This Italian Wedding Soup marries delicious Italian flavors together in one pot! Made with homemade meatballs, vegetables, kale, and pasta, this classic soup is easy to make in less than an hour on the stove top.
Italian Wedding Soup always makes for a delicious, hearty, and warming family-friendly meal.
Loaded with delicious Italian flavors, fried beef and pork meatballs, a pile of fresh vegetables, grated parmesan cheese, chicken broth, and acini de pepe pasta, it comes together on the stove in no time and is even easy to prepare ahead of time.
There are so many available substitutions and adjustments you can make to this Italian wedding meatball soup recipe to make it your own. Don’t feel like making homemade meatballs? Use frozen store-bought meatballs instead! Out of fresh kale? Toss in some spinach or escarole. The options are endless!
What is Italian wedding soup?
Italian wedding soup is similar to minestrone soup, as it features classic Italian flavors, cheese and herbs, plenty of vegetables, and a hearty broth. What really sets this soup apart are the meatballs, pasta, and leafy greens.
The name Italian wedding soup comes from the Italian phrase, “minestra maritata”, meaning “married soup”. This references how all of the ingredients and Italian flavors are “married” together once they come together in the pot.
What do you need to make Italian wedding soup?
- Beef and pork meatballs – These savory homemade ground beef and ground pork meatballs are seasoned with parmesan cheese and Italian seasonings. They’re very easy to make and are quickly pan-fried before being added to the wedding soup.
- Soup vegetables – Like onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and kale. You can easily switch up the greens by using spinach, endive, or escarole in addition to or instead of the kale.
- Acini de pepe pasta – This Italian pasta is a staple in Italian wedding soup recipes. The small round shape makes for easy eating and gives the soup added texture and heartiness. If you can’t find acini de pepe, you can use ditalini or orzo pasta instead.
- Chicken broth – While this is the traditional choice, you can swap it for vegetable broth, beef broth, parmesan broth, or bone broth instead.
- Parmesan cheese – Get a block of cheese and shred it yourself. The rind can even be cooked along with the soup for added cheesiness.
How to make Italian wedding soup with meatballs
First, make the meatballs but mixing all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Gently form ¾-inch wide meatballs and place them on a foil-covered baking sheet.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the meatballs. Turn them occasionally until all sides are browned. Set them aside on a paper towel-lined plate while you cook the soup.
Heat some olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until they’re soft, then add the garlic.
Pour the chicken broth into the pot and bring it up to a boil. Add the pasta and meatballs and stir to combine. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer. Stir the kale into the soup.
Once the kale has wilted, ladle the finished soup into bowls. Serve with parmesan cheese and parsley on top, then enjoy!
Tips and variations:
- Form your meatballs with a teaspoon so they’re all the same size.
- If you don’t feel like cooking your own meatballs, you can use frozen Italian meatballs instead.
- Did you go through the whole block of parmesan? Throw the rind into the pot! As it cooks along with the soup, it’ll infuse delicious cheesy and salty flavors. Or, try making it with this parmesan broth!
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes in the soup or meatballs for a touch of heat.
- Save time by cooking the meatballs ahead of time. Either store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 days or freeze them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
- Want to bake the meatballs instead? Lay them on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 400ºF oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
What goes well with Italian wedding soup?
- Crusty bread or crostini
- Homemade Croutons
- Toasted Ravioli
- Arugula Salad
- Wedge Salad
- 30+ EASY side dishes for soup
- 20+ Italian Salad Recipes
- The BEST Italian desserts
Wine pairings for Italian wedding soup:
- A rustic and hearty Zinfandel would complement the hearty meatballs.
- You could also pair a Pinot Grigio or an Italian Red Blend with Italian wedding soup.
If you loved this easy Italian wedding soup recipe, I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished sub and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
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Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup yellow onion (diced)
- 3/4 cup diced carrots (diced)
- 3/4 cup celery (diced)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 cups chicken broth (64 oz )
- 1 cup acini de pepe pasta (uncooked (½ package) (or ditalini or orzo))
- 5 ounces baby kale (chopped)
- Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
- Finely shredded parmesan cheese (for serving)
- In a large mixing bowl combine all meatball ingredients.
- Using your hands, mix until well combined, then gently form into very small meatballs, about ¾” wide.
- Transfer to a large baking sheet covered with foil (for easy cleanup) or a large plate.
- Heat 1 TBSP in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add half the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 4-5 minutes.
- Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining meatballs.
- While meatballs are browning, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add in pasta and meatballs and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium (low boil) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in kale and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until pasta is tender and kale has wilted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and parsley. Enjoy!
If you have a leftover parmesan rind, throw it in with the pasta as it cooks
Do ahead: Can make the meatballs ahead of time and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for 3 months.
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