Soups really are the super hero of anyone’s kitchen. They’re fast, simple, and with the right ingredients, can be packed with nutrition. They last for days (hello, easy lunch time ideas!) and also allow you to clean out your fridge of any items that are on their last leg. In fact, sometimes that’s how the best soups come to life. A little of this, a little of that, and you end up with something that’s deeply satisfying.
Case in point: this soup, with turkey meatballs and lots of green vegetables. A random, motley mix, with an end result that is surprisingly delicious. I almost named this soup ‘Pesto Caldo Verde’, just because it’s so verdantly green — you know it’s got to be pretty good for you. You can switch up this recipe by using whatever type of meat you want for the meatballs, and adding in whatever other vegetables you have on hand — potatoes, celery, cabbage, peas, really anything. Full confession: when I took the photos, I hadn’t added in the pesto yet. We had a little bit left in the fridge, so at the last minute, I stirred it in, and it’s what made the soup extra special (and even greener). Give it a try! Here’s how I made it:
Turkey Meatball and Vegetable Soup with Pesto
For the meatballs:
makes about 15 meatballs
1 lb ground turkey meat
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed between your palms or fingers
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup ground parmesan
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
For the rest of the soup:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, medium diced (about 1 medium sized onion)
1/2 cup shallot, chopped (about 1 large shallot)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cups or about 1/2 bunch curly kale, washed and finely chopped
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4-1/2 cup of prepared pesto, depending on how ‘pesto-y’ you want the soup
1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425º. Combine all the turkey meatball ingredients together, and gently mix with your hands or a fork until well combined. Form the mixture into balls slightly larger than the size of a golf ball, then bake on a sheet pan for 10-15 minutes, or until the outsides have browned. It’s okay if the meatballs aren’t entirely cooked through the center, so no need to check.
While the meatballs cook, wash and prepare the vegetables. Then, in a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onion, shallot, and carrots. Saute for 7-9 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened, fragrant, and just the beginning to brown.
Add in the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits. Cover and bring the soup to a simmer.
Remove the meatballs from the oven. Gently add them to the soup using tongs or a fork. Add in the cannelini beans, green beans and chopped kale as well. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until the green beans are tender and the meatballs cooked through. Stir in the pesto, then serve the soup. For extra garnish, add a sprinkling of more parmesan cheese if you’d like!