Italian Wedding Soup
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Italian Wedding Soup is a hearty broth-based soup filled with tender meatballs, vegetables and pasta. It’s cozy, warming and all-around delicious!
I love this time of year, when there’s a chill in the air and we can finally enjoy all of our favorite cold weather comfort foods, like soups and chilis. Simmering a pot of soup on the stove for dinner makes the house feel extra warm and cozy. I’ve shared many well-loved soup recipes here, and this Italian wedding soup is one of our very favorites.
Every bite of this wedding soup is loaded with flavor. From the tender homemade meatballs to the softened veggies, flavorful broth and tiny acini de pepe pasta, there’s so much to love about this comforting soup.
Why is it called wedding soup? The name wedding soup comes from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata,” which translates to “married soup.” This name refers to the fact that the ingredients, traditionally meat and green vegetables, are married together in the soup, so that their flavors blend into one delicious pot of goodness. In this Italian wedding soup recipe, we have tiny meatballs and fresh spinach for the greens.
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe Ingredients
The ingredients are divided into two parts, those that you’ll need for the meatballs and the rest of the soup ingredients.
What You’ll Need for the Meatballs
You’ll be rolling the meat mixture into about 50 tiny meatballs. These bite-size meatballs are packed with flavor!
- Ground Turkey and Italian Sausage: This combination of meats makes the meatballs so flavorful! You can use pork, chicken or turkey sausage. Feel free to sub ground chicken or ground beef for the ground turkey.
- Egg: Helps to bind the meatballs together.
- Parmesan Cheese: For a pop of cheesy, salty flavor.
- Italian Breadcrumbs: Using Italian breadcrumbs instead of plain is an easy way to boost the flavor of the meatballs. If you only have plain breadcrumbs on hand (panko or regular), just add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the meat mixture.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds the best flavor.
- Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper: More seasonings for the meatballs.
Remaining Soup Ingredients
- Olive Oil: For sautéing the vegetables.
- Onion, Carrots and Celery: These three vegetables create a flavorful base for the soup.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is a must!
- Chicken Broth: I prefer to use low sodium broth and then salt the soup to taste.
- Italian Seasoning and Black Pepper: To season the soup.
- Acini de Pepe Pasta: Acini de pepe is a tiny round pasta and we love it in this soup. If you can’t find it, orzo or ditalini are good substitutes.
- Spinach: Chopped fresh spinach wilts down into the hot broth and adds a pop of color as well as more veggies. Chopped fresh kale could also be used.
How to Make Italian Wedding Soup
Here’s an overview of the recipe steps. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Combine the meatball ingredients. First mix together everything except the meat, then add the ground turkey and sausage and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix at this point, because that could make the meatballs tough.
- Shape the meat mixture into approximately 50 small (3/4 to 1-inch) meatballs and place on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 450 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through to 165 degrees F.
- While the meatballs bake, chop the onion, carrots and celery.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the broth, Italian seasoning, pepper and cooked meatballs.
- Simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes, until the carrots are almost soft.
- Stir in the pasta, cover the pot, and simmer until the pasta is cooked to al dente.
- Stir in the chopped spinach and cook until the spinach wilts, 1-2 minutes.
Then serve and enjoy!
This soup is so hearty and delicious as is, it doesn’t need much in the way of toppings or side dishes. We love to top our bowls with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, plus a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes for the adults. On the side, try one of these:
- Garlic Knots: Our recipe makes the best chewy, garlicky knots.
- Garlic Bread: So simple, and it always satisfies.
- Green Salad: A crisp green salad is the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soup.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerator: Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: If you plan to freeze the soup, it’s best to freeze it without the pasta. You can take out a few portions of soup for the freezer before adding the pasta (reduce the amount of pasta for a smaller quantity of soup). Soup may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. If desired, add pasta to the soup as it reheats on the stove, adding more liquid as needed.
- To Reheat: Reheat in a covered pot on the stove over medium heat or in the microwave until hot.
More Cozy Soup Recipes
When it’s cold and dreary outside, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a steaming bowl of this Italian wedding soup. I think you’ll agree that it’s the best Italian wedding soup recipe!
Italian Wedding Soup
For the Meatballs
- canola oil, for greasing the baking sheet
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces ground turkey
- 8 ounces Italian sausage, pork, chicken or turkey, removed from casings
For the Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 large carrots, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup dry acini de pepe pasta, or orzo or ditalini
- 3 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- fresh parsley and/or grated Parmesan cheese, optional, for serving
Make the Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 450° F. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet with canola oil.
- In a large bowl, combine the egg, grated Parmesan, Italian breadcrumbs, minced garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined.
- Add the ground turkey and Italian sausage to the bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Form the mixture into small meatballs that are ¾ to 1-inch wide and place them on the greased baking sheet. (You should get about 50 small meatballs.)
- Bake meatballs in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, until cooked to 165° F.
Make the Soup
- While the meatballs bake, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.
- Stir in the broth, Italian seasoning, black pepper and cooked meatballs. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are almost soft.
- Stir in the pasta, cover the pot, and simmer until the pasta is just al dente, 9-10 minutes or according to the pasta package directions.
- Uncover the pot, stir in the chopped spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Taste the soup and season with additional salt or pepper, if needed. Serve with fresh parsley and/or Parmesan cheese, or as desired.
- Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Freeze: If you plan to freeze the soup, it’s best to freeze it without the pasta. You can take out a few portions of soup for the freezer before adding the pasta (reduce the amount of pasta for a smaller quantity of soup). Soup may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. If desired, add pasta to the soup when reheating on the stove.