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Melting Pot Soup

“I lived in Ethiopia until my sister and I were adopted by my mother. In Ethiopia many families do not have enough food to eat,” says Aster. “I like to cook and have learned to make healthy and delicious foods. I now live in New England and when the weather is cold our family makes soup together. We first made this soup on a cold snowy Sunday. We chopped many different vegetables, made turkey meatballs, and added beans and pasta. All of the flavors go really well together. This soup has many different ingredients mixed together so I call it Melting Pot Soup.” - Aster Toole, Age 10, Massachusetts

Makes 6 Servings


For the Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons dried parsley or ¼ cup fresh parsley

For the Soup:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pasta, such as rotini or farfelle
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • I medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup green beans, cut or broken into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 box frozen spinach (or 16 ounces fresh spinach)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. To make the Turkey Meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Mix well, form into 1-inch balls, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Fill a large pasta pot with water and bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the sweet potatoes and green beans, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir. Add the broth and tomatoes, cover, and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and kidney beans, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, spoon ⅓ cup cooked pasta into each bowl, then ladle the soup over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

421 calories; 9g fat; 53g carbohydrates; 37g protein

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