This mini meatball chicken noodle soup is a fun take on the classic – it’s filled with flavorful herb meatballs that are baked in the oven, acini de pepe pasta, and spinach for some extra greens! It comes together quickly and freezes well too!
I’m usually not the biggest fan of soup, just because I need texture and crunch in my food, but this insanely cold weather is making me crave it! This soup also gives me a lot of nostalgia. It sort of reminds me of Italian wedding soup, which I don’t have often, but I have vivid memories of eating as a kid.
The wedding soup I have memories of was from a tiny little Italian place in Pennsylvania. We’d stop there on our drive up to Michigan to visit my family for Thanksgiving, and their food was SO good. I remember it being a such a cold night, and when we left the restaurant, these huge beautiful snowflakes were falling. I’ll never forget it, and I’ll always associate anything close to Italian wedding soup with that night!
Continuing with my meatball obsession, I knew I had to make this soup with meatballs! I almost made it a classic chicken noodle, but meatballs make it so much more fun. Right?
The meatballs are super simple and baked in the oven. They are seasoned with a little garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and parsley. These would be delicious with some pasta and sauce too!
I added some spinach for extra health, but you could use kale or any kind of greens you have on hand.
Or you could use escarole like you would in wedding soup!
I also added whole allspice to this soup while simmering, which is something my grandma always did. And her soup is THE BEST. It adds a subtle flavor I can’t really explain..it’s like a light spice or warmth, and it’s incredible. So don’t skip it!
I’m also super obsessed with acini de pepe. If you’ve never had it, it’s this tiny pasta that looks like little baby pearls. And they’re so fun to eat! Coming from a texture loving freak.
You could totally sub orzo or whatever noodles you like though!
So soul warming!
Mini Meatball Chicken Noodle Soup with Veggies, Spinach, and Acini de Pepe
This mini meatball chicken noodle soup is a fun take on the classic - it's filled with flavorful herb meatballs that are baked in the oven, acini de pepe pasta, and spinach for some extra greens! It comes together quickly and freezes well too!
For the soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 cup acini de pepe (can sub orzo or other small pasta!)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, plus extra for serving
- a few handfuls of baby spinach (can sub kale or any other greens)
For the meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken breast
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the meatballs. Combine the ground chicken, egg, panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and parsley in a medium bowl. Mix until combined. (It's easiest to use your hands!) Roll into small meatballs, you should get about 30. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
While meatballs are baking, make the soup. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Once melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chicken broth, allspice, bay leaf, and acini de pepe and raise heat to high. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. During the last 5 minutes, add the meatballs. Once finished, remove from heat, and add the thyme, parsley, and spinach. Stir until spinach is wilted.
Portion into bowls and garnish with extra fresh thyme and parsley.