This Italian wedding soup is meatballs, vegetables, greens and pasta all simmered together in a savory broth. The perfect way to warm up on a cold day!
Sometimes you just need a big bowl of soup on a cold day, and this Italian wedding soup is one of my all time favorites. That hearty combination of meatballs, veggies and pasta just can’t be beat. As a bonus, this soup is a great way to get the kids to happily eat their veggies.
What is Italian wedding soup?
Italian wedding soup is a soup that’s made with some type of meat (typically meatballs) and leafy greens. It’s called wedding soup because the Italian phrase translates to “married soup”, which refers to the marriage of the flavors of the greens and meat. Italian wedding soup can often contain other types of vegetables, as well as pasta.
How do you make Italian wedding soup?
The first step is to make your meatballs, which are a combination of ground pork, beef, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and spices. I like to make my meatballs on the smaller side so that they’re bite sized. The meatballs are broiled until golden brown.
While the meatballs are cooking, I saute some vegetables in butter. The veggies simmer away with small pasta in chicken broth. Add your meatballs and dinner is ready!
Tips for Italian wedding soup
- I use a combination of beef and pork for the meatballs, which is fairly traditional, but you could use all beef or even ground turkey or chicken.
- You can cook the meatballs up to 2 days before you plan to make the soup, or even freeze some meatballs for later use.
- I prefer to broil the meatballs because I like them to have that nice browned exterior, and that way the meatballs will not fall apart in the soup. That being said, if you prefer, you can skip the broiling step and instead simmer the meatballs in the soup for 10 minutes.
- This recipe calls for acini de pepe pasta, which are tiny balls of pasta. If you can’t find this variety, you can use Israeli couscous or orzo pasta.
Italian wedding soup variations
This is a pretty straightforward recipe, but there are different ways you can customize it to your family’s tastes.
- Sausage: Use one part Italian sausage and one part ground beef to make the meatballs.
- Greens: Substitute kale, escarole, endive or cabbage instead of the spinach.
- Vegetables: You can add more vegetables to the soup such as potatoes, green beans or zucchini.
- Low Carb: Use cauliflower rice instead of pasta.
Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup
This soup recipe can easily be adapted to work in the slow cooker. Prepare your meatballs as directed, them add them to the crock pot along with the carrots, onion, celery, garlic and chicken broth. Cook on low for 4 hours, then stir in the spinach and pasta and cook for another 20 minutes or until pasta is done. Top with parsley, then serve.
Keep in mind that the pasta will continue to absorb the broth as it sits, so while leftovers of this soup are still totally delicious, they resemble more of a stew! You can always add a little more chicken broth to thin out your soup when reheating.
This Italian wedding soup is on our menu all year long, and it always gets rave reviews from family and friends.
More great soup recipes
Italian Wedding Soup Video
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1/2 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup onion diced
- 3/4 cup carrots peeled, halved and sliced
- 1/2 cup celery sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup acini de pepe pasta uncooked
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- cooking spray
- Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat it with cooking spray.
- Place the ground beef, pork, egg, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine.
- Roll 1/2 inch sized meatballs out of the meat mixture and place on the sheet pan.
- Broil for 8 minutes or until tops are browned.
- While the meatballs are cooking, melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook for 5-6 minutes or until just softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the chicken broth and acini de pepe, then season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the soup. Cook for 10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted.
- Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.