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This Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup is bursting with flavor and remarkably filling!

Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup - Cooking Light

It’s Meatball Monday! Or is that supposed to be Meatless? I make the rules around here so Meatball Monday it is! The twist is we are having Wedding Fairy Approved Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup!

The September 2013 edition of Cooking Light arrived several days ago and the poor thing is already covered in sticky notes marking recipes to try (some I already have like this summer pea pasta)!  I love making soups that are high on comfort and flavor but low in calories like this Italian turkey sausage soup or even my perfect chicken noodle soup recipe.

Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup - Cooking Light
shaved parmesan on top of soup in white bowl.
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I loved this soup! It’s bursting with flavor and is remarkably filling! I was intrigued by the turkey meatballs, which use quinoa as a binding agent. It actually worked surprisingly well. They were delicate in their uncooked state but only one fell apart due to operator error après cooking. In the years since this post I also developed my own delectable Turkey Meatball recipe you could use!

I am totally on board the lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale) bandwagon. It is thicker, doesn’t taste as awful, and has great texture. I only got one, “What is this?!” comment from my fiancé, which is a vast improvement over the array of disgusted faces I usually get whenever I serve him regular kale. The things I endure for health.

Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup - Cooking Light
Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup - Cooking Light
5 from 1 ratings

Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup

This Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup is bursting with flavor and remarkably filling!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 pound turkey
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa I used half black, half red quinoa
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • 6 garlic cloves minced & divided
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • ½ cup chopped shallots
  • ½ cups chopped celery
  • 8 cups trimmed chopped lacinato kale aka Dinosaur Kale
  • ¼ teaspoon crush red pepper
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock Bonus points for homemade!


  • Combine turkey, quinoa, ¼ cup cheese, parsley, basil, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 2 garlic cloves and egg in a large bowl. Mix gently just until combined. Working with damp hands shape turkey mixture into 24 meatballs. Mine only made 17, but obviously I was too generous in my portioning.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan and swirl to coat. Brown half meatballs on all sides and repeat with additional teaspoon of oil and remaining meatballs.
  • Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sauté shallots and celery for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Add kale, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add stock; bring to boil. Add meatballs and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes until meatballs are cooked through and kale is tender.
  • Serve soup with remaining ¼ cup cheese, lemon if desired (I didn’t think it needed it), and crusty bread. Crusty bread soaked in the broth will float anyone’s boat. For serious.


Adapted from Cooking Light September 2013


Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 712mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3151IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Calories: 264
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Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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  1. Oo I haven’t seen the september issue yet! I love getting my new CL’s. This soup looks fabulous! I’m a sucker for turkey meatballs… LOVE them.

    1. Oh gurl, you’re in for a treat! It’s a good one! I love turkey meatballs too, but I usually buy the frozen ones from Trader Joes to keep in the freezer for desperate times! For shame! These are way healthier and virtually salt free, so I’m going to try making more and freezing them to have on hand.

  2. All I see lately on food blogs are recipes with kale! Is it a kale season or something? 🙂 This soup looks so delicious with those turkey meatballs and kale – such a cool combination! Pinned.

    1. I have no idea! I just know it’s healthy and I am constantly trying to find new ways to sneak it in my fiance’s diet!

  3. Wedding fairy must be proud these days! I love light meals that are still delish and filling. I think I totally need to start eating light again…been getting a little fat.

    1. LOL! She is so proud…today. Don’t think I haven’t been making some decadent sweets too (stay tuned!). My bad. I hardly doubt you have been getting fat! All those hours you work!

  4. oh Yum!! I love Kale. I’m pretty bad at working it into anything but smoothies so this is awesome incentive! I love the idea of Turkey Meatballs as well – I always seem to forget about that option!

    It sounds like cooking light is a good magazine? I’ve never picked one up before!

    1. I love me some Cooking Light! So far I am a huge fan of the September issue! I love that they used quinoa in the meatballs. What a genius idea?!

  5. I was just looking at my issue last night. This looks terrific. I want to try the salmon recipe that is in it.

    1. I also marked the salmon recipe! And the skirt steak and the flank steak…Apparently I have a lot of cooking to do!

      1. I’ll be looking for that recipe on your blog! And be sure to let me know if you think it could be done with other types of fish. I do love fish and try to eat more since it is an healthier option but I’m afraid my cooking knowledge of preparing it is limited.

        1. I prefer the Asian Fusian type of sauces like is on that receipe on tuna and salmon. I think it overwhelms all the white fish varieties. I’ll definititely keep you posted. In the meantime you should try this halibut (you can use a multitude of other white fish) or this turbot (love turbot). I have another salmon one coming soon! I’ve been doing a lot of fish recently.