Italian Wedding Soup is a marriage of flavors built to last! Made with warm, flavorful chicken broth, nutrient-rich kale, tender root veggies, juicy meatballs, and loads of delicious pasta, this wedding soup is a classic recipe you need to get your hands on!
Spring might be creeping up on us but the cold winds just seem to keep on coming and with them comes my cravings for warm soup. I just find a steaming bowl of stew while wrapped in a blanket to be the most comforting thing ever!
One of my favorites? Italian Wedding Soup! A rich broth base filled with hearty root vegetables, homemade meatballs, and tender pasta, this wedding soup recipe can cure the worst of the “winter just won’t end blues”.
Dust off the ole Dutch oven and let’s get cooking today!
Fitting in your daily fruits and veggies can be hard. Being a mom trying to feed those same nutrients to my family is even harder! Luckily for all of us, food blogger and cookbook author Liren Baker is here to save the day.
Liren’s latest release, Meat to the Side: A Plant-Powered Guide to Bringing Balance to your Plate is full of easy to follow recipes that offer new and creative ways to introduce more vegetables into your diet.
Today’s recipe comes straight out of Meat to the Side and I just know it’s gonna have y’all running to snag a copy of this innovative and healthy guide to plant-forward eating.
Perks and Highlights for Italian Wedding Soup
Cuisine Inspiration: Italian, baby! Imagine rolling hills, the art, the romance, the Vespas! That’s the soul we’re stirring into this soup.
Primary Cooking Method: Simmer and Sizzle, darlings! We’re infusing flavors like an Old World love affair – slow, passionate, and oh-so rewarding.
Dietary Info: Omnivore’s delight! With meaty goodness, verdant greens, and soothing broth, it’s a full-circle flavor fiesta.
Key Flavor: Savory with a hint of herbal whimsy! The meatballs bring the muscle, while the greens and broth serve up an herbal garden gala in your mouth.
Skill Level: Fear not, soup-lovers of every level! From kitchen rookies to stove veterans, this recipe’s a heartwarming hug – easy to bring together, hard to mess up.
- Great Meatballs! – Hand-rolled, herb-infused, love-crafted meaty morsels make every spoonful a hearty hug.
- Greens for Days: – It’s like a Tuscan summer garden in your bowl. The greens aren’t just healthy; they’re a fresh, earthy revelation!
- Broth for the Soul: – More than liquid; it’s liquid gold – the broth marries all flavors in a harmonious union that’s to die for.
- Comfort Level:– Feels like a warm embrace from an Italian grandma; this soup doesn’t just feed the body; it nourishes the soul.
- Fit for Any Occasion: – First date? Family dinner? Solitary indulgence? Italian Wedding Soup doesn’t need an invite; it’s the life of every party!
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
So, what is wedding soup anyway? The term “wedding soup” refers to the marriage, or combination, of meat and greens. There are an incredible amount of variations of this recipe but the common thread throughout is that they all have some kind of meat and greens.
Is it actually Italian?
Minestra Maritata (Italian for “wedding soup”) is actually prepared and eaten all over Italy! So yes, it is technically Italian. Because of the varying recipes though, it’s hard to know what the “authentic” version of it is.
No matter how you flavor it or who made it first, this flavorful soup is simple and tasty in all the best ways.
The ingredients for this recipe, like many of my favorite meals, are pantry staple items just about anyone will have in their kitchen!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Yellow onion- white or sweet onion will work in its place.
- Kale- the greens in this recipe are flexible. Most wedding soup recipes will call for escarole or spinach, both leafy greens. I prefer to use kale for its hearty texture and extra nutrients but you can use anything you’d like!
- Egg- eggs helps to bind the meatballs but if you’re allergic, you can use a couple tablespoons of yogurt or some ricotta cheese. Cheese fixes everything.
- Garlic- I like to add a little more garlic than the recipe calls for because I just love the flavor. Go ahead and adjust the measurement to your own liking.
- Parsley- dried or fresh works.
