Is it soup season guys! I absolutely hate the cold weather so much, I swear there’s nothing better during Chicago winters than a huge cup of hot soup and Italian Wedding Soup was always one of my favorite soups growing up. The toughest part in mimicking my mom’s recipe here is finding a veggie meatball recipe that can compete with my mom’s turkey meatballs and are thick and hearty enough to withstand soup. These Tempeh Meatballs hit all the marks!
Andrew insists that I clarify with you guys that we did not just attend an Italian Wedding and take pictures of their soup, we made this fully from scratch, in a very large pot at our house. Be advised, this recipe is made to feed a family so if it’s just two of you, you will be eating it all week. Trust me, you won’t mind, it’s totally delicious and heavy and filling.
I’ve never been to a full on traditional Italian Wedding but I really think I could serve this exact recipe there and it’s possible that not only would people not be able to tell it wasn’t made by an Italian woman, but they might not even be able to tell the meatballs aren’t actually meat! The tempeh is so hearty and filling and all the spices just make it burst with flavor! I’ve tried veggie meatballs before with chickpeas, mushrooms, black beans and these are by far my favorite!
If you’re a tempeh novice, these meatballs are a great recipe to try. Tempeh is usually in the small patch of the grocery store where they jam all the vegan cheeses, it looks super weird but don’t let that scare you off! It’s super versatile and loaded with protein!
I know you guys are going to LOVE this recipe! It’s healthy, protein packed, delicious and comforting. Thanks so much for stopping by Almost Like Mom’s and definitely don’t forget to subscribe on your way out! I’m working on launching our travel section soon so that should be fun!
Until Next Time,
Italian Wedding Soup with Tempeh Meatballs
Bright healthy soup loaded with fresh ingredients and served with hearty protein packed tempeh meatballs. Perfect for chilly days!
Author: Jackie DeSana
Recipe type: Soup, Dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Vegetarian, Vegan
Serves: 12 bowls
- Tempeh Meatballs
- 2 8 oz packages of tempeh
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 eggs*
- ½ cup parmesan cheese* (plus extra for frying)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (plus extra for frying)
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 6 celery stalks, sliced thin
- 1 onion, diced
- 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp sage
- 2 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbs olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- fresh parsley
- Make the meatballs by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil for about three minutes until the onions are cooked down and translucent. Crumble the tempeh into a large food processor and add in the sauteed onions and garlic. Pulse until combined. Next add in the eggs, tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs and all the spices and pulse on high until fully combined. It should be a thick, dough like consistency.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Scoop about ¼ cup scoops of the meatball mix and roll it into a ball. Roll the meatballs in the breadcrumbs and cheese mix and place in the oil. Pan fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the meatballs are crispy. Place them on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- While the meatballs are baking, begin preparing the soup. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large stock pot, add in the onions and garlic first and sautee for about three minutes until the onions become translucent. Add in the celery and carrots and stir until combined. Add in the sage, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir until the veggies are fully coated in spices.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and water and turn the heat to high. Bring the pot to a boil then add in the orzo. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until the orzo is cooked and the carrots are softened.
- Finish the soup by adding fresh parsley and lemon juice. When the meatballs are finished, add them into the soup and stir. This soup can get very thick in the fridge so you may need to add more water when you reheat it.
*If you're vegan just use vegan parm in the meatballs or cut it out all together!