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Italian Wedding Soup: the best recipe for a hearty, comforting soup 

Total time: 45 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist


for the meatballs
Ground beef
1/2 lb
Ground pork
1/2 lb
egg, beaten
Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup
garlic, finely diced
3 cloves
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 cup
salt and pepper to taste
for the soup
carrots, diced
1 1/4 cups
yellow onion, diced
1 1/4 cups
celery, diced
3/4 cup
Garlic, minced
1 tbsp
Chicken broth
8 cups
Italian seasoning
2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste
acini de pepe pasta
3/4 cup
Fresh Spinach
8 oz
fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish
freshly grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Rich, hearty Italian wedding soup is perfect for keeping the cold at bay. Made with meatballs, vegetables, and acini de pepe pasta, it's a flavorful soup popular throughout the United States.

Despite its name, Italian wedding soup isn't a traditional Italian dish or one that's served at weddings. Rather it's a version of minestra maritata, or married soup, which is a nod to the “marriage” between the flavors of the meat and the vegetables.

It's similar to minestrone, but is made with meatballs; minestrone is usually made from vegetables and pasta. Italian wedding soup is a phenomenal freezer-friendly soup, and it doesn't take long to make – a perfect project for a chilly afternoon!

Italian Wedding Soup Ingredients

Italian wedding soup is made from a wonderful combination of meatballs, pasta, and vegetables simmered in a tasty broth. You'll need meatballs – you can make them from scratch or buy frozen ones from your local supermarket, as well as fresh veggies like celery, carrots, onions, and spinach.

Chicken broth forms the liquid base of the soup, and you'll need some acini de pepe pasta, which is a type of small round pasta often used in soups and salads.

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup 

To make classic Italian wedding soup, start by mixing the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! Shape them into 1-inch meatballs. Fry the meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Take them out with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Stir carrots, onion, and celery, and cook them for 5 minutes, or until they become nice and soft. Add in the garlic and fry it until it becomes fragrant about 1 minute.

Pour in the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and let the liquid come to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer, and add in meatballs and pasta. Simmer the soup for about 10 minutes to cook the pasta and finish cooking the meatballs. Stir in the spinach then garnish the soup generously with fresh chopped parsley and parmesan. Serve it warm with some crusty bread, and enjoy!

Italian wedding soup can be made on the stove, in a crockpot, or an Instant Pot. To make slow cooker Italian wedding soup, cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. For Instant Pot Italian wedding soup, pressure cook the soup for 5 minutes, followed by a quick release. Stir in the pasta, then cook for 9 minutes, then add the spinach, parmesan, and parsley.


What is the Best Pasta for Italian Wedding Soup?

Acini de pepe is the gold standard for Italian wedding soup. They're a small, round pasta that is also used in salad recipes. If you can't get a hold of acini de pepe, orzo is a fantastic alternative.

Tips for Making the Best Italian Wedding Soup 

Use 80 percent lean ground beef for your meatballs. Make sure not to overwork the meat.

In a rush? Use premade or frozen meatballs instead of making them from scratch.

You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach. Just let it thaw first. If you don't want to use spinach, kale, escarole, endives, and other leafy greens are excellent substitutes.

For an even heartier, meatier soup, add some chopped Italian sausage.

You can make Italian wedding soup up to 2 days in advance, however, don't add the pasta or meatballs until you're ready to serve it.

What to Serve with Italian Wedding Soup 

Italian wedding soup is a hearty dish, so serve it with light sides like dinner rolls, salad, garlic bread, homemade garlic knots, biscuits, or some roasted vegetables.

How to Store Italian Wedding Soup 

Keep your Italian wedding soup in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days. Frozen wedding soup lasts up to 4 months.

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In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients.

Shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned on the outside.

Remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Stir onion.

Add carrots and celery, and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour in the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and add in pasta.

Add in meatballs. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add in the spinach.

Garnish with parmesan and parsley, then serve.


For a less salty soup, use low sodium chicken broth.

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