Summer Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs — Damn Delicious

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Summer Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs

A hearty soup with all of your favorite vegetables! It’s fresh, it’s warm and it’s so cozy even in the summertime!

Soup in the summertime? Have I gone mad?

Well, yes, I’m always a little crazy, but I find that there’s something even more cozy about soup in the summertime.

You know, as you drip sweat in the 100 degree weather.

We’re using up all of our favorite summertime vegetables here with homemade turkey meatballs!

It’s pure summer in a bowl, with the tender veggies and the refreshing lemon kick in every bite.

And the soup is very freezer-friendly for your summer kick all year long,

If that’s not a good enough reason to make this, I don’t know what is!

Summer Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

A hearty soup with all of your favorite vegetables! It’s fresh, it’s warm and it’s so cozy even in the summertime!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup ditalini pasta
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the turkey meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/3 cup Panko
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, Panko, Parmesan, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes, if using; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 3/4-to-1-inch meatballs, forming about 30-32 meatballs.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in chicken stock and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and meatballs; reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in zucchini and spinach until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Serve immediately.

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Do you have any nutritional values for this recipe?

Nutritional information is provided only for select and some new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, we recommend using free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information. Hope that helps!

What are your thoughts on baking the meatballs instead of frying? I love soup, too – in any season

Yes, you can absolutely bake the meatballs if you prefer!

I always have shredded parmesan cheese in the frig, not fresh parmesan. What is the difference, if any and why use fresh versus pre shredded? Thank You

I find that freshly grated is best, but pre-shredded should also work! 🙂

I just finished making this. It’s pretty delicious. I used freshly grated parmesan because I wanted to follow the recipe exactly. The only problem I had was the turkey meatballs falling apart while browning them. I wonder if they needed an egg to bind them. Was the egg left out of the recipe accidently? I’ve made turkey meatballs before and never had this problem. I think next time I’ll just bake them. Thank you for the recipe.

I’m so glad you tried this recipe, Joanne! The egg was not left out accidentally, but you can certainly add a beaten egg if you prefer. 🙂

Thank you for responding. I just froze 1/2 of the soup. We really enjoyed this recipe. It’s perfect especially with the zucchini. I might add corn next time. I think it’ll be just as yummy. Thumbs up on this recipe.

That makes me so happy! The addition of corn also sounds amazing.

Can you please tell me what PANKO is and where can I find it? Also, is this soup LOW-CARB FRIENDLY?

Thanks in advance,

Panko is a Japanese version of breadcrumbs. You should be able to find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store. The recipe is pretty low carb, except for the pasta, but you could omit or substitute to your needs of course!

I definitely don’t think you are crazy for soup in summertime because this soup looks so good! I’m already brainstorming other summery vegetables I could throw in with it when I go to make it. Thanks!

Summer soups are great! Let us know how you like this one.

I made this and the entire family loved it. Almost too much… They kept going back for more. We’re a family of 4 and the leftovers were a bit skimpy on the meatballs. 😉

More meatballs next time haha!

I make a lot of soup, and this was possibly our favorite yet! The lemon gives it such a fresh flavor. I had most of the vegetables on hand from our weekly farm box delivery.

I love that you have a weekly farm box delivery service!

I used Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs. Are used Trader Joe’s vegetable broth low salt instead of chicken broth. I omitted the lemon juice. It was tasty. I also added a few frozen green beans As I want to the soup to have a lot of vegetables. I also added Parmesan cheese to the serving bowl. t was tasty.

I made this tonight and my picky sons ate it well! It was delicious and it makes me feel good that they ate vegetables! This recipe is a keeper!

I just made this soup and am typing this while eating. It tastes great! I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I substituted for what I didn’t have. I broiled meatballs in the oven, substituting ground pork. I can’t eat onions, so omitted them. I am one of those rare people who isn’t crazy about soups of any kind. This is a keeper, for me. I came across the website by way of Instagram a few months ago, and I haven’t been disappointed with any of the recipes I’ve tried. The husband and 2 teenagers love them, too.

Thank you, Chungah and your team. Great job.

Thank you so much, Karen! We appreciate your feedback!

I have a dairy sensitivity. Is parmesan cheese necessary or is there a substitute I can use? Thanks!

You can omit the parmesan.

I love this soup! I just made it for the first time . I’m addicted to all your recipes! This has been so much fun finding you and cooking your food . Fantastic !!

That’s so great, Cheryl! We’re happy you found us!

This soup is delicious! I made some slight changes just to match what I had in my pantry (frozen basil cube, orzo, pecorino romano cheese). My 16 month old is so picky and she ate two bowls! The spinach turned into mush so next time I may use kale or just omit it. Thank you for sharing this!

So great to hear, Sarah!

I just made this and it came out delicious! Only thing different was I already had homemade turkey meatballs in the freezer so I used those. I actually quartered them so they would fit the spoon! I also had one lonely fresh ear of corn so I added that once the soup was all done since it does not need to be cooked this time of year!

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