Dutch Tomato Soup with Little Meatballs / Tomatensoep met Balletjes

Due to most days of the year being either cold, dark or rainy (or a lovely combination) in the Netherlands, we really do like our soups. Whether it’s vegetable soup, creamy mushroom soup, wintery erwtensoep, Indonesian soto ayam, or an autumnal pumpkin soup, most versions of this hot liquid meal are well received at the Dutch lunch- or dinner table. But while there are many loved soups and plenty new varieties appearing on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, I believe I am right in saying that a simple tomato soup might be one of the more popular ones. And for those that like a bit of meat in their lunch or dinner, the tomato soup with tiny little meatballs (and vermicelli, usually) is a real classic in particular. At least, it used to be when I was little and it definitely was one of mine and my mom’s favourites. A bowl of creamy tomato soup at a bistro, heated up stuff from a can or a bag, with or without meat – I liked them all as a child. Yeah, that list even includes that awful powdery stuff you only have to add boiled water to. Nowadays, I prefer to eat homemade tomato soup. Especially, when big, plump, ripe tomatoes are in season… even if that means cooking and eating hot soup on a hot summer’s day (you can technically serve it chilled as well, though).


My tomato soup here is made with a homemade vegetable stock, lots of summer tomatoes, a few other vegetables such as celery and carrot, plus those little meatballs, made with beef and pork mince, because I believe almost any soup can be improved by adding little meatballs to it (fun!). If you’d like the soup to have a bit more substance, you can also add a handful of cracked vermicelli, orzo, or other tiny pasta made for soups during the cooking process, or eat it from a bowl with crusty white bread slathered with salted butter, or even a scoop of steamed white rice.


Dutch Tomato Soup with Little Meatballs / Tomatensoep met Balletjes

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Delicious Dutch tomato soup with little meat balls made with ripe summer tomatoes and beef and pork mince
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:45 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

  • 1kg very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1 small carrot
  • 20g butter (not margarine), or olive oil
  • 60g tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, few sprigs of thyme and parsley tied together)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons sugar (depending on the tartness of the tomatoes)
  • 1.2l vegetable stock
  • -
  • For the little meatballs:
  • 350g mixed beef and pork (half and half) mince
  • 1 small egg
  • 40g breadcrumbs
  • salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Blanch tomatoes: In a stockpot, bring some water to a boil (about enough to cover the tomatoes half-way). Once the water is boiling, add the tomatoes and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for 4 - 5 minutes until the skins are slightly wrinkly or broken. Drain the tomatoes and leave to cool until safe to touch.
  2. In the meantime, whilst your tomatoes are cooling off, peel the carrot and onion and finely dice both. Thinly slice the celery and make a bouquet garni by tying 2 bay leafs, few sprigs of thyme and some parsley together with kitchen string.
  3. Once cool enough, peel the tomatoes and cut out the whitish core at the top. At this point you can also choose to remove seeds, by scooping them out - this results in a smoother soup (though, I keep them in).
  4. Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until the onion is translucent for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste and sauté for another minute until vegetables are coated.
  6. Now, add the peeled tomatoes, the bouquet garni, sugar and vegetable stock to the stockpot. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 25 minutes or until all vegetables are soft.
  7. Whilst the soup is simmering, combine mincemeats with the egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Roll into 1.5 - 2cm little meatballs. IF the mixture is very sticky, slightly wet your hands to make it easier to roll, or add a few more breadcrumbs.
  8. When the vegetables are soft, remove bouquet garni and use an immersion blender to process soup until smooth.
  9. Finally, add the little meatballs and allow to simmer in the soup for 3 – 4 minutes until cooked through.
  10. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste if necessary and serve warm.

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