Healthy Italian Soup for Cold Winter Nights

By Mindy Probst

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup in the winter. Not only does it warm you from the inside out on cold winter days, but soup can be packed with lots of veggies that promote heart health.​​

​This delicious soup recipe from eatingwell.com​ uses kale, which may be unfamiliar to some of you. Kale, a winter vegetable, is in the cabbage family and is packed with vitamins A and C (antioxidants) which protect your cells from damage and reduce risk of a diseased heart. It is also a good source of calcium and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and keep electrolytes in proper balance. 

Look for kale near cabbage and lettuce in the produce section and choose dark-colored bunches with small to medium sized leaves and no brown or yellow spots. Store it in a plastic bag in the coldest section of your fridge. It will keep for 3-5 days. 

To keep this soup recipe heart healthy, use ground turkey breast that is at least 93-percent lean, and low-sodium chicken broth.

Italian Wedding Soup

From EatingWell​: January/February 2013 
 

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot (2 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 medium stalks)
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 8 cups thinly sliced kale leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Preparation

  1. Meatballs: Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire, fennel seeds, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow the mixture to firm up. With damp hands, shape the mixture into 32 (1-inch) meatballs.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally until the meatballs are browned on all sides (7-9 minutes). Remove from the heat and add wine, stirring gently to loosen any browned bits.
  3. Soup: In a soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Stir in broth, beans, kale, the meatballs, and any juice. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender (20-25 minutes). Top each portion with 1 tablespoon grated cheese.
Makes 8 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each with 4 meatballs.
Total Time: 1.5 hours

Nutrition

Per serving : 253 Calories; 10 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 65 mg Cholesterol; 19 g Carbohydrates; 21 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 532 mg Sodium; 823 mg Potassium​