Our Healthy Italian Wedding Soup is the absolute perfect comfort food for a cold day! It's extremely simple, delicious and can be made in UNDER 30 minutes!
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The other day my kids and I were craving soup. It had been raining for almost a week straight and we were just plain cold! I love Italian Wedding Soup, so we decided to give it a shot. Because we like to keep things interesting, we added a little more color to our soup by including carrots (a household staple of ours).
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
I had always assumed that Italian Wedding Soup was a traditional soup served at weddings...in Italy, naturally. Yet, after doing a little research, I learned this is a misconception. The soup's original name in Italian is minestra maritata, which actually translates to "married soup." The real marriage is actually between the soup's two main ingredients: green vegetables and meat.
What Makes this Italian Wedding Soup Healthy?
Here's what makes our Italian Wedding Soup a healthier choice for our family:
- Turkey meatballs. Compared to traditional beef or pork meatballs, turkey meatballs are lower in fat and sodium, making them a healthier choice for this dish.
- Lots of Veggies. This soup calls for some of our favorite veggies- carrots, celery, onions, garlic and spinach!
- Chicken broth. Chicken broth has many health benefits. It's packed with important protein and essential fatty acids. It's also rich in iron. For an even healthier spin on this dish, consider using low sodium chicken broth.
What to do with the Leftovers
The cool thing about this Healthy Italian Wedding Soup is what happens to the leftovers. Just like our beloved Sausage Orzo Soup, you'll find that all the broth gets soaked up overnight. We loved the dish the next day because the pasta, veggies, and meatballs were even more flavorful and juicy after soaking up all the broth. So, the next day you can either add broth and have soup again OR eat the dish as-is, like a pasta.
Keep in mind if you'd like to eat your leftovers in its original soup-like form, cook the pasta separately from the start and simply add the pasta to each bowl you serve. That way, you can prevent your pasta from soaking up the broth overtime.
How to Make Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
Notes on Ingredients:
- Ground turkey- we used ground turkey for our meatballs, but you can choose any type of ground meat you prefer.
- Red pepper- this it totally optional and based on preference
- Chicken broth/stock - Better than Bouillon Organic Roasted Chicken Base is a great option because it has great flavor, lasts a long time, creates less waste, and take up less room in your fridge.
Step 1: Cook veggies and broth
🥄Kid Step: Help peel carrots and chop vegetables.* Our kids love these Curious Chef Children's Knives
Step 2: Cook Pasta
🥄Kid Step: Set the timer for the pasta. This is a good chance for kids to learn about cooking times.
Step 3: Form and Sear Meatballs
Step 4: Add Meatballs to Soup
While we used ground turkey for our meatballs, any kind of ground meat will work nicely in, including ground beef, chicken or sausage.
Yes, this soup freezes nicely in an air tight container. We also recommend cooking your pasta separate from the soup if you plan to freeze your Italian wedding soup. That way, the noodles won't be mushy from having absorbed your soup's broth.
We love topping our wedding soup with parmesan and serving it with a side of toasted garlic bread. We love Pepperidge Farm's frozen garlic bread.
Customize your Dish
🍅Make it Vegetarian! (1) Eliminate the meatballs, (2) use vegetable broth instead of chicken, and (3) increase the spinach and veggies (that's what I like to do!). With these changes, the soup will cook even faster.
🍅Make it Vegan! 1) Eliminate the meatballs, (2) use vegetable broth instead of chicken, (3) increase the spinach and veggies, and (4) replace the parmesan cheese garnish with nutritional yeast. With these changes, the soup will cook even faster.
🍅Make it Gluten Free! (1) Eliminate the pasta and replace with brown or white rice, and (2) don't put breadcrumbs in the meatballs.
🍅Make it Dairy Free! Simply remove the parmesan cheese from the meatball mix and as a serving garnish.
Tips for Picky Eaters
🍅Swap the veggies. Try exchanging some veggies in the soup for ones your kids prefer. Or increase/decrease veggies in the recipe.
🍅Serve raw spinach on the side. I literally had to fish the "yucky green stuff" (aka spinach) out of my daughter's soup bowl because it freaked her out. If your kids don't like cooked spinach, serve some raw spinach on the side.
🍅Add some carbs! You can have some bread, toast, or crackers with the soup. My kids liked to add goldfish crackers to their soup and dip toast into the broth.
Craft for this Recipe: Pasta Snowflakes
Want to get into the winter spirit? Grab some glue, paper, and pasta....and make these cute pasta snowflakes with us!
Other Healthy Recipes
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
- 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
- 2-3 large carrots (thinly sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 8 cups chicken broth/stock (or 64 oz, plus extra for leftovers)
- 1 large bunch spinach (remove stems if necessary)
- 1 cup Acini di Pepe pasta
- parmesan cheese (shredded or shaved, for serving)
- red pepper flakes (for serving)
- Heat olive oil on medium in large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth and spinach and bring soup mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, add uncooked pasta to soup mixture and cook for 10 minutes. NOTE: set aside some uncooked pasta for the Acini Di Pepe Snowflakes Craft.
- Meanwhile, use your hands to combine all meatball ingredients (except the olive oil) in a large bowl. Create small meatballs from the mixture, using your hands or this small scooper (that we highly recommend). Place meatballs on a large heated skillet coated with the olive oil. Sear meatballs on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side. (You will likely need to do this in 2 batches).
- Add seared meatballs to boiling soup mixture and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center.
- Serve soup topped with shredded parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes as desired. You can serve with toast or crackers on the side.
- If you plan to serve leftovers, cook pasta separately from the soup so that the pasta doesn't soak up broth.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. While we are not certified nutritionists, we work with a WordPress-integrated nutrition API to calculate our recipes' ingredient values.