Easy Italian Wedding Soup

By Rena Awada | Updated On October 12, 2022

This Cozy and delicious Italian Wedding Soup recipe is protein-packed and incredibly nourishing. Made with beef meatballs, plenty of vegetables, and orzo pasta all simmered together in a savory broth. The perfect comfort food for colder months!

top view of italian wedding soup in a white bowl

It’s officially soup season! And there’s not much better than a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly day, and this Italian wedding soup is one of our all-time favorites. That hearty, flavorful combination of meatballs, veggies, and pasta just can’t be beaten.

Why you should make this recipe

  • Super satisfying: This dish is incredibly delicious, comforting, and filling. It’s sure to become a family favorite!
  • Good for you: Loaded with wholesome ingredients that keep you satisfied while nourishing your body. This meal has it all from the protein-packed beef to the nutrient-rich veggies.
  • Full of flavor: This cozy bowl of deliciousness is one that you’ll want on repeat all season long. Serve with a warm loaf of crusty bread for sopping up all that wonderful broth!
  • Easy to make and reheats well: Soups are usually easy to make and this Italian wedding soup falls into that category. This one also reheats well, so you can enjoy a comforting bowl of soup for several days.
Bowl filled with meatballs, veggies and orzo pasta in a broth.

Key ingredients needed

This cozy, comforting dish is packed with protein, LOTS of vegetables, and flavor. You’re going to be in LOVE. Here are all of the essentials needed to make it:

  • For the meatballs: We’re using lean ground beef for the meatballs. If you don’t want to use beef, try using ground chicken or turkey. The meatballs are also made with eggs, panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
  • Vegetables: A combination of carrots, celery, onion, red bell pepper, and kale gives this soup plenty of flavor and nutrients.
  • Pasta: Traditionally, this is made with acini di pepe (acini de Pepe) which is a small tiny pasta, but orzo is easy to find and works great.

Substitutions & variations

This is a pretty straightforward recipe, but there are different ways you can customize it to your family’s tastes.

  • Meat: For an extra bold flavor try subbing half of the ground beef with Italian sausage to make the meatballs. You can also use half pork and half beef.
  • Greens: Substitute spinach, escarole, endive, or cabbage instead of kale.
  • Vegetables: You can sub in your favorite veggies and omit those that you don’t love. Another option is to add more vegetables to the soup; such as potatoes, green beans, or zucchini.
  • Pasta: We love orzo pasta in this, but any tiny pasta will work. Acini de Pepe is traditional in this recipe and you could even use Israeli couscous.
Uncooked ingredients like beef, broth and vegetables divided into small portions.

How to make this Italian wedding soup recipe

This Italian wedding soup recipe is pretty simple to make. Once you have your meatballs formed and baking, you can get the soup started. Here’s the easy process:

For the full, printable recipe, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Make the meatballs: In a mixing bowl combine the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Make 1 tablespoon of meatballs and arrange them on the prepared baking tray.
Raw meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the meatballs: Once all the meatballs are done shaping, bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Make the soup: Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or a soup pot, heat the oil. Sauté the celery, carrots, onion, and pepper for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the broth and bring it to a boil.
Sautéing veggies in a large pot.
  • Add meatballs & simmer: As soon as the meatballs are done baking, carefully transfer them into the soup. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes.
  • Add the pasta & kale: Stir in the orzo and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Over the last 2 minutes, add the chopped kale to the soup.
  • Serve: Season to your taste and serve warm with crusty bread and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley!
Soup made with meatballs, carrots and kale in a white bowl.

Tips for recipe success

  • Size of meatballs: Because this is soup, it’s recommended that the meatballs are more on the small side and try to make sure they are uniform in size, so they cook evenly.
  • Make ahead: You can cook the meatballs up to 2 days before you plan to make the soup, or even freeze some meatballs for later use.
  • Using frozen meatballs: To save time, frozen meatballs may be used. I recommend Italian or chicken meatballs. Mini meatballs are a great choice. No need to bake them, you will simply add them to the soup and simmer until heated through.
top view white bowl with soup containing meatballs

Frequently asked questions

Why do they call it Italian wedding soup?

Classic Italian wedding soup is made with meatballs and leafy greens. The name wedding soup was used because the Italian phrase translates to “married soup” or in Italian, minestra maritata, which refers to the marriage of the flavors of greens and meat. It also traditionally contains vegetables and tiny pasta.

Do they serve Italian wedding soup at Italian weddings?

No, the name of this soup has nothing to do with actual weddings. As mentioned, previously, the name comes from the Italian phrase, minestra maritata, or “married soup”, which is a reference to the way the flavors combine.

What goes with Italian wedding soup?

This soup is plenty satisfying on its own, but it also pairs nicely with a fresh green salad. We also love it served with bread to soak up the flavorful broth! Try it with garlic bread, breadsticks, rolls, a slice of buttered sourdough, or a crusty baguette!

top close up view of meatball soup with veggies in a white bowl

Storage

  • To store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Rewarm leftovers in a large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding a bit more broth or water, as needed. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave until hot.
  • To freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the soup with the date, so you know when it went into the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

More homemade soup recipes to try

White bowl filled with Italian wedding soup near the pot of soup.

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top view of italian wedding soup in a white bowl

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

Cozy and delicious Italian Wedding Soup is protein-packed, and incredibly nourishing. Made with beef meatballs, plenty of vegetables, and orzo pasta all simmered together in a savory broth. The perfect comfort food for colder months!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Soup:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Make 1 tablespoon of meatballs and arrange them on the prepared baking tray. Once all the meatballs are done shaping, bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or a soup pot, heat the oil. Sauté the celery, carrots, onion, and pepper for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the broth and bring it to a boil.
  • As soon as the meatballs are done baking, carefully transfer them into the soup. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the orzo and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Over the last 2 minutes, add the chopped kale to the soup. Season to your taste and serve warm.

Notes

  • To store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days. Rewarm leftovers in a large pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding a bit more broth or water, as needed. You can also reheat this soup in the microwave until hot.
  • To freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Be sure to label the soup with the date, so you know when it went into the freezer. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1771mg | Potassium: 700mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4804IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 153mg | Iron: 4mg
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