Monday, March 31, 2008

Italian Wedding Soup

I have to admit, I've never eaten "real" Italian Wedding Soup. In fact, I'd never even heard of it until Campbells came out with a canned version. This happened years after I became a vegetarian, and of course the soup is in chicken broth with mini-meatballs. Still, I've gazed at it almost lovingly thinking "... if only it was veg." The introduction of Veganomicon's Chickpea Cutlets made that dream a reality. That said, the meatball part of this recipe is a slightly adapted version of Chickpea Cutlets. The rest of the recipe I made up this recipe based on what the can of soup appears to contain. Maybe not the most scientific method, but it has yielded a pretty close product -- at least in terms of appearance. It also happens to be delicious.

Italian Wedding Soup

For the "meatballs":

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup italian style breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sage

2 tbsp fresh flatleaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with some olive oil.

2. Mash the chickpeas with the olive oil. Add everything else. Knead until it starts to get stringy. Some chickpea bits may fall out. Don't worry about them. It wasn't meant to be.

3. Tear off tablespoons of dough (?) and squeeze/roll them into mini meatballs. You do actually have to squeeze the dough in your hand, then roll a little, then squeeze, then roll, to get them to be meatballs.

4. Lay all your meatballs on the baking sheet. Spray with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, turn over, then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until they're firm.

Baked "Meat"ball army!

For the Soup:

2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup Israeli couscous *
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach **

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the carrots and celery and sautee, stirring occasionally until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the vegetable broth and bring the soup to a boil.

3. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the couscous is soft.

4. Stir in the spinach and let it heat through.

5. Stir in the cooked meatballs right before serving.

Big Pot of Italian Wedding Soup

* Unlike regular couscous, Israeli couscous is much larger. It cooks up to the size of little pearls. Pastini isn't bad here as an alternative, but I like the little couscous best.

** If you buy the BIG BAG of frozen spinach as opposed to the small box, it isn't frozen into a block and you can actually pour out what you need and then put it back in the freezer.

1 comment:

John Plummer said...

I think I will be making this - thank you!