This cozy winter meatball soup is loaded with nutrient-dense ingredients and super tasty. Suitable for many traditional healing diets such as Paleo and Whole 30.
I craved for a comforting bowl of my favourite Italian wedding soup, but I wanted to make a Paleo version with a twist on the ingredients, thus this winter squash and kale meatball soup was born. Layered with seasonal vegetables, nourishing bone broth and homemade meatballs with a mineral-rich secret ingredient, the soup is a warm hug on the inside to heal your mind, body and spirit on cold winter days.
Grain-Free Breadcrumb Substitute
I love my meatballs tender and moist, and there are ways to achieve the desired outcome without using the traditional breadcrumbs. To keep this winter meatball soup grain-free, I used tapioca starch mixed in water to soften the meatball mixture. The results are tender and juicy meatballs in a cozy soup that is gluten-free, Paleo and whole 30 compliant.
Depending on the flavour profile of a specific recipe, in addition to breadcrumbs and tapioca starch, you have many more options to tenderize the ground meat mixture. Here are some tried-and-true ingredients for the purpose: coconut flour, butternut squash, tofu, almond flour, etc., to name a few.
Seasonal Vegetables in Winter Meatball Soup
When we eat according to season, we are more likely to eat local, eat fresh produce, and eat produce harvested at their peak nutritional value. We often place too much focus on macronutrients by following dietary plans and counting calories, while I think micronutrients and nutrition density of our foods are just as important if not more.
Winter squash and kale are the staple in cold weather season, highly nutritious and a fun replacement for carrots and spinach in Italian wedding soup, which initially inspired this cozy winter meatball soup recipe.
Traditional wisdom also tells us, seasonal produce provides our body the right kind of nourishment and brings our physical body into alignment with the natural environment surrounding us.
In Eastern medicine, this is more poetically described in terms of dampness, dryness, cold, heat, and wind, and the balancing of all within our internal system according to external changes. Different food items have different functional effects. In addition to consuming seasonal vegetables, consuming nourishing and warming soups is very healing in the winter.
Mineral-Rich Secret Ingredient
A secret ingredient I often add into meatball mixture is desiccated beef liver powder. The beef liver powder is a whole food dietary supplement, and completely optional to you in this recipe. I like to sneak some liver powder into my cooking for my kids who aren’t fans of organ meats cooked straight-up. Desiccated beef liver powder blends well into any beef-based meatballs, like these winter meatballs in soup, and baked meatballs too.
I use Perfect desiccated liver from healthy free range cows that feed exclusively on rapidly growing green grass in rich Argentinian soil. These cows are raised entirely free of hormones and are untouched by antibiotics, chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Perfect desiccated liver is an undefatted natural source of high quality protein, amino acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, and iron.
My reader exclusive discount code “YANG10” will give you 10% off your entire purchase when shopping at Perfect Supplements. Besides their Perfect desiccated liver, I also use and love many other products, such as chicken bone broth powder, MCT oil, and hydrolyzed collagen.
Nourishing Bone Broth Base for Meatball Soup
Bone broth is an essential part of many healing diets. Whether you are on one of these diets, or simply enjoying the nourishing and comforting nature of bone broth, it’s more fun to incorporate plain bone broth into a variety of delicious soups. I much prefer using bone broth as soup base than consuming them straight to appreciate the culinary creations through all the wonderful whole food ingredients and flavours.
I used beef bone broth in this meatball soup. You can also use chicken or turkey bone broth. To make your own chicken bone broth, use this turkey broth recipe and replace the turkey bones with chicken bones. The nourishing bone broth base made this soup even more special, there is nothing but goodness in a cozy bowl of winter meatball soup.
Related: Nourishing Soup and Broth Recipes You Will Love
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- Instant Pot Beef Bone Broth
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Cozy Winter Meatball Soup
Other Soup Ingredients
- 4 cup beef bone broth
- 4 cup filtered water
- 2 cup butternut squash, cubed (or any winter squash)
- 4 cup kale, chopped
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- Peel and dice the winter squash. Remove kale leaves from the stem, and finely chop the leaves. Discard the stems or save them for making stock.
- Put diced squash, bone broth and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dissolve tapioca starch in half a cup of water. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Slowly pour the tapioca water into the mixing bowl, while massaging all ingredients together until evenly combined.
- While the soup continue to simmer, make little meatballs and drop them into the broth. This process will take approximately 10 minutes.
- Add chopped kale into the soup pot, season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Check to make sure the squash is tender. If not, boil a little longer, then turn off the heat.