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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gingery Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes

When it's cold and blustery, as it is just about all over the country these days, I head to the kitchen to fire up a big pot of soup. Warming, soothing and comforting, a steamy bowl of soup eases the indignity of winter's grey, sodden days.

This rendition blends the concept of Italian Wedding Soup with Asian flavors such as ginger, sesame oil and spicy sriracha, to create an entirely new dish. The result is an assertive, vegetable laden broth with a burst of citrus and a streak of heat, studded with savory, tender meatballs. 

Gingery Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes
Serves 8-10

For Soup:
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 heaping cup of shallots, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
64 ounces good quality chicken stock
Zest of half a lime
Zest of half a lemon, preferably Meyer
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

For Meatballs:
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
Zest of half a lime
Zest of half a lemon, preferably Meyer
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
1.25 pounds ground turkey

1/2 pound ditalini, cooked al dente

For soup: In a large stock or soup pot, saute celery and carrots over medium heat for about five minutes. Add shallots and continue to cook, until vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, stirring often.

After another 10 minutes, add ginger, sriracha, basil and cilantro. Combine well and add stock. Allow to simmer while you prepare meatballs. 

For meatballs: In a large bowl, add ginger, garlic, shallot, sriracha, sesame oil, basil, cilantro, lime and lemon zest. Combine well, then stir in breadcrumbs. Add ground turkey and fold until combined. Shape into 1.5-inch meatballs and drop into soup.

Gently stir in tomatoes and spinach and let soup to simmer until meatballs are cooked, about 20 minutes. Just before serving, add lime and lemon zest. 

In the meantime, cook ditalini in boiling salted water until very al dente, usually at least three minutes less then the package calls for, and add a small handful of pasta to each bowl when serving. Store leftover pasta separately from soup to preserve texture.


  1. really, REALLY good soup! had it two nights in a row and loved it both times!

  2. This looks terrific! Will have to try it.

  3. sounds great!!! i'll have to give this one a try - i love to make soups!!!