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.
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 mushrooms, celery, onions and carrot act as the starting point for this soup.
Once they’re tender, add the broth, canned tomatoes and meatballs to simmer.
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…
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.
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
For Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 onion divided
- 1/3 cup oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 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 broth or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 15 oz. can small white beans or navy beans 15.5 ounces, rinsed and drained
- 1 14.5 oz. 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
- parmesan rind wrapped in cheesecloth and secured by a kitchen string (optional)
- 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.
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