Healthy Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup
If you are petite, gaining a few pounds means that you can only fit into your loose jeans. In an effort to return to my “skinny” jeans, I added this soup to my diet. The intent is to pack a nutritional punch into one hot, healthy and comforting bowl. Start with the turkey meatballs—it has flaxseed, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. For even more goodness, kale, white beans, carrots and tomatoes are added to the soup. To maximize the nutritional value and for bulk, I use a high-fiber pasta or a vegetable-added pasta. Thank goodness we live in an age where those products can easily be found in our grocery stores.
For today’s version, however, I decided to use orecchiette, or ear-shaped pasta. Unfortunately, this particular type does not have the fiber or nutritional values of the ones previously mentioned, but I love the shape and find that the texture goes well with this soup. Feel free to use the pasta that speaks to you.
This particular batch was made with frozen kale because I couldn’t find any fresh after visiting three different stores. What are the chances? I suspect the weather had something to do with it since snow was in the forecast again. It has single-handedly thwarted a couple of my recent plans, and I think it was destined to thwart my plans to find fresh kale. The stores must have had a run on this popular green. It’s as if everyone collectively thought: We are getting another 8-incher. Let’s make sure we have everything. Stock up on sand, salt, water, milk, bread and oh yeah…fresh kale!
Notice that the recipe uses pasta in moderation because carbs=calories. If carbs make you happy, add more. I’ll never know. But I do know that soup is good for my body and soul. It comforts. It nurtures. It warms me from the inside out. So I’m going to curl up with a good bowl of soup and slurp my way back into skinnyjeandom!
Healthy Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup:
1 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
4 oz. button mushrooms
1 1/3 lb. ground turkey
2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
3 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
2 tsp. salt plus more to taste
1 tsp. black pepper plus more to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cup diced carrots
10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped kale, defrosted, or about 1 1/2 lb. stemmed and chopped fresh
4 (14.5-oz.) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-oz.) can northern white beans, drained and rinsed
1 whole bay leaf
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 oz. orecchiette, high-fiber pasta or vegetable-added pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese shavings for garnish
Place sweet potato in a food processor and puree until finely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place mushrooms in food processor and puree until finely ground. Add to the mixing bowl. Add turkey, egg, flaxseed, 1 tsp. garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Mix with hands until well incorporated. Roll into 1-inch meatballs. Place on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Heat a large stockpot on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add carrots, onion and 2 tsp. garlic. If using fresh kale, add here. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, white beans, bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and red pepper. Increase heat to high. Bring to gentle boil. Add meatballs individually. Stir gently. Bring to a second boil. Add orecchiette, and if using frozen kale, add now. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir gently. Cover loosely and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Garnish with Parmesan shavings just before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Suggestion: If you are making the soup ahead of time, I suggest cooking the pasta separately and add it to the soup when it is reheated to prevent the pasta from becoming mushy.
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