Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatball

by Cindi SutterFounder & Editor of The Spirited Table® - by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Chop whatever veg you've got in your fridge to make this soup.


6 oz ground chicken (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
6 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan, divided, plus more for garnish
4 garlic cloves, 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 large egg, whisked to blend
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, sliced into 1/4" rounds
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup ditalini or other small pasta
1 cup 1/2" rounds peeled carrots
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
Chopped fresh basil


  1. Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 1/2"-diameter meatballs (makes about 28).
  2. Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in soup). Transfer to a plate; set aside.
  3. Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots; simmer until pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Add meatballs; simmer until pasta is al dente, carrots are tender, and meatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan; stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped basil and Parmesan.