A longtime vegetarian (and soup lover), Jennifer Lang of Oakland Park, Fla., was inspired to make a veg version of Italian wedding soup, she says, “because I’d see it on restaurant menus, and I could never order it because it always had meat.” This recipe received an honorable mention in our 2008 Reader Recipe Contest.
1. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and minced garlic; sauté 5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Stir in carrot and celery, and cook 5 minutes more, or until onion is soft and just beginning to brown. Add oregano, basil, and parsley, and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add ditalini, and cook at low boil 5 minutes, or half of cooking time stated in ditalini package directions. Add meatballs, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add remaining garlic clove, and crush with wooden spoon in oil while heating. Add spinach; cook 3 to 5 minutes, turning constantly so spinach becomes evenly coated and wilted, but still bright green. After meatballs have simmered, add spinach and lemon juice to soup, and season with salt and pepper.