here we are, with hearty balls of goodness floating around in our tasty broth.
Truth be told, even when I was an omnivore, I hated the idea of meatballs bopping around in my soup. It grossed me out. It wasn’t until Thanksgiving a few years back when I was still dating my husband where I decided to suck it up and dive in. The wine helped, plus I wanted to be polite in front of his parents. Lo and behold, I friggin’ loved it. What had I been thinking before? As my Mom always says — don’t knock it ’til you try it.
I was a little nervous about making a vegetarian version; homemade plant-based meatballs are no easy feat. In my experience, anyway. If not carefully crafted, they can fall apart easily. I wasn’t sure how they would do in soup, but these bad boys held it together and made Momma proud.
I would definitely suggest making the cheatballs in advance and keeping them in the refrigerator overnight to solidify in their form. You could also take the easy route and buy vegetarian meatballs (or take the easiest route and not add meatballs at all).
Vegetarian Italian Wedding Soup
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced or roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic sliced
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes optional
- 2 oz of thinly sliced carrots
- 2 cups sliced baby spinach
- Kosher salt + cracked black pepper
- 8 cups Vegetable broth
- in Vegetarian meatballs either store-bought or homemade; I used this recipe but made miniature balls and let them sit the fridge overnight to form well and stay together.
- 1/4 cup acini de pepe pasta 1/2 cup if you like it super noodle-y; if it gets too noodle-y for you, just add more broth
- Freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley chopped
- Heat olive oil in a stockpot.
- Add the garlic, onions and chili flakes; sauté until garlic is fragrant and onions are tender. Careful not to brown the garlic.
- Add carrots and spinach; sauté until the spinach wilts. Add a splash of vegetable broth is the stockpot dries out.
- Season with salt + pepper.
- Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Add "cheatballs" + acini di pepe.
- Simmer on low until acini di pepe swells and becomes tender.
- Serve into bowls and garnish with freshly grated parm, chopped fresh parsley and a nice hunk of buttered bread.