Italian Wedding Soup with Cannellini Meatballs, Farro & Kale

March 6, 2014

Vegan Italian wedding soup with cannellini meatballs, farro, spinach and kale.

A Gift Resides In The Worst of Times

I love the morning because every day brings a new chance to start over. Last night I went to bed thinking there could be no solution to a problem, and of course the new day brought a new solution.

Recently, I have been watching a couple of my friends truly suffer because they believe they have lost something that can never be replaced.

Right now they can't imagine how they will ever start over. When I was twenty I married my high school sweetheart. My life was all planned out. Beautiful home in the suburbs, lots of children, friends and family to fill my life. I was getting everything I wanted.

One day, a year after I was married, my husband came home and told me he was too young,  and he hadn't known enough women and he wanted to leave me.

I feel apart. I totaled my car, I would sleep for days, not answer my phone and wouldn't communicate with anyone. I just wanted to die and I absolutely knew my life was over.

But guess what? He ended up giving me a gift. If he hadn't walked out that door, I would never have had the incredible life that I have lived since that time. His leaving me gave me the courage to do new things, and I ended up with a life I never could have imagined for myself.

I know it is very hard to see the light when everything seems so dark, but always remember that there is a gift waiting for you that is only given to you through times of struggle. You just have to wait it out and have faith because,  take it from me, something extraordinary is waiting for you.

Now on to food.

Speaking of weddings, today I made the most yummy plant-based Italian Wedding Soup.

Italian wedding soup is an an Italian-American soup that consists of green vegetables and meatballs in a clear broth. The term “wedding soup” is really a mistranslation of the Italian phrase “minestra maritata” which means married soup.

I made my vegan plant-based meatballs with a delicious combination of cannellini beans, farro, bread crumbs and sauteed vegetables. Although my meatballs broke apart in the simmering soup, the results were still outstanding, and I couldn't stop eating it. This  soup also packs a protein triple threat because of the beans, leafy greens and farro.

If you are not familiar with the grain farro, you should definitely start getting cozy with it. It is hands down one of my favorite high protein grains.

Farro is an ancient grain and was considered a symbol of power by the ancient Romans. It is nutty, delicious and versatile. If you can't find it in your local grocery store, you can always buy it online.

Also, if you would like to stretch this recipe out for the family, add some pasta like orecchiette.

Hope you enjoy this plant-based recipe as much as I did. Wishing you a peaceful and compassionate week.

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Italian Wedding Soup with Cannellini Meatballs, Farro, Kale & Spinach

Italian Wedding Soup with Crusty Cannellini & Kale
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Some of the meatballs fell apart in the broth but it didn't matter, it tasted extraordinary. Definitely worth the trouble of sauting them first rolled in bread crumbs before adding to the soup. Perhaps the next time I make them, I will have a better solution for a binder besides flax seed eggs. I also tossed in the extra cannellini beans from the carton used to make the balls.
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of onion, finely chopped
  • 3 white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons celery, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cooked cannellini beans, packaged or cooked fresh
  • ½ cup cooked farro
  • ½ cup vegan bread crumbs (+ ¼ cup for rolling)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seed whisked with 6 tablespoons water, refrigerate for ten minutes or more to thicken)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (+1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (+1 tablespoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground fennel seeds (optional - don't buy if you don't have already)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped kale or swiss chard
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1 quart of vegetable broth (or more if needed)
  • Fresh chopped basil for serving
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlc and cook for about 4 minutes or until cooked and translucent.
  2. Add the kale and spinach cook 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the meatballs gently and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh basil.
  1. Cook ½ cup of farro according to directions.(see below)
  2. Place rinsed cannellini beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.
  3. Heat a skillet with the oil and saute the onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, salt, pepper, basil and parsley for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add the red pepper flakes and ground fennel if using and cook for another minute. If your vegetables are sticking, add a little veggie broth instead of more oil.
  4. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  5. In a large bowl with the mashed cannellini beans, combine the cooked vegetables, ½ cup bread crumbs, ½ cup cooked farro and 3 tablespoons of flax egg. Toss in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil and parsely. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Form into balls and lightly roll in breadcrumbs.
  7. In a large non-stick saute pan heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil until hot. Add cannellini balls gently and cook for a minute or two on each side to get a good carmelized crust.
You could also braise these in the oven covered with fresh tomato sauce and serve with pasta.

Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ½ cup of farro, rinsed
  • 1 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  1. Bring farro and water to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed keeping a close eye on it so it doesn't stick.


2 thoughts on “Italian Wedding Soup with Cannellini Meatballs, Farro & Kale

    1. Hi Patty – Thanks for reaching out and for being part of our healthy community. Yes I am now adding nutritional information on all my recipes. When I wrote this recipe, I didn’t but I am trying to catch up on the old recipes by adding nutritional information. I will work on this one this weekend.

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