Italian Wedding Soup with Lemon Chickpea ‘Meatballs’

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Winter is here, and it’s cold! There are few things better than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day. This Italian Soup with Lemon Chickpea is scrumptious and creamy – just what you need to warm up and get your taste buds tingling. Plus, this recipe comes together quickly so you can have it ready for dinner in no time at all!

This tasty and filling soup recipe is perfect for a cold winter day. The secret is the crumbled bread which gives it texture, but you can also use rice if that’s what you have on hand. Add in some fresh lemon juice to give it an additional kick of flavor. This dish is great served as one meal or split into two meals (just double up on ingredients). It makes a delicious lunch!

-You will need: olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, minced garlic cloves (or a clove), chicken broth or vegetable stock, white wine (to taste), can of crushed tomatoes and their juices.

-Saute the vegetables in some olive oil for about five minutes on medium heat until they start to soften. Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool slightly with lid off so that it doesn’t hold too much water when you puree them later. Then add your spices: bay leafs if desired; thyme leaves; salt and pepper to taste; red chili flakes or cayenne pepper if you want more spice). Blend together well adding back any liquid that has not evaporated and then blend again.

-Pour the soup back into the pot, add some white wine (to taste) and simmer for another 20 minutes uncovered so that it can thicken up a bit more. Add salt to taste if needed when done cooking. Once ready, serve with fresh lemon zest or squeeze of lemon juice just before serving to brighten up the flavors! Can also top off with chopped parsley leaves as garnish for color contrast 🙂

Please note – I do not recommend using canned whole tomatoes because they are too watery/weak; instead you should use crushed ones which will hold their flavor better in this recipe. If you prefer your soup thicker than what we have here feel free to double the amount of bread crusts in the recipe.

-Add tomatoes to a small pot, add some water just enough to cover them and simmer for about 15 minutes or so until they are nice and soft. Add more water if needed during this process as you want them crushed but not too watery!

*Tip – If using canned whole tomatoes use one can instead of two since they are already pre-crushed when opened. I would also recommend adding half (or less) of the amount listed for dried diced onion because that will be stronger than fresh onion which is generally sweeter tasting.*

In your favorite soup pot whisk together the olive oil with garlic cloves, then pour in tomato sauce from both cans into pan; season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the crumbled bread to this mixture, stirring often until it is nice and hot.

In a separate pot boil water for pasta: add salt to taste as well as two tablespoons of olive oil per quart of water (adjust according to preference). Drain cooked noodles when done so they are not too moist since that will dilute your sauce; briefly rinse them with cold water before adding them back into your soup pot for serving giving it one last stir. Top each bowlful with plenty of fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

*Tip – If you prefer more than just “enough” lemon flavor in your dish then start by adding two or three slices at the beginning but be careful because once added they can’t really be removed.

What to serve with this soup?

* A side salad with lemon vinaigrette and extra olive oil.

* Garlic bread is always a good idea too, but make sure it’s not overly crunchy or sweetened for this dish!

* A crusty piece of Italian bread is perfect for dipping in the soup.

* Top with parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper before serving (optional).

*Some people enjoy this soup with a side of crusty bread, or even better yet as an appetizer served alongside some olives and cheese.

*We recommend making plenty – it’s not only delicious but also easy to reheat the next day for lunch!

You can also choose to add some meatballs to the soup, if you are a meat eater. Just make sure to cook them first in a separate pot with olive oil and salt before adding to the soup.