This flavorful, protein-filled meatball soup is the perfect make-ahead immunity-boosting meal. It’s loaded with chicken meat, vegetables, and quinoa, so you’ll get balanced nutrition in one bowl. This is the type of nourishing, comforting meal that will keep you feeling healthy through the colder months.
Easy + delicious protein
We love these ground chicken meatballs since they’re relatively hands-off and cook perfectly in the oven without any flipping or stirring. This recipe also works well with any ground meat like turkey or bison. Many meatball recipes call for grated cheese, eggs, and processed breadcrumbs, but our version is completely cleanse-friendly. We’ve found that organic, pastured chicken is flavorful on its own, and with just a few additions like fresh herbs and gluten-free bread crumbs, you won’t miss the traditional version at all. Chicken soup really does help when you are sick, as studies have shown.
Herb is the word
Many people don’t realize the benefit of fresh herbs, but they pack a nutritional punch that’s often overlooked. Parsley, in particular, is incredible at helping the body detoxify. It’s a natural diuretic, meaning it helps flush excess fluid out of the system. In addition to decreasing bloat and excess water, parsley has also been shown to help keep blood sugar stable. One of the best ways to stabilize blood sugar is to eat meals rich in high-quality protein, nutrient-dense vegetables, and fibrous whole grains.
Bone broth for great immunity
Soups can be incredibly nourishing, one reason being the hydrating impact of broth. For the most benefits, we love bone broth as the base for this meatball soup (and we have a great recipe to make your own bone broth). This type of broth is naturally high in collagen, which can help improve gut health, ease joint pain, and improve skin elasticity. Bone broth contains valuable minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
1 lb. ground chicken
1/4 cup fresh parsley, stems removed and minced
1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups chicken bone broth or regular chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 large carrots, sliced
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
3 cups spinach
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive or avocado oil salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Additional parsley for topping
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Combine all meatball ingredients. Form mixture into 1-inch balls (you should have enough for about 8 meatballs). Place meatballs in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In a large pot, add olive oil and heat over medium. Then, add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, celery, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Cook for 5 more minutes, then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked through. Fold in spinach for the last minute of cook time.
Divide meatballs amongst four bowls, then add hot soup over the top when ready to serve. Optionally, top with additional parsley. You can store this meatball soup in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 2-3 months. We recommend keeping meatballs and soup separate until ready to serve.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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