Orzo Soup With White Bean Balls (Squares)

Growing up, we used to call my grandfather’s meatballs “meat squares”. He never rolled the meat into a ball for spaghetti. He never cut a round cake in the typical triangular slices that “normal” people did, and thus resulted in more of a stump of cake left than any actual slices. As kids we used to think it was so silly of our grandpa, who we called Bumpa, to make foods in odd shapes. But, that is what made Bumpa, well Bumpa.

Even though Bumpa’s meat squares were different, they were still delicious. And even though these squares...or balls…[you get the picture] aren’t what may be typical on your dinner table, it doesn’t mean they are any less delicious!

The bean balls in this soup is what makes it! The soup itself is a delicious flavor, but the bean balls is what takes the cake [or the remaining stump]. Trust me when I tell you that I wouldn’t share a recipe with you that isn’t 1) outstanding and 2) husband approved. Yes, it’s true, posting a recipe on this blog requires a meat loving husband’s stamp of approval.

Go ahead. Don’t be afraid to try something new in the kitchen.

Orzo Soup with White Bean Balls

Recipe Adapted from: Thug Kitchen
Yields: 6 Servings


To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or lightly spread olive oil.

Start by making the bean balls. Of the chopped onion, measure out ¼ cup and set aside for making the soup. After draining and rinsing your beans, add them to a large bowl and mash them until a paste is formed. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining chopped onion, and mix well until evenly distributed. Roll the bean paste into balls [or squares] about the size of a golf ball and place on the greased pan. Aim for 20-25 bean balls. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the balls. Bake for another 15 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

While the balls are baking, get out a large soup pot. Add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the ¼ cup onion that was previously set aside, carrots, and celery. Saute until the onion begins to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and orzo. Cook for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Add the vegetable broth and allow the soup to simmer about 10 to 15 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Next, add the lemon juice, kale, pepper, basil, and salt. Turn off the heat.

When ready to eat, place 3 to 4 bean balls in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over the balls. Enjoy!


White Bean Balls

1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cans, low-sodium white or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup nutritional yeast, or flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)


2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole wheat orzo
9 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 cups kale or spinach, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt, to taste