Magnificent Meatball Stew

meatball stew

Meat­ball Stew uses the scrump­tious­ly spicy meat­balls I taught you to make, ear­ly in the fall. Pull some out of the freez­er or mix up a new batch to get the max­i­mum fla­vor from this deli­cious, com­fort-food stew. (You could, tech­ni­cal­ly, buy a bag of frozen meat­balls to use in this recipe. But, I promise you will not expe­ri­ence the same depth of savory kick as with my orig­i­nal meat­balls.) If you’re like me and always keep some of those meat­balls in the freez­er, this recipe will go togeth­er, quickly.

Meat­ball Stew will warm you to your toes on cold win­ter days. It will fill your home with warm, spicy aro­mas and it makes enough to have left­overs for lunch, tomorrow.


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meatball stew

Magnificent Meatball Stew

  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 55 min­utes
  • Yield: 10-12 serv­ings 1x


  • 22 ½ lbs frozen meat­balls (at least 30) from my recipe (Buy a bag of frozen if you for­got to make these.)
  • 1 lb small pas­ta (I use dital­i­ni, but small shells would also work)
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 Table­spoon beef bouil­lon (I use Bet­ter than Bouil­lon brand.)
  • 1 lb car­rots, minced
  • 6 stalks cel­ery, minced
  • 2 lg (or 3 medi­um) onions, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced, or crushed, tomatoes
  • 3 (8 oz) cans toma­to sauce
  • 1 Table­spoon minced garlic
  • 1 Table­spoon Ital­ian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 tea­spoon black pepper


  1. Mince/grind the car­rots, cel­ery and onion in the *food proces­sor (or by hand, if preferred).
  2. Put minced veg­gies in the bot­tom of a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  3. Add toma­toes, toma­to sauce, bay leaf, Ital­ian sea­son­ing, salt and pepper.
  4. Add beef stock.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat.  After the mix­ture begins boil­ing, reduce the heat to medi­um and allow to sim­mer for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 min­utes add the meat­balls. Stir to sep­a­rate and then allow to con­tin­ue heat­ing through for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in the pas­ta and allow to con­tin­ue cook­ing until pas­ta is cooked to al dente.  Stir fre­quent­ly to pre­vent the pas­ta from stick­ing to the bot­tom of the pan and scorching.
  8. Serve warm with crusty bread and a big green salad.
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Soup, Stew
  • Cui­sine: Ital­ian

Prepping the Vegetables

How you prep your veg­gies is going to depend on how your fam­i­ly likes them in soup. If I’m mak­ing veg­etable soup, then I slice and chop the veg­eta­bles in larg­er chunks and pieces to make them the star of the bowl. But, for my fam­i­ly, I typ­i­cal­ly hide all the exquis­ite fla­vor and nutri­tion of veg­gies in the broth of my soups and stews. 

In this recipe the meat­balls are the star, with the pas­ta play­ing a close sec­ond in its sup­port­ing role. Most of my fam­i­ly would turn up their noses at large pieces of veg­eta­bles float­ing around with them. No wor­ries, though. My solu­tion to not los­ing one gram of the nutri­tion and fla­vor that veg­gies bring to the table is to grind/mince them in my *food proces­sor.

By adding them to the pot in such a tiny form, they lit­er­al­ly melt into the sim­mer­ing broth and no one even knows they’re there. Win for vit­a­mins and min­er­als; and win for pleas­ing every palate.

So you decide what works best for your fam­i­ly. This recipe was prepped with all the veg­gies minced up fine. And there are more than TWO pounds of them! It’s deli­cious stew, friends!

How to Make Meatball Stew

Start by prep­ping the veg­eta­bles. I had to do two batch­es in my food proces­sor. I put the veg­gies in raw, with no added any­thing (not even a drop of water). The food proces­sor lit­er­al­ly ground them for me. P.S. You can add oth­er veg­gies, too. Have a bell pep­per or some zuc­chi­ni that need used? Add them. It only adds more fla­vor and health-build­ing nutri­tion. Go for it!

When the car­rots, cel­ery and onions (the stan­dard veg­gie base of every soup I make) are minced, put them in a soup pot or Dutch oven with salt, pep­per, Ital­ian sea­son­ing, minced gar­lic and a bay leaf.

veggies and seasonings for meatball stew

Then add the petite diced toma­toes and toma­to sauce. I use petite diced toma­toes for the same rea­son I mince all the oth­er veg­eta­bles. They’ll melt away into the broth. Crushed toma­toes should work like that, as well.

add tomatoes and tomato sauce

Final­ly, stir in the beef broth and bouil­lon. As you can see in the pho­to, below, my 4 quart dutch oven was­n’t quite big enough to han­dle this recipe. There aren’t even meat­balls or pas­ta in there, yet. At that point, I trans­ferred to my favorite stock pot and every­thing worked a lot easier. 

stir in beef broth

The Cooking

Begin cook­ing the broth on high heat until it comes to a boil. Once it’s boil­ing, reduce the heat to medi­um and allow the broth and veg­gies to sim­mer for about 30 min­utes. At the end of 30 min­utes you could put your broth through a blender (I use a *stick blender for those kinds of jobs.) for 100% smooth­ness, but I find that the major­i­ty of veg­gies have already “dis­ap­peared”.

Add the meat­balls, (it’s okay if they’re frozen), and let them start warm­ing through for about 15 min­utes. Then add your pasta.

I use Dital­i­ni Pas­ta in Meat­ball Stew. Any shape of small pas­ta should be good, how­ev­er. The small shells would prob­a­bly be good, too.

Con­tin­ue to sim­mer the Meat­ball Stew on medi­um heat, until the pas­ta is cooked al dente (soft, but with a lit­tle bite to them — not mushy).

Serve your stew with some crusty bread and a big green sal­ad. This is the din­ner that all of us want to come home to on cold win­ter nights. Hav­ing meat­balls pre-made and wait­ing in the freez­er, makes it simple.

Enjoy, my friend!

meatball stew

The Leftovers and More Soup Recipes

This soup will keep in the fridge for about 7 days. Like most soups and stews, the fla­vor gets even bet­ter the longer it sits. The pas­ta has a ten­den­cy to soak up more and more broth, though, so it becomes real­ly thick. It WILL heat up in the microwave, that way. My per­son­al pref­er­ence, though, is to thin it with a lit­tle beef stock or water before I reheat mine, so I can enjoy it in a lit­tle more “soupy” form.

If you’re look­ing for more great recipes to keep you warm this win­ter, try this Jalapeno Chick­en and Corn Chow­der.

jalapeno chicken and corn chowder

Or make a batch of my Creamy White Chick­en Chili. Yum!

white chicken chili

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