Barley Soup with Italian Meatballs and Kale

Barley Soup with Italian Meatballs and Kale

Hearty and delicious, our Barley Soup with Italian Meatballs and Kale makes for the perfect weeknight dinner.
(Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

When I lived in New York City in the early 90s, I got an awful case of the flu that just wouldn’t go away. My friend Veeda brought me barley soup to help me get better, and I loved how hearty and delicious it was! But you don’t have to be sick to crave this soup. In fact, now that temperatures are dropping, this is the perfect season to make it! In this version, I kicked the recipe up a notch by adding Italian meatballs and fresh kale. Serve with salad and fresh, warm bread and it quickly becomes the perfect weeknight dinner. Enjoy!

PREP: 25 minutes
COOK: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small diced white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups quick pearled barley
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 cups roughly chopped kale


  1. In a large bowl, mix together pork, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Using your hands, kneed mixture until all ingredients are well combined. Roll into 30 meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add broth, 2 cups water and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, add meatballs and stir in beans. Cover partially and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let simmer another 5 minutes. As needed, add more salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan, if desired.

YIELDS: 6 servings

© 2015 Jadeworks Entertainment

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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