This vegetarian pasta soup with seitan meatballs is as hearty and delicious. Pasta shells are stuffed with a simple vital wheat gluten dough and simmered in a delicious vegetable stock until tender. Throw in a handful of chickpeas, chopped carrot and whatever other veggie you like for a soup that’s as comforting as a vegan chicken noodle soup!
You may never have seen a soup like this before, I certainly hadn’t until I moved to Spain and spent my first Christmas here. My husband introduced me to sopa de galets (in Spanish) or escudella (in Catalan) several years ago.
Sopa de galets is very far from being anything vegan as they use various animal parts to make the broth then other random animals parts to make the meatballs. But since sopa de galets in one of my husband’s favourite soups, and he gets especially annoying about it around Christmas time, we’ve been working on coming up with a great vegan version for the last several years now.
This difficulty with developing this recipe was coming up with a vegan meatball that could be stuffed inside the dry pasta shells and boiled in the soup without falling apart. After many trials and failures, the best way turned out to be to make homemade seitan meatballs.
Making seitan from scratch is actually really easy, you’ll just need a package of vital wheat gluten and whatever spices and seasonings you feel like. And if you don’t have a package of vital wheat gluten, you can actually make your own using regular flour.
Now, seitan has a very distinctive taste, which I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve ever had seitan before, so seasoning the dough correctly is imperative in order to prevent the flavour of the seitan from overwhelming the delicate flavour of the broth.
Miso paste gives it a good savoury umami backbone and smoked paprika give it a meaty flavour (“mountain taste” says my husband). To make the seitan dough, simply combine the dry ingredients, dissolve the miso paste with a small amount of your soup stock and pour it over the dry. Knead it together into a dough and tear off small portions to stuff inside the dry pasta shells.
The vegan meatball-stuffed pasta shells are simmered in vegetable stock until tender. You can use a boxed vegetable stock but making it from scratch is 10 times better. The supermarkets here sell packages of vegetables specifically for making stock (and they re-brand them as escudella vegetables around Christmas time) which generally contain a combination of carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery and leek.
I don’t add any oil to the vegetables and strain my stock through cheesecloth in order to get a wonderfully clear and flavoursome broth. You can serve this vegetarian pasta soup with just the seitan-stuffed shells in the broth or you can add a couple of vegetables – the choice is yours. I added chickpeas and a carrot. You can also reserve the stock vegetables and serve them on a plate on the side.
No matter how you choose to serve this vegetarian pasta soup with seitan meatballs, it’s a warm, comforting and hearty bowl of soup that you can enjoy not only at Christmas but all throughout the colder months!
- 700 grams mixed veggies for stock (I had a mix of carrots, turnips, parsnips, celery and leek)
- 2 litres (8 cups) of water
- 6 tablespoons (50 grams) vital wheat gluten
- 1 tablespoon white flour
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus a bit more for garnish
- Half a package of “galet” pasta or pasta shells
- ½ cup (90 grams) cooked chickpeas
- Roughly chop the veggies for the stock, place them in a large pot and cover with water. I used 2 litres, add more if your veggies are not totally covered and floating a bit. Bring to a boil then reduce to a bare simmer and simmer for 45 minutes.
- After the stock has been simmering for 30 minutes, start making the seitan. Combine the vital wheat gluten, flour, onion powder, paprika and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Put the miso paste in a separate bowl and add 5 tablespoons of the simmering stock. Mix well to dissolve the miso then add the garlic and parsley. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Knead for a minute to ensure it’s all well combined. Tear small portions off the seitan dough and stuff it inside the pasta shells.
- Once the stock has simmered for 45 minutes, strain it into another pot. I also strained it through a cheesecloth to get a super clear broth (optional). Bring it to a boil, add the stuffed pasta shells and chickpeas, partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the pasta for the length of time indicated on the package (mine needed 15 - 20 minutes).
- Taste the stock and add salt (I added ½ teaspoon). Additionally, you can chop and add any of the stock vegetables (I added a carrot) or serve them on a plate on the side. Serve the soup and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 872mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 11gSugar: 10gProtein: 27g
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