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Chicken Spinach Meatball Soup with Broth and Rice

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

I have a few kitchen de-stressers that I employ when the days start to overwhelm me.  I’ll get in the kitchen and chop every single fruit and vegetable in my refrigerator (and usually emerge with this Marakesh Carrot Salad), I’ll make meatballs (usually turkey, always delicious), or I’ll stand at the kitchen counter, stare blankly into space and thoughtlessly eat whatever salty snack food I have in my cupboard (usually popcorn, sometime cheetos).  

This week, coming off the Thanksgiving holiday and launching into full-trottle holiday madness has me a little wide-eyed, so I’ve taken to the meatball, making wonderfully flavorful balls in a very simple broth with rice.  

Comfort food, de-stress, meatball production… we’ll all get through this together.  Promise. 

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

Here’s what our kitchen counter will look like… except way more messy, because I gussied this up to make my life look much more put together than it actually is.  

Ground chicken (you could also use ground turkey), onions and garlic, lemon zest and breadcrumbs, mustard, and parmesan cheese.  

For mega flavor we’re also adding a box of frozen spinach, coriander, fresh grated nutmeg, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Because our broth is so simple we’re turning up the volume with our meatballs… which… is that even ok to say?  

Turnt up.   That’s definitely not ok to say.  I better hit ‘publish’ fast.  

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

Hallelujah to a box of frozen spinach!  The earthy spinach is defrosted easily and adds bulk and vegetable vitamins to our meatballs.  A kick of Dijon mustard and lemon zest really compliment the spinach flavor.  

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

A wooden spoon will only get us so far.  

We have to get in there with our hands to break up the spinach clumps and incorporate all of the breadcrumbs and egg.  No need to be shy! 

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

I used this cookie scoop to shape the spinach-y meatballs before baking.  Those scoops are a dang life-saver.  Not literally.  They don’t know CPR. 

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

Very good chicken stock is the key to this simple soup.  Essentially we’re floating meatballs in stock with rice, so… the stock has to be really delicious.  If it’s not homemade, I really love this chicken stock base.  Much deeper flavor than the boxed stock.  

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

I added finely diced onions, sliced garlic, a bay leaf, and a big dose of fresh lemon juice to the chicken stock.  Just to layer flavors, and enhance the flavor of the meatballs.  

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

I used a round biscuit cutter to shape white rice, because I’m nothing if not incredibly fancy.  

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Broth and Rice

Warm broth and roasted meatballs to surround the rice.  Parsley and salty parmesan for soup enhancement.  

This is a cozy-warm dish.  Supremely comforting without being overly rich and overbearing.  It’s good vibes and that counts for a lot this time of year.

For leftover and reheating purposes, I would store the rice separate from the broth and meatballs.  Re-heat separately, then ladle the soup over the warmed rice.  You certainly can store the the soup together, rice and all… the rice will puff as it absorbs as much liquid as it can.  Equally delicious, just depends on how mushy you like your rice.

Chicken and Spinach Meatballs with Rice in Broth
Serves 4
Comfort and warmth! Simple meatball and broth soup. Flavorful and delicious.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
For the Meatballs
  1. 1 pound ground chicken
  2. 1 box frozen spinach, thawed and water pressed out
  3. 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  6. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  7. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  9. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  11. 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  12. 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  13. 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  14. 1 large egg
  15. 3 tablespoons whole milk
For the Soup
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  3. 1 clove garlic, sliced
  4. 6 cups good chicken broth
  5. 1 dried bay leaf
  6. 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  7. 2 cups cooked white or brown rice
  8. salt (not very much) and pepper
  9. fresh parsley and shaved parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. To make the meatballs, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl bowl combine ground chicken, thawed and pressed spinach, onion, garlic, mustard, lemon zest, salt, peppers, coriander, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, and cheese. Stir until just combined. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk. Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture and use your hands to incorporate well, breaking up the spinach and making sure that all of the ingredients are evenly mixed. Use a cookie scoop to scoop heaping tablespoonful balls onto the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Space balls about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Makes about 30 meatballs.
  4. Make the broth while the meatballs bake. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and softened, about 6 minutes, stirring often. Add the sliced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and lemon juice. Bring to a very low simmer.
  5. Add the cooked meatballs to the broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. To serve, spoon a small amount of rice into the bowl. Ladle in broth and meatballs. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese. Enjoy!
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