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Persian Wedding Soup with [Leftover] Meatballs
and carrots / fennel

Active: 40 Total: 40

An abundance of vegetables, leftover meatballs, and pearl couscous make this soup hearty and colorful.
Smarts: If the meatballs were baked ahead, this soup is a breeze. If you’re starting from scratch on the meatballs, just be sure to follow the prep step to make and bake the meatballs.



Persian Wedding Soup:
  • Onions, medium - 1 , chopped
  • Carrots - 8 oz , chopped
  • Fennel, small - 1 bulb , thinly sliced (discard green tops or chop them and use them as garnish)
  • Swiss chard - 6 leaves , stems and leaves chopped and stored separately (sub baby kale or baby spinach)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
  • Turmeric, ground - 1 tsp
  • Stock, any type - 6 cups
  • Pasta, pearl couscous - 1/3 cup (sub orzo or another small pasta shape)
  • Persian meatballs (ingredients listed separately) - ~20
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp
  • Parsley, flat-leaf - 3 Tbsp , leaves torn
  • Yogurt, plain or Greek - for serving
Persian Meatballs:
  • Onions, medium - 1/4 cup , finely diced or grated
  • Eggs - 1
  • Cumin, ground - 1 tsp
  • Coriander, ground - 1 tsp
  • Paprika - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon, ground - 1/8 tsp
  • Panko breadcrumbs - 1/4 cup
  • Beef, ground - 1 lb (preferably 85-90% lean)
  • Parchment paper - for baking


  1. Onions (for meatballs and soup) / Carrots / Fennel / Swiss chard / Garlic - Prep as directed. Store onions for meatballs in one container. Combine onions for soup, carrots, fennel, and stems from Swiss chard in one container. Store Swiss chard leaves and garlic in their own separate containers. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Make and bake meatballs - (Skip if meatballs were formed and baked ahead on Tuesday.) Whisk together eggs, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, black pepper, and ground cinnamon. Add panko and onions (portion for meatballs) and stir until combined. Add in ground beef and gently mix with a spoon or your hands. (To keep the meatballs tender, try not to overwork the mixture.) Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. Set meatballs out on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake meatballs at 400F / 204C until golden brown on top and cooked through, 13 to 16 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

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  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan with oil over medium-high heat.

  2. To heated oil, add onions (for soup), carrots, fennel, and Swiss chard stems. Saute until very tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with some salt as they cook. (Add some water if the pan starts to look dry.)

  3. To vegetables add garlic and turmeric and stir until fragrant, ~2 minutes.

  4. Pour stock into pot and bring to a simmer. When stock is simmering, stir in pearl couscous, meatballs, and Swiss chard leaves. Simmer everything together until pearl couscous is tender (check the package for recommended cook time).

  5. Remove soup from heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste and season with some salt and pepper.

  6. Divide soup between bowls and garnish with parsley and yogurt. Enjoy!



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