Lemon Parmesan Meatball and Escarole Soup

14 January, 2021

This is one of my favorite simple, filling, wintertime soups. The meatballs freeze like little rockstars, but I don’t recommend freezing this soup with the pasta and escarole; they won’t thaw well.

Mafalda is a wide, flat pasta that looks like tiny pieces of lasagna, and I love it in this soup- but you can swap a different pasta shape or leave it out- it’s up to you!

If you plan on freezing, store the meatballs and broth in the freezer and add the pasta and escarole on the day you cook.

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

Lemon Parmesan Meatball and Escarole Soup

  • Author: Ruthy Kirwan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x



2 pounds ground pork

1 large egg

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground garlic

6 cups chicken broth

1 large head escarole, end trimmed and roughly chopped

8 ounces mafalda pasta

1 fresh lemon, juiced and zested

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest


  1. Combine the ground pork, egg, ⅔ cup grated parmesan, ground nutmeg, and ground garlic in a large bowl. 
  2. Use your hands or a spoon and mix until well combined. 
  3. Rinse and wet your hands, then roll the meatballs into small balls, about 2 inches wide. Transfer as you roll to a sheet pan or large plate. 
  4. Bring the chicken broth to a rolling simmer in a large pot over medium heat.
  5. Add the meatballs to the pot and cook 12-15 minutes, until the meatballs feel stiff and have cooked through (pull one out and break apart to check)
  6. Add the mafalda and cook until al dente.
  7. Add the escarole, stirring to cover with the broth. Cook until the escarole has wilted, about 5-8 minutes. 
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  9. Top with remaining parmesan and serve with a side of crusty bread. 


Prep it for later: 

  1. Mix and roll the meatballs. Transfer to a plate or a sheet pan that can fit in your freezer. Freeze for at least one hour or until they are stiff enough to be transferred to a large resealable bag or container. Alternatively, make the mix and transfer to a large resealable bag or container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, and then roll on the night of cooking. 
  2. Trim and chop the escarole and transfer to a resealable bag, pressing out any excess air.
  3. Juice and zest the menon and transfer to a small resealable container. 

Meatballs will last for up to 3 months in the freezer, or for 2-3 days in the fridge. Escarole and lemon juice will last for about 4-5 days in the fridge (lemon juice for likely longer, but I’ve never tried it for longer!)


You’ll need: 

1 resealable bag or container of either rolled meatballs, or meatball mix to roll on the night of cooking

1 bag of chopped escarole

1 small container of lemon juice and zest


Prepare from prepped:

  1. Bring the chicken broth to a rolling simmer and add the meatballs (you don’t have to thaw first)
  2. Cook until the meatballs are feeling stiff and cooked, about 12-15 minutes (may be longer if cooking from frozen)
  3. Stir in the escarole and cook until wilted, about 5-8 minutes. 
  4. Remove the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  5. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and serve with a side of crusty bread.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe rating


With 65+ recipes made in 45 minutes or less, using only a single sheet pan… this is the cookbook busy people need to conquer their weeknights in the kitchen!