Kid Approved: This soup tastes like spaghetti and meatballs and contains foods from three or four food groups in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Add a cold glass of milk to complete the meal.


  • 8 oz lean ground beef
  • 8 oz lean ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided


  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 28 oz/796 ml canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup peperini, orzo or other tiny pasta
  • 1-1/2 cups lightly packed coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese-filled
  1. Meatballs: In a large bowl, gently combine beef, pork, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, chilli powder, hot pepper flakes and cayenne. Using the palms of your hands, gently roll small pieces of the mixture into 3/4-inch (2 cm) meatballs. Set aside on a plate.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and brown on all sides, adjusting heat as needed to ensure meatballs don’t burn. Transfer to a clean dry plate. Heat the remaining oil, and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Discard any fat remaining., leaving any brown bits. Set meatballs aside.
  3. Soup: In the same pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, carrots and celery, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pot, for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in cooked meatballs, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, broth and tomato paste; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in pasta and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaf and thme sprig. Stir in spinach until wilted. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.

Tip: Do not overcrowd the pan when cooking meatballs or they will stew instead browning.

Variation: Use lean ground chicken or turkey to make the meatballs.

Nutrients per serving:

  • Calories: 248
  • Fat: 10.7
  • Saturated fat: 3.6 g
  • Sodium: 586 mg (24% DV)
  • Carbohydrate 20 g
  • Fiber: 3 g (12% DV)
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Calcium: 120 mg (11% DV)
  • Iron: 2.9 mg (21% DV)

Diabetes Food Choice Values:

  • 1 carbohydrate
  • 2 meat and alternatives

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