Kale vegetable soup with baked bean balls

Overhead shot of kale vegetable soup with baked bean balls in white bowl

Fresh and zesty kale vegetable soup with orzo is made even more delicious and savory with baked bean balls for a satisfying plant-based meal in-a-bowl.



Baked bean balls

  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest

Kale vegetable soup

  • 1 medium onion, diced (you and use ¼ for the bean balls and then add the rest for the soup)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 9 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup orzo or other small pasta
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • Juice of ½ lemon (cut the remaining half into wedges for a garnish)
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Bean balls

  1. Preheat the oven to 4000 F (2000 C).
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients – ¼ cup onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 cans beans, ½ cup breadcrumbs, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp. soy sauce (or Tamari), 1 tsp. thyme and ½ tsp. lemon zest. Using a masher or large fork, mash all the ingredients until everything is blended and smooth. A few whole beans are ok but be sure the breadcrumbs and the rest of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Alternatively, you can use a food processor or blender.
  4. Use your hands to roll balls a bit smaller than a golf ball. You should get 20-25 balls, but this depends on the size. Just aim to keep them relatively the same size for even baking.
  5. Place the balls on the baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Flip the balls after 20 minutes, bake for another 5 and then flip them back for another 5. If the balls start to brown too much and the middles are still mushy, cover them loosely with foil to prevent the outside from burning.

Kale vegetable soup

  1. In a medium soup pot, sauté the onions, carrots and celery for 5-8 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. If they begin to stick too much, add water or broth a tablespoon at-a-time to keep them from browning too much.
  2. Add the minced garlic, the ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper and 1 tsp. thyme and stir to coat everything with the spices for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and stir to pick up any of the vegetables that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Bring the pot to a strong simmer and then stir in the orzo. Reduce the pot to a low simmer, cover the pot and allow the orzo to cook for 10 minutes until it is tender.
  5. Add the 4 cups of chopped kale, the juice of ½ lemon and ¼ cups chopped basil. Allow the soup to simmer for another 5-10 minutes to soften the kale a bit.
  6. Taste and add salt and black pepper if desired.

To serve, add a few of the baked bean balls to each bowl and cover with a generous serving of soup. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.


  • If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute fresh parsley (1/4 cup). If you use dried basil, add it when you add the cayenne pepper and thyme. Use 1 Tbsp. and add more according to taste.
  • As noted in the post, you can substitute rice for the orzo. Be sure to consider the cooking instructions and time and adjust accordingly.

Keywords: kale vegetable soup with baked bean balls

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