My mother-in-law Marie deserves all the credit for this delicious minestrone soup recipe. It was her ingenious idea to throw mini meatballs into this soup. It's very hearty and loaded with veggies. I always make it like this now!

Where does minestrone soup come from?

Minestrone soup comes from Italy, and there’s no single, traditional recipe. It’s a thick, hearty soup that people like to make from whatever vegetables and other ingredients are in season, or whatever they have on hand. Once you master it, minestrone is a great way to use up those leftovers (and that’s how they do it in Italy)! 

Is minestrone vegetarian, vegan, or made with meat?

Some minestrone recipes call for meat while others are vegetarian or even vegan—they’re all so good. I recommend that every home cook experiments with different variations until they find their personal favorites.

Homemade Meatballs for Minestrone Soup

Back to Marie’s Homemade Minestrone Meatball Soup

Minestrone soup with meatballs is memorable, filling, and warming. In my minestrone recipe, tender homemade meatballs perfectly complement the nourishing flavors of fresh vegetables. By the time you add the beans and Italian herbs, you’ve got the perfect meal. 

Use Cast-iron Skillet to Sear Meatballs for Minestrone Soup

Should you use frozen or fresh vegetables in a minestrone?

Formally, I use a bag of frozen veggies in this recipe. But since it’s traditionally made to use up leftover vegetables, feel free to use any seasonal veggies and/or greens you might have tucked away in your fridge. Go ahead and throw in a little extra if you like. Minestrone is a great way to sneak in an extra serving of veggies. 

Minestrone is the perfect soup for colder months or for brisk summer nights.

I usually start making this soup in the fall and I keep making it until springtime. It makes a great lunch, and it’s even more delicious the second day, when the flavors have had some time to blend together. This recipe freezes well, too. Best leftovers ever. 

Pro tip: cook the pasta separately and drizzle it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

Always cook the pasta separately from the soup and add it right before serving. This way, your pasta won’t get overcooked. I also drizzle a bit of olive oil and stir it to prevent the pasta from sticking. If you prefer rice, you can add it in place of the pasta. Same principle: cook first, add before serving. Top each bowl off with pesto, and bravo! You’ve got minestrone! 

Yield: 10-12
Marie’s Minestrone Meatball Soup Recipe

Marie’s Minestrone Meatball Soup Recipe

Use up the last of your seasonal summer veggies in this hearty minestrone meatball soup—a perfect way to welcome in the coming change of seasons.


  • 2 pounds (85 to 90 percent lean) ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • A pinch of salt and black ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, as needed to brown the meatballs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 16 cup beef broth
  • 1 pound bag frozen mixed Italian vegetables
  • 1 can (15-ounce) cannellini beans
  • 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large can (18-ounce) tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces ditalini dry pasta
  • Grated pecorino Romano Cheese


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine (I like to use my hands). Roll the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Using a small scoop makes this process a lot easier.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Working in batches, brown the meatballs. If needed, use the additional tablespoon of olive oil. As the meatballs brown, transfer them to a paper towel lined platter. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent; about 2 minutes. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  4. In a separate pot of salted water, while the soup is simmering, cook the ditalini pasta according to the instructions. When the pasta is al dente, drain in a colander and rinse under cool water. This pasta is very small and cooks rather fast so keep an eye on it. I cook it separately so it doesn’t get overcooked in the soup.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, add the pasta and meatballs to the soup to warm them. Ladle into a large soup bowl and garnish with grated pecorino Romano cheese.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @blameitonbiscotti on instagram and hashtag it # fallrecipe