Italian Wedding Soup
Full of miniature meatballs, tender pasta, and fresh veggies, this easy Italian Wedding Soup is healthy, hearty, and satisfying comfort food!
Servings 12 cups
For the Meatballs:
- ½ lb. ground chicken
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ¼ cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
For the Soup:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 large carrots (or 3-4 smaller carrots), peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ½ of a large onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 cup uncooked small pasta (such as acini di pepe, orzo, stelline or ditalini)
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley; grated Parmesan cheese
Make the Soup:
In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or enough to coat the bottom of the pot) over medium-high heat. Place half of the meatballs in a single layer in the pot. Cook the meatballs until nicely browned, about 1-2 minutes per side (they do not need to be completely cooked through). Transfer the meatballs to a tray and repeat with additional oil and remaining meatballs. Set browned meatballs aside.
Leave the browned bits and drippings in the pot and heat another 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft – about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute.
Add broth and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to medium or medium-low so that the broth is simmering. Stir in the pasta and meatballs. Cook until the pasta is tender (if using acini de pepe this will take about 10 minutes, for orzo this will be about 7-9 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, discard bay leaf, and stir in the spinach. The heat of the broth will wilt the spinach almost instantly. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Slow Cooker Method:
- Prepare the meatballs as instructed and pan-fry in a skillet.
- Place the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaf in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the fried meatballs on top and pour 8 cups of broth over top (this is less broth than the stovetop method, because the slow cooker adds a lot of condensation back into the soup).
- Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
- During the final 15-20 minutes of cooking, stir in the dry pasta. Cover and continue cooking until the pasta is tender.
- Add the spinach to the pot at the very end and stir just until the leaves wilt.
Serving: 1cup | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 909mg | Potassium: 460mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2844IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg