Italian sausage, bacon and lots of healthy veggies make this Sausage Meatball and Vegetable Soup a hearty and healthy addition to your soup repertoire. This recipe makes enough to feed a crowd and keeps for 1 week if you wish to have leftovers.
Orzo pasta was my choice for this comforting soup but any other small pasta of your choice will work. Remember that the more pasta you add, the more liquid it will absorb as it sits in the refrigerator - so go easy if you like your soup soupy!
You may also substitute any other green instead of the spinach. A kale blend with Swiss chard would work well in this soup, as would any mustard or collard greens which have been well washed and chopped. Chicken would be a great alternative to the sausage as well. There are many options to make this soup your own - so why not give it a shot and experiment. It will undoubtedly be delicious!
5 mild Italian sausages
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and chopped (reserve drippings)
1 large onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
pinch salt and ground black pepper
2 cups broccoli slaw mix
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
12 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
1 lb. fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup orzo pasta
Fresh, crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Remove the sausage from their casings and pinch the sausage meat into small mini meatball-sized pieces. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet and cook until golden brown for approximately 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Using the bacon drippings and a little more olive oil if necessary, cook the onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large skillet over a medium heat. Cook until the onions are opaque stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli slaw and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove the ingredients from the skillet into a soup/Dutch oven along with the cooked bacon.
3. Add the tomato sauce and stock or broth. Bring to a boil and add the spinach, cilantro and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the pasta is al-dente (firm to the bite). Lastly, add the garbanzos (chickpeas) and the corn, heating through for two minutes before serving with fresh, crusty bread.