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8 servings


0 hours 20 mins


1 hours 0 mins


1 hours 20 mins
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1 small bag fresh, washed baby spinach or mixed greens, chopped in the food processor (2-3 cups)

1 lb. lean 90% fat free ground beef

1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Splash of red wine

1 egg

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

More Parmesan cheese (to taste)


Minced garlic – 3 cloves

1 Onion, chopped

1 Red Pepper, seeded & chopped

2 Zucchini, chopped

1 cup sliced celery

1 small bag baby carrots or bag of frozen sliced carrots

2 32 oz. cartons of Vegetable, beef or chicken broth (16 cups)

1 can dark kidney beans

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes in juice (blended in food processor or blender)

3 Oz. Tomato paste (1/2 a small can of tomato paste)

1-1 1/2 Tbsps. Dried Oregano

1/2 Tbsps. Dried Basil ¼ – ½ Tsp. Calabrian chili flakes

S&P (to taste)

1 cup Whole wheat Roselle or other pasta twists



1. Mix ingredients, roll into bite-sized 1” meatballs and bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes (or put under broiler for five minutes, turn meatballs and broil for another 2-3 minutes)


1. Sauté the fresh vegetables in Pam Cooking spray (or olive oil if you prefer) until they are starting to soften (about 5-8 minutes).
2. Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. 15-20 minutes. (Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.) I like a highly spiced soup so I often add more oregano, basil and sometimes additional Calabrian pepper flakes. Please your own palate here. There is no wrong way except under seasoning and winding up with bland soup.

3. Add pasta and simmer another 5 minutes, until pasta is partially cooked. Throw meatballs into the pot. Heat everything through (another 5 minutes).  

4. Ladle into bowls, garnish with freshly grated or Shaved Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread. Bon Appetite!

NOTES:  I received this from the owner and Innkeeper extrodinaire, Liz Clarke, at the Kate Stanton Inn in La Jolla, CA.  She assured me it was a good one and she was right!  I’ve made this recipe using turkey meatballs, brown rice and with and without the beans.  (I know, I like to “mess with recipes”!)  But this was my favoritie and my family loved it.  A big shout out to Liz for sharing!