Sweaters. Crunchy Leaves. Scarves. Crisp Mornings. Boots. Pumpkin Flavored Everything. These are a few of my favorite things about fall. Autumn is my favorite season, and I could go on and on about everything I love about this time of year. There’s nothing better than going for a long walk to enjoy the fall colors and coming home to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea. Except snuggling up with a warm bowl of soup.
Soup is one of my favorite foods. When I was a kid, I used to ask for soup for lunch every day- even during the summer. My mom worried terribly about my sodium intake and couldn’t believe how many cans of soup her daughter went through over summer vacation. While I’ve curbed my soup addiction, all I want to eat on these crisp fall days is a nice, warm bowl of soup!
Even though soup is one of my favorite foods, I often avoid ordering it at restaurants because they can be greasy and loaded with sodium. Italian wedding soup is often one of the worst offenders, with a greasy broth and lots of mini meatballs and little pasta noodles. But it’s still so delicious! I found myself craving Italian wedding soup last week, and was determined to make my own lighter version.
I replaced the miniature meatballs with big turkey meatballs- tender enough to melt in your mouth, but sturdy enough not to dissolve in your bowl. Instead of noodles, I loaded up on veggies with generous portions of carrots and spinach. Forget the greasy broth and sad strands of spinach in the cafeteria’s version of Italian wedding soup. This hearty soup will fill you up and keep you full afternoon, and make all of your colleagues poke their heads out of their office doors to find out what smells so good. Sorry, everyone, for not sharing.
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1 cup oats
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt (optional)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups sliced carrots
- 8 cups baby spinach
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 64 oz (8 cups) low sodium chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined
- Roll into small balls, about 1 tablespoon portions
- Place on a greased baking sheet
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (no pink in the center of the meatball)
- Set meatballs aside
- In a large pot, saute onion, carrots and garlic on medium heat for 10 minutes
- Add meatballs and pour in chicken broth and spices
- Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to simmer for 30 minutes
- Stir in spinach and wilt before serving
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is rolling out all the meatballs! I used a tablespoon to scoop out a little ball of turkey, but it still takes time to roll each one. If you’re short on time, you can bake the meatballs ahead of time and store them in the fridge for a day or two until you’re ready to use them.
Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. I portioned the leftover soup into our pint mason jars- they are perfect for transporting soup for lunch at work. Just heat up the soup in the microwave (without the metal lid of course), and pour into a bowl to enjoy. I had this soup for lunch at work all week, and it was delicious!
You can also make this soup in a slow cooker! Instead of baking the meatballs, they are poached to perfection in the crockpot or slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, carrots, spices, meatballs and broth to slow cooker and stir. Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours, or until meatballs are cooked through. Add spinach and wilt before serving. Stir and serve, and you have a hearty meal perfect for a busy weeknight! I have a large crockpot that has the capacity to cook a large recipe, but you could also halve this recipe to accommodate a smaller crockpot or slow cooker.