What do you get when you cross chicken soup with Italian wedding? Mini chicken meatball soup of course!
And as a special bonus, we’ll be making this soup gluten-free!
When I came up with the idea for this soup, it was NOT gluten-free. In fact, my concept was to make a mash-up of traditional chicken soup and Italian wedding. The plan was to take features from the chicken soup, such as carrots, celery and onions and mix them with features from Italian wedding, such as mini meatballs and acini de pepe pasta. Making the meatballs with chicken would be representative of both soups, making for a beautiful marriage of ingredients.
Great plan, right? Right!
Oh, wait. There’s just one little problem. It’s not gluten-free. Was I going to make a giant vat of delicious, warm and cozy mini chicken meatball soup and expect Greg not to be jealous as I enjoyed every tasty bite? Nooooooo…of course not!
That’s when I came up with Plan B – make it gluten-free.
I knew I would make the meatballs with gluten-free breadcrumbs. That was the easy part.
Now for those beautiful pearly pasta dots. What could be done about them?
I searched the Internet for a gluten-free version, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town (it was really across the room, but it sounds more intriguing this way), Greg saw me banging my head against the desk as I struggled to find gluten-free acini de pepe. Then he casually commented, “Why don’t you just use quinoa?”
Oh wait, that’s the 80s band. Oops! 🙂
Aha! That’s it – quinoa it is!
Glad I though of it. 😉
Anyway, this Gluten-Free Mini Chicken Meatball Soup is perfect for a cold, winter’s night (or fall…it is still fall…technically speaking). Combining cheesy, mini chicken meatballs with creamy, nutty quinoa and the classic, comforting flavor of chicken soup, this dish is a winner (winner, chicken dinner).
OK, so now I know you want to make it. Let’s get started…
First, preheat your oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine ground chicken breast with eggs, olive oil, garlic, parsley, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses, gluten-free breadcrumbs and black pepper.
Use an oiled melon baller to scoop out meat mixture and form into meatballs.
Drop meatballs onto baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
While meatballs are cooking, start the soup. Cook carrots, celery, garlic, onion and salt in olive oil over medium heat in a covered soup pot for 10 minutes.
Add chicken stock, chicken broth, black pepper, parsley and thyme. Leave uncovered and bring to a boil. Add meatballs and quinoa.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 more minutes, until quinoa is done. Enjoy! 🙂
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 lb. ground chicken breast
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup gluten-free plain breadcrumbs (I used 4C brand)
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- FOR THE SOUP
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 32 oz. unsalted chicken stock
- 64 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
- 1 cup tri-color quinoa
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine ground chicken, eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, parsley, grated cheeses, breadcrumbs and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small bowl.
- Dip a melon baller (1 in. diameter, ½ in. deep), in the olive oil (this will help moisten the chicken mixture since ground chicken breast tends to get sticky and hard to work with). Using the melon baller, generously scoop out meatballs and drop onto lined baking sheet, forming into more of a ball shape as you drop them onto the sheet (makes approximately 30 meatballs). Periodically dip the melon baller into the olive oil to re-moisten as necessary.
- Bake chicken meatballs for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165° F.
- While meatballs are cooking, heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and salt. Stir and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add stock, broth, pepper, parsley and thyme. Leave uncovered and bring to a boil.
- Add meatballs (when they're done) and quinoa to soup and reduce to a simmer.
- Continue to simmer uncovered until quinoa is done (approximately 15-20 minutes).