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Italian Wedding Soup with Kale

Italian Wedding Soup with Kale is a lighter twist on a classic soup recipe. It’s easy to make and loaded with goodness, and the leftovers are terrific!

An overhead view of a small crock of Easy Italian Wedding Soup. There are chunks of carrots, torn bits of dark green kale, mini meatballs, israeli couscous, and a rich chicken broth. You can see a small block of Parmesan cheese in the upper righthand corner.

The first time I tested this recipe, I’d just had a REALLY bad haircut. Like … the world’s worst. I looked like a cocker spaniel. And I LOVE cocker spaniels! But not on my head.

So anyway, it was a day with a lot of feelings is what I am saying. And I’d like to say that making [and eating] this soup helped a little bit.

Soup is good like that.

Italian Wedding Soup with Kale is just like the classic recipe, but with a little bit of a twist. I use kale in place of the spinach, and ground turkey in place of beef and pork. I sear the meatballs instead of just dropping them in the broth to boil. And! In this version I used Israeli couscous instead of acini di pepe.

More on that in a minute. First let’s talk meatballs.

How to Make Meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup

A plate lined with a paper towel filled with little bite-sized meatballs

Making meatballs for soup is not that different from making BBQ Turkey Meatballs or Slow Cooker Meatballs. You need the same basic building blocks.

  • 1 pound of ground meat (in this case, ground turkey)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (more on breadcrumbs in a second!)
  • 2 tablespoons of seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What kind of breadcrumbs are best for meatballs?

I grew up with a mom that put crushed Ritz crackers in her meatloaf, so I tend to be pretty resourceful in the breadcrumb department. My general answer here is always going to be to just use what you have on hand. If that means you need to crush saltine crackers? COOL. But if we wanna get specific:

  • Panko breadcrumbs are made from bread without crust. They are fluffier and lighter than traditional breadcrumbs, and the difference will show in your meatball texture
  • Regular breadcrumbs will definitely require you to be heavier-handed with the seasoning because they are, well – PLAIN
  • Italian breadcrumbs really vary from brand to brand so taste them before adding and adjust your seasoning accordingly.
  • Crushed crackers will also affect the texture depending on how fine the crumb is, so have that in mind.

PRO TIP: Brown the Meatballs

If you read some more traditional Italian Wedding Soup recipes, they call for you to drop the raw meatballs into the boiling broth to cook. THIS RECIPE calls for browning them ahead of adding them to the soup.

YES, it’s an extra step. YES it’s worth it.

It will also let you make the meatballs ahead if you are a meal prepping kind of person.

A close up of a bite size meatball held between thumb and forefinger to show the size. There are vegetables needed for soup-making in the background

Also it’s freezing cold. So the only good thing to come out of any of this is soup.

An overhead view of a small crock of Easy Italian Wedding Soup. There are chunks of carrots, torn bits of dark green kale, mini meatballs, israeli couscous, and a rich chicken broth. You can see a small block of Parmesan cheese in the upper righthand corner.
Yield: 6

Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Sausage & Kale

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 1 pound turkey sausage
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked small pasta; I used ditalini
  • 2-3 cups raw kale, chopped and stems removed


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Pinch the turkey mixture by the rounded teaspoonful and shape into meatballs. Having a clean plate handy to set the raw rolled meatballs on is handy.
  2. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Over medium to medium high heat brown the meatballs, working in batches. It takes about 5 minutes per batch to brown the meatballs and cook them through. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.
  3. In a medium to large stock pot heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Toss in the pasta and kale. Add the meatballs back in. Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer until the pasta is tender.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 693mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 28g


Tuesday 28th of January 2014

So sorry to hear about the bad cut. I went through that recently when I got into a car accident with waist length hair...The stylist kept saying "No really you can manage this even if you are going to be taking sponge baths for 2 months." ( I was in a leg cast) Um No. I went home let my daughter pull it into a pony tail and chopped off 3 feet of hair. When I got out of the cast I went to a new stylist and she listened to me and then gave me my newest fav cut. Hang in there finding a good stylist is a pain but worth it in the end. Btw I came for the recipe it is the only one that looks like what I ate! Can't wait to try it!


Wednesday 29th of January 2014

I FINALLY found a great stylist. I love her and if we move an hour away I will seriously still drive here because no one else can do it right. Hope you like the soup. Thank you for reading!!!

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Tuesday 3rd of December 2013

[…] all my sweet potato burgers and Italian Wedding Soups, they would probably be happy with those 4 foods in rotation for all of […]


Sunday 6th of January 2013

update - I have just made this with the other half of my turkey mince! Yum! And the meatballs were much more successful than last time too - hurrah!


Monday 7th of January 2013

I am so so thrilled you tried these two recipes and liked them! It makes me super happy to be posting things that people will ACTUALLY cook. Yay!

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Sunday 2nd of December 2012

[...] of you will remember that last month I was super extra whiny about my haircut. More specifically, The Worst Haircut I Have Ever Received. Not even kidding. I had lots of [...]

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Wednesday 7th of November 2012

[...] I make a big batch of something and it’s my lunch for days and days. Sometimes it’s soup. Sometimes it’s freaking awesome honey mustard dressing, perfect for all salads and EVERY [...]

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