Italian Wedding Soup

January 30, 2017

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Best Italian Wedding Soup! I used to be intimidated to make Italian Wedding Soup. I have no Italian lineage and my mom never made it growing up, so for whatever reason it seemed easy to mess up.

But I’m here to tell you it is so easy to make and following this simple recipe people may likely think it was passed down from an Italian Grandmother.

Closeup overhead image of Italian Wedding Soup in a large white bowl.

Tips for the Best Italian Wedding Soup

This is my idea of the best Italian Wedding Soup! What makes it the best you’re likely asking? It’s a number of things so here we go:

  • Searing the meatballs is a game changer in my opinion. Why just simmer them in broth them when you can brown them first add add all that flavor?
  • Make the meatballs small. This is soup, not a big bowl of pasta.
  • Use fresh herbs. They really add great flavor.
  • Stick with the combination of the two meats.
  • Use fresh bread crumbs. Again we’re building better flavor. The texture of dry would throw this recipe off anyway.
  • Don’t be skimpy with the garlic. This is an Italian soup. I like to use 4 cloves here.
  • Bring on the parm! The shredded parmesan will really compliment the soup nicely. It may not be pictured as a finishing garnish, but don’t leave it off!
  • Stick with tiny pasta, I love how it sets this soup apart.

 

Two white bowls filled wit Italian Wedding Soup set over a gray surface.

Want to see how easy this Italian Wedding Soup recipe is? Watch the video!

What Pasta to Use for Italian Wedding Soup?

I like this best with acini de pepe. Acini de pepe are just those tiny little round pasta that can usually be found by the other pastas at the grocery store. If you can’t find them orzo will work here as well.

Italian Wedding Soup in a large white enameled pot. Soup includes meatballs, bits of pasta, carrots, celery, spinach and broth.

Can I Substitute Other Greens Here?

I prefer the flavor of the spinach best here but kale, endive or escarole are other greens commonly used in Italian Wedding Soup and they would work fine in this recipe.

If using one of those previously listed I’d recommend adding them along with the pasta as they’ll need a longer cook time. The spinach cooks almost instantly whereas those others wont.

This soup might require a little more prep than some of your average soups (such as grinding up fresh bread crumbs and shaping and browning the tiny meatballs) but the extra steps and extra pan are so worth it in the end. Hope you love it too!

Italian Wedding Soup. Two servings shown in a white bowl with a white pot half full in the background.

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4.99 from 116 votes

Italian Wedding Soup

The BEST Italian Wedding Soup! Filled with homemade browned meatballs, fresh veggies and tiny bits of pasta. Total comfort food any day of the year!
Servings: 6
Prep25 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 8 oz lean ground beef
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh hearty white bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups 1/4-inch diced carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups diced yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced (1 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 5 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry acini de pepe or orzo pasta**
  • 6 oz fresh spinach , chopped
  • Finely shredded parmesan , for serving

Instructions

  • For the meatballs:
  • Add beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Add in bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, parmesan, egg, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • Gently toss and break up mixture with hands to evenly coat and distribute. Shape mixture into very small meatballs, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch and transfer to a large plate.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook until browned, turning occasionally (to brown on 2 or 3 sides), about 4 minutes total.
  • Transfer meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels while leaving oil in skillet. Repeat process with remaining meatballs (note that meatballs won't be cooked through at this point, they'll continue to cook through in the soup).
  • For the soup:
  • While meatballs are browning, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until veggies have softened about 6 - 8 minutes, add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  • Pour in chicken broth, season soup with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs, reduce heat to light boil (about medium or medium-low).
  • Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender and meatballs have cooked through, about 10 minutes, while adding in spinach during the last minute of cooking. Serve warm, sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • *I recommend using bread such as a La Brea french loaf. Just grind up a slice in a food processor to find crumbs. Save the remaining bread for serving (slathered with butter of course) or freeze for another later use.
  • **If you like a more brothier soup you can reduce pasta to 3/4 cup. Note that as the soup sits the pasta will absorb more broth so you can add more broth to thin the soup as desired.
Nutrition Facts
Italian Wedding Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 396 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 362mg16%
Potassium 911mg26%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 7490IU150%
Vitamin C 16.6mg20%
Calcium 190mg19%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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258 Comments

  • Terri Lassaline

    Loved this. Only change was dried oregano and I didn’t have parsley. Will make again, for sure.

  • Toni Meyer

    This is my second time making this delicious soup,I left out bread crumbs and use wild rice instead of pasta . Thank you for sharing your recipe 🙂

  • Jessica

    We loved this. I used ground turkey for the meatballs and added garlic powder. Also used Isreali couscous instead of pasta. Added chopped zucchini as well. And juice of a lemon before serving. So delicious.

  • Tony

    This recipe has become a go-to in my household! On weeks when I feel like doing a little bit extra I make the meatballs from scratch, but on weeks when I just need a quick dinner I use frozen turkey meatballs instead! Versatile and delicious.

  • Valerie

    AMAZING! Best Italian Wedding Soup ever! I was using another recipe before this one, but this will be my GO TO! Such delicious, layered flavors. Frying up the meatballs really adds depth to the soup. Made a double batch and brought some to my sister and my sons house. They were so appreciative! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be checking out your other recipes too.

  • Judi

    Love this! I’m cook simple or I go home. Easy to double. Best day after. Looks and tastes impressive. Meatballs take awhile but I bake rather than fry. Fry probably tastes better but I’m not up for it, especially when we’re taking several dozen or more meatballs.

  • Jennelle

    We made this today and it was delicious! My husband said, “Make sure you save that recipe…it’s a keeper!” 😂

    My only question is, in the video that plays on the side you use a scooper to make your meatballs. Do you know what size you used?

    I tried to eyeball my meatballs, but some ended up significantly bigger than the others. Eek 😬

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      So glad you and your husband enjoyed! You’ll want to use a small cookie dough scoop for these.