Groentesoep met balletjes

One of the many perks of writing this blog is receiving and responding to emails from readers. Some of you comment on the articles, others reminisce about the memories a dish brings back, and yet others ask for a specific recipe. Soup must be in the air, so to say, as several requested "soep met balletjes", soup with meatballs, this last week.

Holland's cuisine knows many soups, from the sturdy thick split pea soup to a brothy, light, appetite-arousing groentesoep, or vegetable soup, like today's recipe.  A standard item in groentesoep are, besides the vegetables, these so-called soup balls, or soepballetjes. Not the big softball-size meatballs, or gehaktballen, that the Dutch serve for dinner, but bitesize balletjes the size of marbles. 

The meat used for these fleshy globes is "half-om-half", half pork and half beef. The fattiness of the pork makes sure that the meatballs stay juicy and tender, and the beef adds body and flavor. Omas, or grandmas, usually had a "pannetje soep" on the back of the stove, simmering, and many of us associate soup with Sunday afternoon visits to grandma's house. Soup is still a favorite starter for an evening meal or a Sunday lunch, and an easy and affordable dish to feed a family with.

Practically any kind of soup will benefit from these soepballetjes, whether they're stock-based or thick, puréed soups. You may consider rolling enough to freeze so you can have them at hand at any moment. Just a thought!

Today's soup is a simple vegetable soup: use either store-bought bouillon cubes to make the eight cups of stock, or make your own. Select a variety of chopped vegetables (typical Dutch soup vegetables are leeks, cauliflower, carrots and celery) or, if you're in a pinch, even a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables will do.

Groentesoep met balletjes
8 oz of ground pork
8 oz of ground beef
1 tablespoon of panko or breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
8 cups of bouillon stock
2 cups of vegetables

Mix the meats with the breadcrumbs, the salt, pepper and nutmeg until well blended. Roll small meatballs the size of a marble.

In the meantime, heat the bouillon stock to a slow boil. Add the fresh vegetables and simmer for a good twenty minutes. Put several soepballetjes at a time in the bouillon, wait ten seconds, then add some more, until they're all in the soup. The meatballs are done when they start to float, within a minute or two.

Taste the soup, adjust seasonings as needed and serve warm. This is one of those soups that improves with time, so feel free to make a large pot!



  1. Ben niet zo soeperig, maar wel altijd soep op het fornuis bij Oma op zondag inderdaad. Vaak tomatensoep met balletjes, maar ook soms wel groentensoep of koninginnesoep met balletjes.

  2. Balletjes soep...zooooo lekker. Ik gebruik Honig's groente soep mix, stokbrood en een slaatje. Zalig!

  3. Looking for the chicken noodle mother use to.make for us
    Use to have a whole chicken in it and loads of vegs vegetables and the thick egg noodles can't seem to find the recipe anywhere.

  4. I have made this sooo many times & I never tire of it! Brings back many memories of my mum cooking it when I was young! My own kids grew up on it & now my grandkids are hooked! A very special soup indeed!!


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