Italian Wedding Soup with Kale and Mini Meatballs

Italian Wedding Soup with Kale and Mini Meatballs

Servings: 6



  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs (made from any bread you have in the house, crumbed in a food processor)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsps minced fresh parsley
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 ½ tsps kosher salt
  • 3 cups thinly sliced kale, center ribs removed before slicing
  • 2 cups Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (if not available, replace with escarole)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 375° F. To make the meatballs, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Roll into approximately 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate.
  • To make soup, heat the oil in a thick-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for about 10 minutes, until golden, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking. Add the celery and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute over low heat. Add the chicken stock and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add kale and Savoy cabbage, lower heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bake meatballs for about 12 minutes (they don’t brown up as much in the oven as they would sautéed in a pan, but that’s okay). Remove from the oven and add to soup, simmering about 5 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Taste the soup and add more salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with a few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a vegetable peeler works great for this). 


This recipe appeared in Cape Cod LIFE April 2023. Recipe selected from Soups + Sides by Catherine Walthers. Follow @catherine_walthers on Instagram or see more at
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