Italian Meatball Soup

Over the course off this past school year, probably fueled mostly by health-issue related tiredness and a general feeling of unwell, I decided to revisit the Whole 30 way of eating. I had completed a Whole 30 on two different occasions after Hunter was born, but never really committed to it beyond the 30 days.  In October, I decided I was going to do another one, and I really made a point of working with recipes that made this way of eating less boring.  After the first few days of feeling terrible, you enter what they call in the Whole 30 community, call the “Tiger Blood” stage.  You just feel amazing.  I was sleeping better than I had in a long time, my energy levels were great, my skin looked amazing, and overall I just felt better.  


My colleague and friend took notice of this, and when November rolled around, she decided to join me in this lifestyle.  We both committed to 30 days in November, and I feel like having a partner through the journey helped me stay committed.  We commiserated about missing wine and chocolate, and we brought each other Whole 30 compliant snacks and powered through.  My friend was noticing the same positive health impacts as I did and we were both feeling pretty motivated.  Things fell a bit apart over Christmas, but I did notice how I felt when I ate certain foods that maybe weren’t the best for me.  We came back to school in January, ready to start another Whole 30.  


At this point, the Whole 30 cookbook came out.  It is full of amazing meals.  This soup is one that I’ve adapted from the cookbook, and it has become one of my go-to’s for lunches.  I often double the batch and freeze portions that are easy to pull out during the week for lunch.  My husband also really enjoys this one and was shocked to hear it was a Whole 30 recipe.


I tend to lean towards using fresh herbs in this recipe whenever I can, as I feel like it just gives it a better taste.  You can also sub out the kale for any greens that you prefer (the original recipe calls for Swiss chard).


Try this one out, and serve it with a nice crusty Italian bread if you are so inclined.  This one is filling and hearty, and can be served straight up for dinner.  Enjoy!




2 pounds ground pork

⅓ cup minced fresh parsley

½ tbsp. Salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ c. warm water

1 tsp. cream of tartar

½ tsp. baking soda



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

In a small bowl, mix together the water, cream of tartar, and baking soda (the mixture will bubble). Add the water mixture to the meat mixture and combine. Shape the meat mixture into 1-inch balls.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes, until the meatballs are browned. Let cool.



1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. dried oregano, crushed (fresh is even better if you have it)

½ tsp. dried basil, crushed (fresh is even better if you have it)

½ tsp. dried parsley

¼ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. granulated garlic

⅛ tsp. onion powder

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

4 cups chicken broth

1 bunch kale, stemmed and leaves cut into 1-inch strips

Handful of fresh basil leaves, minced

1 portion pork meatballs (from above recipe)


Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, minced garlic, oregano, dried basil, parsley, salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes with their juices, broth, kale, and meatballs to the pot. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the soup is heated through and the kale is wilted and just tender, about 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh basil.