This is one of my favorite soup recipes. It's not as simple as Super Easy Chicken Soup, but I love all the colors and different textures together. If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you think in the Comments section. The original recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens, and I modify it for my family by using twice the mushrooms and half the beans (they aren't big bean fans).
One big tip–this recipe would take too much prep time if you made the meatballs that same evening. I save a LOT of time by making the meatballs on a day when I've purchased 5-10 lbs of ground beef on sale and do one of my Cook Once, Eat 10 Times sessions. While making regular meatballs for pasta, I just make some minis and freeze them to pull out for this recipe. I thaw them overnight in the fridge, then pan-saute them while I'm getting the other ingredients together in the saucepan. That way, it only takes 15-20 minutes to prepare the soup.
1 15oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1 14oz can beef broth (I use low sodium)
1 14oz can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (I've also used diced)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/4 cup tiny bow-tie pasta, ditalini, or orzo
3 cups torn fresh spinach or 1/2 of a 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
If using prepared, raw meatballs: Cook meatballs over medium heat about 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Drain fat from pan (there isn't usually any if you use lean 93% beef). Set aside.In large saucepan, stir together garbanzo beans, broth, undrained tomatoes, water, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling. Add pasta. Return to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach and meatballs. Cook for 1-2 minutes more or just until spinach is wilted.You can make this ahead to the point of adding the spinach. Cool the soup and transfer to an airtight freezer bag. To reheat, transfer to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up. Stir in spinach as above.*If you don't already have meatballs, you can use this recipe:
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used the Italian seasoned)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
In a bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic salt and pepper. Add ground beef, mix well. Shape meat mixture into 24-36 balls (I just make them as small as I can).