Minestrone made with green beans, peas, and zucchini tastes crisp and fresh, but it’s still a soup that should warm the soul, so I’m adding tiny meatballs, refined with arugula and lime, for that cozy, hearty feeling. It’s the German in me. I can’t help it.
- 14 ounces (400g) ground beef
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed, plus 1 large clove garlic, cut in half
- 2 ounces ounces (60g) arugula leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) freshly grated lime zest
- Fine sea salt
- Finely ground pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound (340g) trimmed mixed green vegetables (such as green beans, frozen peas, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or kale, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary)
- 4 1/4 cups (1 liter) homemade or quality store-bought vegetable broth, hot
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 spring onion (green part only), thinly sliced
- Combine the ground beef, crushed garlic, arugula, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 38 roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) meatballs.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the hot vegetable broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 4 to 6 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice.
- Divide the soup among deep bowls, sprinkle with the spring onion, and serve immediately.