This minestrone won honorable mention in the Homemade Soups Contest in The 1993 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Congratulations to Marie Rizzio of Traverse City, Michigan.
Combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, spices, spinach, and egg. Shape into balls; brown in heated oil. Set aside.
Bring beef stock, water, kidney beans, tomatoes, oregano, and basil to a slow boil; simmer 10 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and green beans; return to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add pasta and meatballs; boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allowing pasta to absorb liquid (15 minutes). Serve with grated cheese; garnish with cilantro.