(originally posted January 11, 2019; reposted in honor of our mom’s wedding weekend!)
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).
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.
The cool thing about this Italian Wedding Soup is what happens to the leftovers. Just like our 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.
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Swap the veggies. Try exchanging some veggies in the soup for ones your kids prefer. Or increase/decrease veggies in the recipe.
🍅Pick another pasta. Swap the Acini di Pepe for your kids’ favorite noodles, i.e. rotini or orzo. If that gets them more pumped to eat dinner, it’s totally worth it.
🍅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.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Make it Vegetarian! (1) Eliminate the meatballs, (2) use vegetable stock 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 stock 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.
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- 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)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
- 4 t dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped)
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1-2 T olive oil
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. You can use your hands, but we highly recommend using this small scooper. It saves so much time!
Place meatballs on a large heated skillet coated with 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.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.