This Italian Vegetable Soup with Ricotta Dumplings is an easy, flavorful, healthy meal that's perfect for that transition from winter to springtime! It's also vegetarian, 21 Day Fix approved and Weight Watchers friendly!
Hey guys! I know. It's been a while. I won't wax on about this or anything, but it's been a long season of big changes that has culminated in me taking my first blog photos in our forever home just this week and man did it feel good!
Anyway, I hope you guys don't think it's weird that I'm putting out a soup recipe at the end of March. I know we're all in that hope-springs-eternal phase of thinking that it's about to be summer any day now, but here in the O-H, it literally snowed the day before yesterday, so soup is still sounding kind of perfect to me. Here's to hoping you feel the same!
Plus I've been working on it for a minute and was too excited to share it with you to save it for next fall, so there's that.
You guys, the Italian vegetable soup portion of this recipe is basically a super yum bean and pasta-less minestrone (anyone else as minestrone obsessed as me?!) and then you add in the most tender, delightful dumplings ever. It's so good!
My daughter actually said we needed to make the dumplings more often and they even got her to eat the veggie soup (which normally would've been a no-go), so it was a huge mama win.
Ok, let's do a little Q&A and then I'll show you how to make it!
First and foremost, you may be wondering...
What are ricotta dumplings?
Ricotta dumplings are like lighter, way-easier-to-make gnocchi! Personally I love gnocchi, but don't have it very often because it's so darn heavy - these dumplings are such a great, yummy alternative (that gets in some good protein)!
I adapted these dumplings from Jacques Pépin's Ricotta Dumplings with Red Pepper Sauce recipe, and they're a mixture of ricotta cheese, whole wheat flour, romano cheese, egg, and seasonings. They're super easy to mix together and cook in minutes. You can't beat it.
And by the way, they're incredible in this Italian Vegetable Soup (or this Lemon Chicken Noodle Soup instead of the noodles!), but they're also delish with your favorite tomato sauce as a gnocchi sub! We've been doubling the dumplings and having them one night in soup and another night in tomato sauce - so good!
Can I cook the ricotta dumplings in the pot of soup?
Technically you could, but I chose not to because it would cause a couple of issues.
For one, small pieces of the dumplings will float off of them while they're boiling and get into your soup. It's not pretty and it might be annoying texturally for some people.
And for two, the dumplings soak up a bunch of liquid and it would throw off the balance of your broth (you'd end up having to add a lot more vegetable broth, seasoning and tomato paste).
Can I make this Italian vegetable soup with different veggies?
Yes! Something I love about this recipe is that you can make it with whatever veggies you've got on hand! It's such a great clean-out-the-fridge soup! Just be sure to cook any harder veggies at the beginning when the onions go in, and throw in any frozen veggies or greens in at the end!
Can I make Italian vegetable soup with ricotta dumplings in the Instant Pot?
You can if you like, but to me, since you have to cook the dumplings separately anyway and the whole thing doesn't take that long, I usually just make it on the stove.
If you were going to make the soup portion in the Instant Pot, I would basically follow the stovetop instructions - saute the veggies, stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning and tomato paste, then the broth. Pressure cook (or use the manual button) for zero minutes, release the pressure immediately (quick release), check the seasonings, add in the frozen veggies and spinach and put back on saute and let simmer until the spinach is fully wilted.
You can multitask by making the dumplings while the pot is cooking.
Is this Italian vegetable soup with ricotta dumplings recipe healthy?
Yes! It's loaded with veggies (2 ½ servings of veggies per serving!), has a good amount of protein from the ricotta, plus it's vegetarian, 21 Day Fix approved and includes your personal Weight Watchers smart points link!
Hot tip for my 21 Day Fixers: 2 cups of vegetable broth = 1 green?! - using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth in soup recipes is a great hack for adding some extra greens if you have a lot to get in in a day!
Can I make ricotta dumplings with 1:1 gluten-free flour?
I don't see why not!
How to store healthy Italian soup with ricotta dumplings?
I prefer to store the dumplings separately from the soup because it makes it easier to portion (plus then they won't soak up your broth), but that's up to you. They'll both keep for 4-5 days in the fridge.
Can you freeze 21 Day Fix Italian vegetable soup and ricotta dumplings?
Absolutely! I would freeze them separately though. When you freeze the dumplings, lay them out on a sheet pan covered in parchment or wax paper, let them freeze, then remove them and you can stick 'em in a freezer bag or other freezer-friendly container.
How to make Italian Vegetable Soup with Ricotta Dumplings:
Saute your veggies.
Add in your garlic, Italian seasoning, and tomato paste.
Next, add in your frozen veggies, baby spinach and broth, letting this simmer while you cook the dumplings.
To make the dumplings, whisk together all of the dumpling ingredients, then, using a standard cookie scoop (1 ½ inches in diameter), drop them into boiling water in a single layer, let cook for five minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all dough is used.
Serve those delightfully delish dumplings with your soup and enjoy!
If you guys give this Italian Vegetable Soup with Ricotta Dumplings recipe a try, please let me know what you think!! You can leave a comment below or tag me on Insta @thefoodieandthefix. Or if you’re in my private Facebook group, I’d love to see a photo of your creation in there! I hope you enjoy ♥
Don’t forget to save this Italian Vegetable Soup with Ricotta Dumplings recipe to Pinterest! ⇓
Italian Vegetable Soup:
- 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup celery, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups carrots, chopped (you could also use frozen and add them in at the same time as the green beans!)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 ½ cups frozen cut green beans
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 ½ Tbs romano cheese, finely shredded or grated
- ½ cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tbs chopped parsley or basil (totally optional, I make them without all the time!)
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus some pepper to season
- 1 egg
- Heat a large pot of water to boil for the dumplings (or a medium pot if you only have one large because you'll need that for the soup!)
- In a large pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil until hot. Add the celery, carrots, onions and zucchini to the pot, stirring occasionally and cooking until tender. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
- Stir in the Italian seasoning and the tomato paste and let that cook another minute, then add the vegetable broth, frozen green beans and the spinach and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so (I just let this go while I'm making the dumplings and by the time they're done, the soup is good to go!). Be sure to give it a taste to check the seasonings, adding a little extra salt and pepper if needed - I love lots of pepper in this one!
- To make the dumplings: Whisk together the ricotta, romano, flour, salt and pepper, and herbs, if using. Taste to check the seasoning and add a little extra salt and pepper if necessary. Whisk in your egg. The dough will be really sticky.
- Using a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop (that's just a standard cookie scoop size), drop scoopfuls of dough into the boiling water in one layer. Set a timer for 5 minutes and remove the dumplings using a slotted spoon. Repeat until all dough is used, you should get about 16 dumplings.
- To each bowl of soup (about 1 ¾ cup), add 4 dumplings. Serve with a little extra cheese and/or herbs if you like (just be sure to count the cheese)!
*Tip: this is a great clean-out-your-fridge soup! Use your favorite combo of veggies or whatever you've got on hand!
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving:
- Soup: 2 ½ Green, ½ Tsp
- Dumplings: ½ Red, ½ Yellow and ⅛ Blue (I don't usually count this small amount, but count it if ya like!)
Weight Watchers Smart Points Link:
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 ¾ cups soup; 4 dumplings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 225Total Fat: 10gCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 13g