Table of Contents
Iowa winters can be grueling. The weather isn’t always full of snow and ice, but by the time February rolls around, you assume it’s almost spring. Then nature reminds you it definitely is not. Like so many Midwesterners, until the days are noticeably longer, I like to hibernate.
The perfect hibernation food – or really, food in general – is soup. For some, soup is the lesser food, something you dump together when you’re in a hurry. To me, soup is layers of flavor that can be slowly cooked or thrown together after work, yet still provide a nourishing, wholesome, and hearty meal.
What makes a soup good enough for a meal?
- Layered flavors: As opposed to throwing everything in a slow cooker, the ingredients should be added one at a time, “creating layers.”
- Aromatics: Herbs and spices help to elevate and round out the layered flavors.
- Hearty additions: Beans, potatoes, and meat help make a soup a meal.
- Sturdy greens: Kale added towards the end wilts and truly finishes a soup.
Some soups are more of a side or yearn for a dish to complement them. Think tomato soup paired with grilled cheese. Tomato soup by itself isn’t often very filling. That’s not the case with this soup!
The best part of this soup may be the homemade chicken meatballs. This extra step seems like something that you won’t want to do on a weekend. But instead, the sausage goes together quickly with a perfect spice blend. Scooped onto a baking sheet and roasted in the oven, in just a matter of minutes, you’ll have homemade meatballs with more flavor than you’ll expect.
To start the soup, onion, celery and garlic are sauteéd until translucent. Even though we read this step in a plethora of recipes, it’s truly important in this soup. This softens the vegetables and takes the hard, fresh flavor away to bring out the sweeter flavors underneath.
During the winter, I don’t have the luxury of pulling fresh herbs from the garden. So for ease, I use dried herbs. Dried are economical and packed with flavor.
Carrot, potato, and white beans are added with the stock to simmer. This is the best part: it only needs to be simmered until the potatoes and carrots are tender, but can be simmered longer if you want a slow, winter soup kind of day.
At the end, some pureed beans are added for their ability to thicken. This dish can really be ready in about one hour if needed. The soup hits all my needs: hearty, full of flavor, filling, and nourishing.
Watch how to make this sausage meatball kale soup:
Sausage Meatball Kale Soup
For the chicken meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp herbs de Provence
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp pureed white beans (reserved from below)
For the soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cups diced onion
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 ½ cups roughly chopped carrot
- 1 6-8 oz potato
- 2 cans white beans
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 bunch kale (approx. 10 oz) ribs removed and chopped
For the meatballs
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Using an immersion blender or food processor, pureé one can of white beans. Reserve 2 tbsp for the meatballs and set the rest aside for the soup.
- In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, fennel seed, allspice, smoked paprika, herbs de Provence, salt, black pepper, garlic, and bean puree. Stir to combine spice and meat evenly.
- Using a #100 (2 tsp) cookie scoop, make meatballs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. This should make approximately 35 meatballs. Bake in the preheated oven until browned and an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. While baking, prepare the soup.
For the soup
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot or Dutch oven. Add onion, celery, and salt. Slowly sauté until the onion and celery are translucent and soft, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper, oregano, and basil. Stir and heat until garlic is fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add carrot, potato, one can of whole white beans with the liquid, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the carrot and potato are cooked, 25-35 minutes.
- Once the potatoes and carrots are cooked, add the reserved pureéd beans to the soup. Continue to cook to remove the raw flavor, 15 minutes. Add the kale and baked meatballs to the soup. Allow the kale to wilt and the meatballs to warm through, 6 minutes.
Just got home and saw your recipe of this incredible fabulosity kale soup!Kaleb! I wish to make it right now but I have to wait till monday!!!!! Love everything about it, I am just like you I like to seethe veg and b it them just like you do!
Thanks for this delish soup recipe, Monday is Kaleb’s Kale and sausage soup night!
❤️ Enjoy your weekend!
I want to try this soup, it sounds crazy delicious. how do you think this would be with Swiss Chard? I ask because this week I have a choice of Kale or Swiss Chard in our CSA box? Thank You
I think swiss chard is a perfect green to use! You could even chop the ribs seperately and add them with the soup for a longer cooking time then add the green tops at the end just as you could kale!
Made this soup yesterday during the nor’easter we had here in Massachusetts. I saw the video on IG and had to try it. It was so delicious! Perfect for a snowy day. The meatballs were seasoned so well, everyone in the family loved them. My husband isn’t into kale and beans but he wants me to make the meatballs and incorporate them into another type of meal, perhaps a pasta or with peppers and onions? Thanks Kaleb!
Delicious! Even better the following day! I have never made sausage from ground Turkey (it’s what we had).
It was super easy and flavorful!
Can’t wait to make this for the weekend. If I decide to simmer all day should I still wait to add the kale and meatballs to the last 20 minutes?
