- 1 batch of mini vegan meatballs (recipe follows)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- A few twists of black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- ⅔ cup acini de pepe or orzo
- 3 ounces escarole, baby spinach, or another leafy green
- Freshly cracked black pepper
For the mini vegan meatballs:
- ¾ cup gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cup cooked lentils (I used the steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking
For the mini vegan meatballs
- Pour the old fashioned rolled oats into the bowl of your food processor and run until the oats have broken down into a fine meal. Transfer the oat flour to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseed and water and stir to combine. Set aside to allow the “flax egg” to set.
- Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets. Boil the cauliflower until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the cauliflower to the bowl of your food processor.
- Add the cooked lentils to your food processor and pulse several times to chop up the cauliflower and incorporate it with the lentils.
- Scoop the lentil and cauliflower mixture into the bowl with the oat flour. Add the parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt, and flax egg. Mix thoroughly to combine all of the ingredients and adjust the seasonings to taste (I added another pinch of salt).
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the vegan meatball mixture into small piles. Split each pile in two and roll the mixture between your palms to form the mini vegan meatballs. Each vegan meatball should be about ½ tablespoon.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Place the cauliflower lentil balls in the hot skillet, working in batches if needed, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. When done, the mini vegan meatballs should be golden brown and crispy on all sides. Set aside to cool.
For the soup
- Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and season with oregano, salt, and black pepper. Sauté the veggies for 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add the chopped garlic to the pot and sauté for a minute more.
- Pour the vegetable broth into the pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a boil, then add the orzo.
- Lower the heat slightly to maintain a gentle boil for 9 to 10 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Turn off the heat. Add the baby spinach to the soup pot and stir until wilted.
- Ladle the Vegan Italian Wedding Soup into bowls and add 5 or 6 mini vegan meatballs to each. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and enjoy warm.