- Salt and pepper- always season to taste!
- Panko breadcrumbs- regular or Italian-style breadcrumbs are great replacements.
- Parmesan Reggiano- grated or shredded this stuff is delicious and deserves a spot in this recipe. Freshly grate or shred the cheese yourself for more flavor.
- Ground beef and pork- the combination of the two is salty, fatty, and filling. You’re welcome to replace it with poultry or even a meat substitute.
- EVOO- just about any kind of oil can be used.
- Carrots and celery- both are hearty and full of vitamins. Eat your veggies people!
- Chicken stock- use whatever you’ve got on hand! Beef, chicken, or veggie stock or broth will all work here.
How to Make Homemade Italian Wedding Soup
There are two simple components to this recipe: the meatballs and the soup. Each step of making this soup is very easy to follow and the whole thing is ready in just 30 minutes!
To make the meatballs, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands or a spatula to mix them up. Be sure that everything is well combined before spooning about a teaspoon of mixture at a time and rolling it into a tight ball.
To make the soup, heat your oil in a large Dutch oven pot and sauté those finely chopped veggies. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and almost translucent. Add in the stock, pasta, and meatballs and boil until everything is good and cooked.
The last thing you’ll add to the pot is the kale and any additional seasonings you’d like. Serve with a side of grated parm for a cheesy-salty touch!
Can it be made ahead of time?
Absolutely, Homemade Italian Wedding Soup makes for a great meal prep option! Make this recipe at the beginning of your week and have a healthy-hearty lunch or dinner all week long! Heck, add a couple ladles to a thermos and send it with the kids to school.
For longer term storage, arrange the meatballs on a sheet pan so they are not touching and freeze until solid. Transfer them to an airtight container, like a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.
Is Italian Wedding Soup Healthy?
This one is! Full of protein and vitamin-rich vegetables, while still being low-carb, I consider wedding soup to be very healthy.
Of course, if red meat is an issue you can totally swap it out for ground turkey or chicken. The pasta and/or breadcrumbs can also be swapped for your preferred gluten-free and/or dairy-free variety. There are several lentil or chickpea pasta options that will also add extra fiber and protein!
Storing Leftover Soup
The easiest way to store soups and stews, if you’re going to eat them within a few days, is in the fridge. All you gotta do is transfer the soup in some sort of container with a tight fitting lid and get it in the fridge within 2 hours. Any recipe containing perishable ingredients such as meat or dairy needs to be refrigerated within that time.
Can I freeze it?
Yes! Italian Wedding Soup can be frozen for up to 2 months. To do so, first cool the soup to room temperature then transfer it into individual quart containers. I love to whip an extra large batch of this recipe specifically to freeze a few emergency dinners for later.
To reheat, you can either thaw the quart container in the fridge overnight or run some hot water around the outside to release it, then heat it up in a saucepan over the stovetop at medium heat.
My favorite soup recipes
I love a cozy bowl of soup on a chilly night. Recipes like these make for the most comforting meals and delicious family memories.
If you loved this Italian Wedding Soup, try out a few more of GBC’s favorite liquid gold recipes:
Italian Wedding Soup
For the Meatballs
- 1 small yellow grated onion
- 1/3 cup minced kale
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for serving
- 8 oz 85% lean ground beef
- 8 oz ground pork
For the Soup
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup minced yellow onions about 1 medium onion
- 1 cup 1/4 inch diced carrots about 3 medium carrots
- 1 cup 1/4 inch diced celery 2-3 medium stalks
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup orzo or other small pasta such as acini di pepe or tubetini
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz kale
For the Meatballs
- In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, minced kale, egg, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and ground meats and combine using your hands or a fork. Using about a heaping teaspoon portion, roll the mixture into meatballs; this will yield about 40 meatballs. set aside on a sheet pan. This step can be done in advance.
Make the Soup
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and meatballs, return to a boil and cook until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped kale and simmer for a couple of minutes more, until the kale is just wilted but still a vibrant green.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with a little extra grated cheese.