Tomato Leek Soup with Orzo and Mini-Meatballs
Tomato Leek Soup with Orzo and Mini-Meatballs

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a huge fan of the cold weather (I basically spend the winter in my double layered parka dreaming of warm summer days) but I am a huge fan of the fact that it is legitimately soup season and particularly of this "souper" tomato leek version, chock full of mini meatballs and orzo. It's just what you want to come home to on chilly nights!

This is another of those one-bowl meals that make busy weeknights so much more manageable and though it seems to have a lot of ingredients, it comes together fairly quickly. And while you could serve this with a simple salad and some crusty bread, the truth is that it's a pretty perfectly balanced meal on its own. Plus, it's slurpily delicious!!

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While the mini meatballs are baking (yay, no messy frying necessary) you throw together the rest of the soup.  

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Other than some chopping and sautéing, this really takes care of itself. 

And every bite is just so delicious and satisfying. Tomatoes, spinach, leeks, orzo and those adorable little meatballs--yum, when's dinner?!! 

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Tomato Leek Soup with Orzo and Mini-Meatballs

Makes 6-8 servings 
Prep Time:  About one hour but much of this is hands free


For the Meatballs

  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (just grind up any bread you have in the house in a food processor) 
  • ¼ cup water  
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  •  1 garlic clove, minced  
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley  
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt  
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper  

For the Soup

  • 2 leeks, dark green part discarded, cut in half lengthwise cut into half moons and rinsed in a colander
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced  
  • Two 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with juices  
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounce bag baby spinach  
  • ¾ cup orzo  
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

The Recipe

1.  To make the meatballs:  Preheat oven to 375º F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands to roll small 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, make the soup. Pat the leeks dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the leeks until softened, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, stirring. Add in the tomatoes and stock, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down so that soup is simmering, add in orzo, cover and cook for 15 minutes. When meatballs are done add them to the soup along with the spinach and let cool until meatballs are hot and spinach is wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with grated Parmesan if desired.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Soups + Sides by Catherine Walthers. I tinkered around with this, cutting the dried oregano from the meatballs, upping the amount of spinach and cooking the dried orzo right in the soup instead of in a separate pot because I just couldn't be bothered. This is a pretty versatile recipe--I'm sure you could add in other veggies if you like too. 

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