You’ll want kale, white bean and meatball soup when the thermometer dips
Today the thermometer dipped into the 40s! Ok, it was 49 degrees and it stayed there for about 10 seconds, but still. It’s a heck of a lot cooler than normal for us here in the tropics. This weather calls for something warm and homey. Soup. It’s practically required.
I made this soup with my eight-year-old self in mind. Because in addition to all the standard healthy, good-for-you veggies, it’s also loaded with tasty, soft meatballs!
It kind of reminds me of those cans of Chef Boyardee that I so longed for (but rarely got) when I was a kid. You know the ones with those bite-sized meatballs. This soup feels like a grown-up version of that.
Of course, the nostalgia of those childhood favorites are often better when left to our memories. The last time I bought canned pasta was during our 10-day camp-out during Hurricane Wilma. The reality of overcooked pasta in a bland and tasteless tomato sauce didn’t match my recollection – and the mini-meatballs didn’t do anything to improve it.
That’s not the case here. This hearty soup boasts real flavor! Tender carrots and celery with creamy white beans and farm fresh kale add depth and chew to the soup. Orzo pasta satisfies the noodle requirement. But what makes this a standout to me — are the meatballs.
These little turkey orbs are soft and flavorful. I used ground dark-meat turkey, grated onion and a little oatmeal to keep them tender and moist and added grated parmesan, a few tablespoons of tomato ketchup and some dried basil to round out the flavor. Nom, nom, nom!
Try this sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese for an added salty bite. You’ll be making this all winter long!
kale, white bean and meatball soup
For turkey meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 onion divided
- 1/3 cup oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots peeled and large chop
- 1 stalk of celery diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can small white beans or navy beans 15.5 ounces, rinsed and drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes 15.5 ounces
- 3 cups fresh kale tough stems removed, chopped
- 1/2 cup orzo pasta
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve the onion lengthwise. Peel the papery skins off. Dice one half of the onion and set aside for later. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the other half of the onion, discarding the root.
In a medium bowl combine grated onion, oatmeal, egg, ketchup, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Stir until well combined. Add ground turkey and using your hands mix well until mixture is thoroughly combined.
Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Scoop out a small spoonful of turkey mixture and roll into one inch balls. (I used a small cookie scoop to achieve uniform meatballs). Bake meatballs for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large dutch oven, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the diced half of the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and bay leaves and heat the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add beans, tomatoes, kale, orzo, meatballs and red pepper flakes (if using). Simmer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired. Serve with croutons to sprinkle on soup or crispy breadsticks on the side.