This recipe is delicious! I used the exact method and ingredients. Thank you, Kaleb!
Loved this soup and love watching you. HAD tried many recipes. Love them all.
Wow, Kaleb. Five stars from cccoold, snowy Michigan. This is hearty without being heavy, the flavors are delicious and I had no idea baked meatballs would be so easy! Thank you!
EXCELLENT! My husband loved it too!!!
I am allergic to kale, so I’m wondering if spinach or Savoy cabbage (or a combination of both) could be substituted. Please advise.
I loved this soup. I also put in a parmesan rind while it was simmering. I think it adds a little something, something. This was a huge soup so I had plenty to share with neighbors! They think I’m a rock star cook now. LOL I also LOVE that you include the nutritional information with your recipe. Thanks! I’ll be making this again and again!
I have tried many of your recipes since the pandemic trying to stretch our meals, We are trying to make February a no-spend month by using what we have on hand. We live in Hawaii and try to only eat island grown veggies. Rather the canned beans and or potatoes we used Okinawan sweet potatoes the purple kind. We chopped them really small. The potatoes cooked down and made a sweet, savory, soap. Hawaiian style.
Robert and Helen Kobzi
I just made this incredible soup. I added a large leek and I used Tuscan kale. I love celery so I doubled it. I didn’t have ground turkey so I used Italian pork sausage. The flavor profile is spot on. My new favorite soup. Thank you for sharing.
I made this soup tonight for dinner. I cannot tell you enough how delicious it was. The chicken balls taste like sausage, but with fewer calories and fat. Thank you Kaleb for all of your superb recipes. You have inspired me! Thank you!
We LOVE this soup. Hearty, complex delicious flavors. Perfect for winter evenings or anytime…I’m making a pot of it now. I add extra beans usually. This is a wonderful recipe. Thank you!!!!
I live all your recipes ..right down to your canning.. I’ve sent to my Daughter in Cambridge ( england) I’m in Costa Blanca Spain.. I loved the caulifour rice with cod …I’m going to make this …and live your candy that you make ..I’ve made same.. I love your house and garden it’s beautiful.. cheers Pamela
I love your recipes and the way you present them.
You are fun to listen to but most of all your recipes are delicious and easy to make.
I always look forward to watching you on
UTube. You are adorable!
Yes! Loved it! Going to make it again! Thank you!!! LOVE your recipes!!!
This is amazing I have made it with chicken or lean organic ground pork with excellent results. Sometimes I use a cubed rutabaga instead of the potato. It is a winner! Freezes well too.
This soup is DELICIOUS! My hubby, who isn’t a fan of beans, loves this soup!! The flavor is so good. You will not be disappointed if you try this recipe! I highly recommend.
Have not made this yet, but it looks like one we’d love. I think a little grated parmesan over the top would be good as well. Can’t wait to try!!!
FABULOUS SOUP! Thank you. I used 1/2 chicken and 1/2 turkey but otherwise this was one of the best soup recipes I ever made!
This “sausage” meatball kale soup is deeelish! It’s hearty, filling and warms you through to the soul. I can’t believe how much the herbs and spices make the chicken taste and smell exactly like sausage! It feels good to know that it’s a healthy yet uber tasty option that I can add to my food repertoire. Everyone loved it!
This soup is absolutely delicious! The spices are perfect and give it a special depth of flavor. It is hearty and filling. I didn’t have ground chicken, chicken stock or kale so I used grass fed and finished ground beef, beef stock, spinach and added a little pasta. Wonderful. I didn’t want to be that person who says it’s great and then changes everything in the recipe but had to improvise tonight.
This soup was a 5 the first day I made it , but letting the flavours mellow over into the next few days that soup just got better and better. Definitely making this again
This soup is the bomb! Didn’t want to bother making meatballs, so I used the Italian sweet sausage I had in the freezer. Cooked it just like the chicken meatballs, and they came out great! Skipped all those meatball spices, because already spiced up pork. Everything else pretty much as shown, however should have had a lighter hand with the red pepper flakes. 😵💫
Loved this soup so much ~ will be making it again and again and again!!!!
Delicious soup Kaleb, and even better the second day! Took a picture but can’t figure out how to add it to the review.
Do not, as a rule follow these kinds of things, but love yours. I look forward to the recipes, and love gardening and baking as well. Really enjoy how positive, and happy you seem to be. Good for you! Look forward to more…
Rainy day calls for this soup! It was everything and more. DELICIOUS! Very satisfying.
I just made this. OMG! SO good! I doubled the recipe for our crowd. I had a 1-lb package of ground turkey that I made per your seasongs and added a 1-lb package of chicken-mozzarella sausage that I sautéed first. We have Swiss chard growing in our greenhouse so I substituted yhthe