Healthy Meatball Soup Done in a Romanian Fashion
Learn how to make meatball soup in just a few steps
- 1 carrot + another 1/4 cups of carrot
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1 cup celery
- 2 small onions
- 200 g pork shoulder
- 1 parsnip
- 1 tbsp rice
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- 1 egg white
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp frying oil
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 100 ml canned tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- more or less 8 cups of water
- optional 1 cup borsch or sour cream
- Meat grinder
- Chopping block
- Mixing bowl
- Food processor
In Romania, we have a culture of eating soups as a starter, especially at lunch. Even though we do have all kinds of soup recipes, most frequently on our menus, you will see sour soups that have multiple sources of inspiration.
Now, if you are a person who likes eating soups, you most likely have heard about Italian meatball soup. Well, the one that I am going to present today has some similarities, but it is Romanian as it can get. Actually, it is more similar to the Mexican meatball soup than the Italian one if I think about it. Anyhow, you can decide on your own after making it.
This being said, let me teach you how to make meatball soup in the traditional Romanian way.
- You will need a 3-4 liter pot for this dish.
- Pour the frying oil into the pan and heat it up on medium heat. Finely chop one onion and let it fry for 4-5 minutes. While this is happening, you can chop the rest of the vegetables and add them in the next order: 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, the celery, and the bell pepper.
I personally don't like big pieces of vegetables in my soups, and this is why I chop them as finely as I can. However, there is no standard size. So, chop those veggies as big or as small as you prefer.
- Add them to the pot and let everything fry for a couple of minutes until they start to get soft. Pour the water, add salt (it requires a good amount of salt), and bring everything to a boil. Boil your soup for 30 minutes at medium heat.
- In the meantime, you can focus on the meatballs.
I prefer pork for this recipe, but if you want a chicken or turkey meatball soup, just follow the same steps and add a tsp of extra oil in the composition.
- If you prefer grinding your own meat, you should first grind the remaining carrot and onion. But if you use store-bought minced meat, then add the carrot and the onion to a food processor and turn them into a paste.
- Regardless of the method you choose, take a small pan, heat up the olive oil and add the onion-carrot paste. Let it fry for just a minute, before tranfering it in a mixing bowl along with the meat, egg white, and rice (the rice doesn't need to be pre-cooked)—season with paprika, dry thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Mix everything well and form the balls.
- Take your soup to low heat and gently add the meatballs into the pot. Initially, they will fall down, but as the rice starts to cook, they will rise to the surface.
- Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes with the meatballs in it. While this is happening, you can prepare the final addition.
In my hometown, we always use borscht for finishing our sour soups. I actually didn't even know that there was another way to do it for a very long time. However, I live in the Transilvania region now, where using borscht is not as common. So, don't worry about not finding all the ingredients. You can still make this healthy meatball soup.
- In a small bowl, take a ladle of hot soup and mix it with the canned tomatoes and borscht or sour cream. You will need to have a homogenous mixture, so stir well to combine. Return it to the pot and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Let it simmer for 10 more minutes before taking it off the heat. When done, add the chopped parsley and serve.
In the Romanian language, we call our sour soups 'ciorba,' and we have lots of different recipes for this food type.
This kind of dish is very popular in our country and has been brought to us by soldiers from the Ottoman Empire. Actually, even today, if you go to Turkey, you will find recipes by the name of çorba, similar to ours.
* If you are asking if this recipe can be turned into a Crockpot meatball soup, then the answer is yes. However, I do recommend boiling the meatballs separately before serving.
** Even though I sour my dish with borscht, I love to add a tbsp of sour cream to my plate when eating.
*** Don't forget to tag us on Instagram when making this dish.
Nutrition Facts / Serving
- Calories 184
- Total Fat 8 g
- Cholesterol 24 mg
- Sodium 1500 mg
- Potassium 645 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 14 g
- Sugars 9 g
- Protein 10 g