Meatball Soup with Cabbage and Barley

Mon mari and I agree on most foods.

We disagree on soup.

He likes a puréed soup either as a first course or as an accompaniment to his sandwich for lunch.

I like a puréed soup as a first course but for lunch, I want a big bowl of chunky soup with nothing else.

If I make soup for dinner (with his reluctant agreement – I only do it a few times a year) I like chicken noodle or turkey wild rice or beef vegetable…. And the broth is my favorite part.

If we have one of those, he’ll happily eat all the meat, vegetables, noodles, rice…. and leave the broth.

He would prefer clam chowder or minestrone or something that’s not soup.


Regardless of what else I put in the soup, if there are meatballs in it he’ll be happy.

Chicken Meatball Noodle Soup? It has possibilities…….

Meatball Soup with Cabbage and Barley

Total time: 60 minutes


  • 16oz (480gr) ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs ketchup
  • 6 cups (48oz, 1440ml) beef stock
  • 2 cups (16oz / 480ml) tomato juice
  • 2 cups (15oz,450gr) whole tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
  • 1 3/4 cups (15oz, 450gr) white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups Savoy or green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin

Meatball, Cabbage and Barley Soup


  • In large Dutch Oven (soup kettle) heat the beef stock and tomato juice over medium-high heat.
  • Mix egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin and ketchup.
  • Add ground beef and mix well.
  • Form into small meatballs, 1″ (2.5cm) in diameter, set aside.
  • When stock/juice is simmering, add vegetables, herbs and spices. Cover and simmer 15 minutes..
  • Add meatballs and simmer – keeping them separate until they are starting to cook.
  • Add barley, cover and simmer 20 minutes longer, or until done. If you use regular pearl barley, add with the vegetables.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve.

Print Recipe

Fortunately, most soups freeze well.

Now that the Christmas breads and cookies are out of the freezer I can make soup and freeze it for my own lunch on these cold winter days.

With the soup I made Cheese Drop Biscuits.

Cheese Biscuits

You really can’t make a biscuit more easily than these…. Stir, drop and bake – 20 minutes and you’re eating.

Now, about the cold winter…..

After growing up in Wisconsin, having fingers and toes and knees frostbitten, being snowed in for days at a time, shoveling tons of snow and having no power during blizzards, I assure you, I understand cold weather.

I just don’t want to experience it any longer.

I’ve converted wholeheartedly to Celsius.  When it’s 0 Celsius here, it’s very cold… even if it’s a mere 32 Fahrenheit.

0 degrees is 0 degrees.

So there….

Today was cold – 10 C (50 F)…. Not very cold, just cold.

All of you currently enjoying the bitter cold in North America – you have my sympathy and my empathy…..

But I’m not trading.

4 thoughts on “Meatball Soup with Cabbage and Barley”

  1. I’ve made Chicken Meatball Soup before, with ground chicken. I make meatballs with it then continue with a brothy soup. I don’t make it very often like that though because my DH is one of those “if it’s not beef, it’s not food!” people. But he tries. He usually eats most of it so it can’t be that bad 😉

    I’ll have to try your soup either Monday or Tuesday. Monday our high will be 4 and Tuesday, 2.

  2. nightsmusic, I could eat soup all winter long – and if I make it I usually end up eating most of it myself. My DH is ‘if it’s in a bowl it’s not food’ person – but he does love meatballs./

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