This hidden veggie meatball soup will be your new favorite meal. This recipe is a modern version of our most beloved Bulgarian meatball soup which is called “Supa Topcheta.” Incredibly easy and perfect for picky eaters since the veggies are blended into the broth and are hardly noticeable. The meatballs are so juicy and moist, you won’t be able to get enough! In Bulgaria we roll the meatballs extremely small, but for the purpose of saving you time, I made them larger than usual. Feel free to roll them as tiny as you wish, if you have the time (and patience). We like to roll them the size of a marble, which can be time consuming, but I promise they’re so much more delicious at this size. This soup is incredibly versatile as it can be made with pastina, orzo, rice, noodles, or potatoes chopped up small; so feel free to use whatever ingredients you already have on hand.
The Best Meatball and Rice Soup
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups unsalted or low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 shallots, peeled or 1 yellow onion, peeled
- 2 celery ribs
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ small red bell pepper (optional)
- 450 grams (1 pound) ground meat (pork, turkey, beef, or chicken) (I prefer ground turkey)
- 1 medium egg
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped or grated
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons white rice, rinsed (or pastina, orzo, small noodles, etc)
- handful of finely chopped parsley or cilantro
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Add the water and vegetable broth to a large pot. Add the shallots, celery, carrot, garlic, and bell pepper (if using) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1/2 tablespoon salt.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover the pot with a lid. Let the broth simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until all the veggies are super soft. Taste the broth for salt and adjust as needed.
- In the meantime, combine the ground meat, egg, onion, breadcrumbs, salt, paprika, and oregano in a bowl. Using a large spoon or clean hands, combine the mixture really well. Using a mini ice cream scoop or a spoon, form the mixture into small meatballs. It helps to oil your hands (or wet them) to form smooth meatballs and prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the whole veggies from the broth and into a blender (see safety reminder below). Add 2 ladles of broth to the blender and blend until nice and smooth. Return the blended mixture to the broth in the pot.
- Bring the soup to a boil and slowly add in the mini meatballs as you gently stir the soup. Add the rice and reduce the heat to medium, allowing the meatballs and rice to cook for about 15 minutes.
- Once the rice and meatballs have cooked (taste the rice for doneness), taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If the rice has absorbed too much broth, add a little bit of water to thin out the soup. Remove the soup from the heat and garnish with fresh parsley. Squeeze some lemon into each bowl and enjoy!
- Hot soup (or any hot liquid, for that matter) will steam and expand in a stand blender, which can push the lid of the blender off and cause a mess and burn hazard. When pureeing hot soup, do it in batches. Fill the blender 1/3 to 1/2 full, remove or loosen the center cap from the lid of the blender. Cover the lid with a folded dishcloth and hold it down while blending.
Easy, quick recipe !
Thanks for the feedback Joj 🙂
I am trying this today, it looks amazing! Question – how come you don’t use any herbs in the soup?
You are more than welcome to but there’s a LOT of flavor from the veggies 🙂
I made this for the family and it was a huge hit! I definitely recommend serving with the lemon wedge, it really elevated the flavors in the soup. This soup will definitely be added into my rotation.
SO Happy Kat! 🙂
Made this soup and shared with both my daughters and family. It was loved all round! I am making all these hidden veggie soups, onto Chicken Noodle today. Such an easy, delicious soup to make!