Eating for Life | Italian Wedding Soup

Eating for Life | Italian Wedding Soup marries kale, turkey

Using ground turkey and chopped kale puts a trendy twist on the classic soup.

Updated: 2013-01-14T17:45:53Z


The Kansas City Star

There are probably as many variations on Italian Wedding Soup as there are Italian nonnas.

But when you boil it down, there are two main ingredients: meatballs and greens. Add a little pasta to the meat and greens for a fine marriage of ingredients, or minestra maritata , that has been mistakenly translated into “wedding” soup.

The Star’s take is leaner than many recipes floating around online. The meatballs are made from ground turkey instead of a beef and pork combination. Some recipes pre-cook the meatballs and drain the fat. We bake them to render the fat. The greens used can range from spinach to endive to escarole, but we chose kale, a nutritious green that is showing up routinely in the produce section.

•  Shopping tips: This recipe was tested with ground turkey, but you could use ground chicken.

For convenience, some stores offer bags of fresh chopped greens, but the recipe is flexible. We tested the recipe with fresh kale and frozen collard greens.

We prefer pepe pasta, but small star pasta or orzo could be substituted.

Italian Wedding Soup

Makes 8 servings


3/4 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 egg or egg substitute to equal 1 egg


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

10 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) bag chopped fresh or frozen kale (or 1 head, about 12 cups)

3/4 cup pepe pasta, uncooked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, cheeses and egg. Form into 30 to 40 small (1-inch) meatballs.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until meatballs are lightly brown and cooked through.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 5 to 6 minutes until tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and add kale. Cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and cook an additional 8 minutes. Add cooked meatballs and cook for 5 minutes.

Per serving: 240 calories (34 percent from fat), 11 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 399 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed exclusively for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

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