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Dutch Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

Dutch Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

Dutch Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

A light and fragrant soup generously filled with vegetables, vermicelli and meatballs.
by Ena Scheerstra

Dutch Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

Vegetable soup (‘groentesoep’) is a clear soup, based on a vegetable or beef stock, filled with several vegetables, and sometimes vermicelli and meatballs (‘met balletjes’). In the past, a small bowl of soup was often served as an entree at dinner time, nowadays it is also served as a complete meal together with bread, or at lunch.

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Dutch Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

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4.3 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Ena Scheerstra
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


A light and fragrant soup generously filled with vegetables, vermicelli and meatballs.




  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp pepper corns
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • handful vermicelli
  • 200 g vegetables, sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (I like a mixture of parsley, chives, leaf celery and chervil)
  • salt
  • optional: bread


  • 300 g mince (I use a mixture of beef and pork)
  • 2 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp worcestershiresauce
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram



  1. Clean the vegetables for the broth, cut into large chunks.
  2. Place in a large cooking pot, add the other broth ingredients, and pour over 1 liter cold water.
  3. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Sieve the broth (you can store this in the fridge for 2-3 days).


  1. Make the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients and rolling small balls.
  2. Bring the broth to a simmer, add the meatballs, vegetables and vermicelli. Stir once, very carefully, to prevent breaking the meatballs.
  3. Cook with the lid partly on the pan until the meatballs start floating (this means they are cooked).
  4. Add the green herbs and season to taste with salt.
  5. Serve immediately, on its own or with some bread.


You can slice the vegetables that will fill the soup coarse or finely, according to your preference. You can use any vegetable you like, I used carrot, leek, celery and cauliflower. Other possibilities: peas, tomato, green beans, potato, celeriac, mushrooms, paprika, broccoli, etc. When you don’t have the time to make your own broth, you can use good quality vegetable stock cubes.

  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Category: Main
View Comments (16)
  • Ena –
    I discovered your blog while searching for a recipe for sugar bread. (And I am going to make your recipe sometime this summer when it’s cool and rainy and having the oven on will be welcome.) My grandparents immigrated the year before my father was born. They were from Beerta which, I believe, is very close to your hometown of Groningen. While I was visiting in the Netherlands I had the most delicious Speculaas. Here in the states you can sometimes run across the little windmill cookies that have a similar taste. But these were different. They were large (about the size of a salad plate), thick (about 1/4 inch) and crispy and crunchy. They were delightful. Is there any chance you’ll be posting a recipe for Speculaas? I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your blog and starting to try some recipes. Thanks for sharing!
    Judy DeBoer
    Minneapolis, MN, USA

  • Thanks a lot!
    Beerta is indeed quite close to Groningen, although I’ve never actually been there.
    I will definitely post a recipe for speculaas, because it is famous (and delicious!) Dutch food. Because it is more appropriate for the colder months, this will probably be somewhere in autumn/winter.
    The thick speculaas is called a “speculaasbrok”, literally a speculaas chunk, made with the same dough but rolled less thin and kept larger. You also have speculaas puppets, these are the same thickness as the chunks, but in the form of a puppet. Generally these are only available with Sinterklaas…

  • My daughter pointed me in your direction. We lived in Limburg for 8 years. I cook some Dutch food for my husband. It keeps him from getting really home sick. This recipe for soup looks so good and we miss the soup from there. Thanks and I’ll try all the recipes you post

  • Thank you for posting these recipes. this will the first year that Mom passed away. she always made meatball soup for our boxing day get together, now I am taking the tradition over. So I am glad that I found your recipe

  • My dad is from Groningen and my mom is from Friesland. I was born in Canada to Dutch families on both sides. I make a blend of both sides for my own recipe which is almost exactly the same as this. Thanks for sharing dear. I do add nutmeg to the meat mixture, but I make the meatballs about 1cm. Every bite you are guaranteed meat balls haha. If you can find GEHAKT KRUIDEN, thats all you need in your met balltjes. A requirement is fresh bread with Cumin Gouda on the side :) Proost

  • Is this similar to the Honig Groentesoep? My mother often made it for Sunday lunch. I made some from the package yesterday and it tastes like home. :) My mother is from Friesland, my father from Groningen. They met and married in Canada.

  • A favourite of my husband born in Leiden in 1944. I use ground turkey to make the meatballs. A melon ball scoop makes the job a little quicker. He likes the tiny baby shells rather than vermicelli! Frozen chopped kale makes a nice colourful addition.

  • My Dutch born mother use to make this for our family when I was young. It was one of my favourite Dutch dishes. Seeing your recipe has brought back many fond memories I can still taste mums soup. I’ll have to try can make it. I hope I do your recipe and my mums memory justice .
    Kind regards From Aussie Dutch girl.

  • Hi Ena

    I remember Oma cooking this in the 60’s in Nijmegen

    I thought the basis was a chicken broth with noodles but that was years ago

    I am going to give this a go as I remember the lovely aroma rather than the taste


    Dennis van Eldik

  • I just made this soup, but I also added chicken (leftover from the store bought already prepared savory chicken,) celery and vermicelli to the boxed
    julienne soup. It became a full meal.

  • Tip: bake the balls in a dry pan first then add to them to the water. This gives a bit more texturenand flavour to the meat I think.

  • The vegetables soup looks very tasty. I will make it and let you know. You are right that often we had a cup of soup before dinner. ( een bord Met soep!)


  • ik maak geregeld gehakt balletjes soep in Canada sinds 1955! Ben nu 86 jaar en ik maak nog steeds soep met gehak balletjes !

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