Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup

Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup

Yes, you could open a can of Campbell’s or Progresso, and yes it would be easier, faster etc.  But it wouldn’t be better than this Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup.  It wouldn’t have tender hand-rolled turkey meatballs, or slide down your throat orzo pasta. It wouldn’t be loaded with fresh veg and it sure wouldn’t have a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.  Yes, you could go the quick route, or you could go the good route — and make a whole pot of soup for the family.

prepping meatballs

If you have kids (or even if you don’t) they’ll appreciate the bite-sized turkey meatballs strewn throughout this soup.  I mean, it’s one thing to add chunks of chicken or stew meat — it something else entirely to get these tasty little orbs in your bowl.  

sautéed carrots onions, celery and mushrooms

Sautéed mushrooms, celery, onions and carrot act as the starting point for this soup.

adding meatballs broth and tomatoes to pot.

Once they’re tender, add the broth, canned tomatoes and meatballs to simmer.

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tying up parmesan rind

If you happen to have some parmesan rinds, now is the time to use them.  Tie them up in cheese cloth and dunk them in the soup for a simmer.  The rind adds flavor and depth to the broth.  Discard the cheese sachet before serving though…

adding kale and orzo to soup

Toss in the kale and orzo at the end of the simmer and let them cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, then ladle into bowls and serve with a flurry of parmesan cheese.

Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup with wooden spoon

Along with a crust of bread or grilled toasts, this is a meal that gets slurped up in no time.  FYI –  if you have leftovers, the orzo pasta will continue to suck up the broth even as it cools.  I usually add more chicken broth when I’m reheating it the next day.

Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup with charred bread

More meatballs and meatball soups you might like:

Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup with spoon

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4 from 10 votes

Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup

Who doesn’t like to find a meatball or two in a cup of soup?  This hearty, satisfying blend with kale and veg is good for you too!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword meatballs, turkey meatballs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8


For Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion divided
  • cup oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated

For Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 2 carrots peeled and large chop
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock from rotisserie chicken or low-sodium broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ounces small white beans or navy beans 15.5 ounces, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes 15.5 ounces
  • 3 cups fresh kale tough stems removed, chopped
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • parmesan rind wrapped in cheesecloth and secured by a kitchen string (optional)

For Garnish

  • parmesan cheese grated, optional
  • fresh basil optional
  • croutons optional
  • breadsticks optional


  • 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 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 sliced mushrooms and saute until they give up their liquid and start to brown.  Add the reserved, diced half of the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken stock and bay leaf and heat the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add beans, tomatoes, meatballs, red pepper flakes and parmesan rind (if using). Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the kale and orzo and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until orzo is cooked and kale is tender.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired. Serve with croutons to sprinkle on soup or crispy breadsticks on the side.


Store leftovers sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 712mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5185IU | Vitamin C: 33.4mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg

“Pin It” For Later!

Need a healthy winter soup recipe? Kale, White Bean and Meatball Soup with orzo, mushrooms and tomatoes will fill you up! Healthier with turkey meatballs. #soup #wintersoup #fallsoup #meatball #turkeymeatballs #orzo #whitebeans #beansoup #homemadesoup #kale #healthysoup #mushrooms #chickenbroth #easysouprecipe

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  1. I added some fresh squeezed lime and lemon juice along with cayane and a touch of paprika. Came out amazing.

  2. 5 stars
    I am a soup nut! A master of the broth! LOL! And this soup looks fabulous! I must embrace kale though…spinach might be a good sub?

    1. Spinach is a great sub — but if you use it– wait until the VERY LAST MINUTE to add it. It wilts a lot faster than kale!

  3. This does sound delicious! And dipping the Parmesan rind in to simmer?! Oh the flavor!

  4. Soup is simmering as I type. Can’t wait for dinner! I will let you know how it turns out. I can say the meatballs are outstanding!

    1. Thanks for telling me! What time should I be over?

  5. Judging from the weather, this might be just the ticket for you both!

  6. 5 stars
    My wife is such a fan of soups… she would absolutely go gaga over this. Time for me to be a good husband and show her this… and then maybe actually make it for her too ๐Ÿ™‚ I know, I’m a true gentleman hahaha