kale, chicken, meatballs, soup, lemon zest- anti-cancer recipes- cook for your life

Italian Wedding Soup

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Clock Icon for Prep Time 30 min prep
Person Icon for Serving Size 6 servings
Carrot Icon for Number of Ingredients Size 12 ingredients

This soup is the Italian American version of a hearty traditional soup of meat and greens eaten in the countryside around Rome and Naples at Christmas time. It is called “minestra maritata”. The “wedding”...


  • ¾-pound ground chicken
  • ⅔ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 kale leaves, stems removed, roughly chopped

Nutrition Facts


305 cals


15 g

Saturated Fat

6 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

2 g

Monounsaturated Fat

7 g


18 g


4 g


2 g


24 g


652 mg


  1. In a bowl, mix together the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, oregano, lemon zest, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Form into 1-inch balls.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs until evenly golden brown, they do not need to be cooked all the way through as they will finish cooking in the soup. Transfer the meatballs to a plate covered with a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Heat the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the kale leaves and the meatballs. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Taste the broth for seasonings then serve.

Chef Tips

If more vegetables are desired, add a bigger selection of leafy greens to this soup along with the kale.

Instead of adding grated parmesan to the stock to give it extra ‘umami’, before adding the kale and meatballs, try adding a piece of parmesan rind to the stock and simmering it for 30 minutes until it is soft and sticky. It will add a lot of flavor. For a chewy texture, cut the rind into a small dice and add it back to the soup.

Registered Dietitian Approved

All our recipes are created by chefs and reviewed by our Registered Dietitian Kate Ueland, MS, RD, CSO, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the  Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed.,  published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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