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Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage

Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage and vegetables is a healthy, hearty soup recipe! Easy to prepare and so comforting.
Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage

Remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

Toula’s father with the Windex? In a simile :  Carlo (my mom’s partner in crime) is to olive oil as Toula’s father is to Windex.  “Just drizzle a little olive oil on it” is Carlo’s motto.  

And when Carlo says “drizzle,” you “drizzle” because you know he knows what he’s talking about.

Carlo is Sicilian and the most animated person in the kitchen.  Constantly coming up with slow-cooked yummy meat recipes, he can make a lamb shank that will knock your socks off.  I admire Carlo’s way with meat and herbs as he really knows what herb is appropriate where.  

In his very Sicilian, throwing-around-pots-and-pans and chunking-off-ciabatta-and-cheese way, Carlo is an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn authentic Italian cooking. 

These are the things Carlo is master of:  lentil soup, chicken cacciatore, veal marsala, pizza, roasted chicken, and giving you an honest opinion. Oh, and he’s a history buff with a mean tennis serve.

Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage

Carlo is one of my favorite taste testers because the man does not have a lying bone in his body. 

He tells me when my recipe is not up to par and refuses to buy in to “healthified” desserts, which makes me try harder to make my “healthified” desserts even better to pass the Carlo standard.  

The man knows dairy, the man knows chocolate. The words “Healthy” and “dessert” do not walk into the same room when Carlo is present, bless his ice cream-loving soul.

So for your cooking sensei, as I’m sure you have one, create a comforting ode in an over-sized pot or pan and dedicate it to the Windex-spraying, olive oil-drizzling master of the kitchen.  

To Carlo, the man who always knows what to say and the food that goes with it.

More Healthy Soup Recipes:

Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage Recipe - easy, paleo, whole30, low-carb

Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Sicilian Meatball Soup with vegetables and cabbage makes for a hearty one-pot meal.


For the meatballs

  • 1.5 pounds ground elk, beef or turkey meat
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond flour, optional
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

For the soup

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cloved garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken, beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet or Syrah
  • Rind of parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ head of cabbage, core removed and discarded, sliced (OR 1 cup of uncooked macaroni/shell pasta)
  • 1 zucchini squash, chopped


To Make The Meatballs

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  2. Using your hands, smoosh ingredients together to combine
  3. Form medium-sized meatballs
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high
  5. Wait until skillet has heated up all the way then quickly place the meatballs on the skillet.
  6. Allow them to sear about 30 seconds, then roll them to their opposite side with a spatula or spoon and cook another 30 seconds.
  7. Remove skillet from the heat, place the meatballs on a plate and set aside.

To Prepare the Soup

  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the grapeseed oil and sauté the onion until beginning to brown.
  2. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and sauté another 3 minutes
  3. Add the herbs and stir
  4. Add the broth, wine, crushed tomatoes, and the rind of the parmesan cheese. Cover pot and bring to a full boil
  5. Reduce heat to a low boil, add the meatballs and cook about 3 minutes
  6. Add the cabbage and zucchini. Allow cabbage to cook down slightly, about 3 minutes.
  7. Cover the pot, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove the bay leaf and what’s left of the parmesan cheese rind and serve with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan on top.


If you choose to not add breadcrumbs, wait until soup has simmered for 20 minutes before adding the browned meatballs...if you do not add breadcrumbs, meatballs may turn out overcooked if you add them too early.

Traditionally, Sicilian Meatball Soup has some form of pasta, either macaroni or shell pasta. If desired, add dry pasta to the soup and cook until al dente or replace the cabbage with pasta.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving Calories 277Total Fat 15gUnsaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 5gFiber 3gProtein 30g
Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage

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Monday 27th of December 2021

Hi! Is this one of Carlos’s recipes?


Monday 27th of December 2021

Hi there! It's not Carlo's recipe, but it's a dish he's spoken about over the years :) xoxo


Wednesday 28th of November 2018

Making this soup, sounds delish but am confused by the “1/2 cup head of cabbage”. Is it really just a half cup or is it half a head? There’s a pretty big difference.


Wednesday 28th of November 2018

Hi Kathleen - my apologies for the confusion. It should be 1/2 head of cabbage or 1 cup of macaroni/pasta.


Wednesday 2nd of October 2013

Thank you for posting this recipe. This is one of the best soups I have ever had! Love the raisins in the meatballs! ♥


Monday 8th of April 2013

I am crying over this is SOOO good! Made it for supper tonight as I had some ingredients I needed to use up. Can't believe how good it is.... Can't wait until winter, will make it over and over and over. Have you tried to freeze it? It made a pretty good sized pot, just wondering if does ok after being frozen.


Monday 8th of April 2013

Hi Lois! I'm so glad you enjoyed the soup! I made the recipe many times over the winter, as it's definitely a belly-warmer and is so satisfying! I've never tried freezing it, and I want to say it would be fine to freeze but I'm not positive. Let me know if you try freezing it and if it ends up thawing okay! I've frozen other ground meat soups before and they have thawed fine, so hopefully this one follows suit. Thanks so much for the feedback and enjoy the rest of your evening! :)


Sunday 3rd of February 2013

Have this soup simmering on my stove as we speak. Needed to use up some leftover cabbage. Used half pork, half ground beef. My samples here and there have been delicious. My husband can't keep his spoon out! Only thought: directions don't say where to add the red wine. I added it to the sautéed veggies, prior to adding broth and crushed tomatoes. Thanks for a great recipe! (Found through foodgawker)


Sunday 3rd of February 2013

Susan, thanks for making the recipe and for letting me know about the red wine, I'll add it to the recipe now! I'm so happy you like the recipe so far and I really appreciate you taking the time to give me feedback!! Hope you're having an excellent weekend!

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