A nice big pot of healthy Italian wedding soup is always a fabulous dinner to come home to.
Italian wedding soup is delicious stuff. It’s filling, full of good nutritious ingredients and makes a great dinner any night of the week.
What Is Italian Wedding Soup
This is a soup that reportedly began in Naples, Italy. The name comes from the Italian words, “minestra miritata”. Or “married soup”. However, this is not a reference to actually getting married. Instead, this references the “marriage” of some sort of greens, such as spinach, chard or kale, and meat. In many cases, the meat is beef or pork. But in this healthier version, I used ground turkey.
Is Italian Wedding Soup Served At Weddings?
I hate to burst your bubble, but no, it isn’t. Originally, this was a peasant dish that didn’t contain any meatballs at all. The meatballs seem to be an American addition. Originally, greens were paired with whatever bits of meat a peasant could find to throw into the soup for flavor. Not very romantic, to say the least. But if you ask me, this dish has come a long way from its humble beginnings.
What Goes With Italian Wedding Soup?
Italian wedding soup, while tasty to be sure, has a rather generalized flavor profile. And all I mean by that, is that this soup will pair well with just about anything you enjoy eating with soup. Here are some suggestions:
What Soups Are The Healthiest?
As with most foods, the healthiest soups are the ones with the best ingredients. Real food ingredients that have some actual nutrition without all the additives and chemicals you find in processed, manufactured foods. But beyond that, soups that are a little lighter on the saturated fats are always a good thing.
We all need a little bit of saturated fats. The problem arises when we constantly eat too much of it. So cream and cheese based soups are often the culprits if the rest of your eating plan is also full of those things.
In this case, we have a broth-based soup with all-natural ingredients. It’s filled with veggies, and if you use a whole grain or alternative pasta (I used chickpea flour pasta), you really can’t go wrong.
What You’ll Need
2 tbsp. oil – Use whatever oil you are comfortable with. A light flavored oil is best, but use whatever you usually cook with.
1 cup sliced carrots – I used baby carrots for their smaller size. But you can use regular carrots too, if you prefer.
1 cup sliced celery – Slice these thin, unless you like a toothier bite of celery. Not everyone does, so it’s up to you.
1 cup chopped purple onions – If all you have are yellow onions, that’s fine too. Purple onions are a little sweeter and add a nice flavor here. But yellow will work just as well.
6 medium garlic cloves – Mince these as fine as you can get them.
8 cups chicken broth – Look for broth that has no added sugar (most often dextrose), and opt for low sodium if you can.
½ cup chopped parsley – Chop, measure and divide. Half will go into the meatballs, the other half will go into the broth at the end.
2 cups raw baby spinach leaves – I buy mine pre-washed/pre-packaged. You can also use regular spinach leaves if you prefer. Either will work here.
1 large egg – This is optional and will soften your meatballs. If you choose to leave it out, the meatballs will be a bit more dense in texture. Neither is good or bad. It just comes down to your meatball preference.
1 lb. ground turkey – You could use beef or a mixture of beef and pork if you like. But in my book, the turkey is healthier, so that’s what I used.
¼ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt. Use what you normally use to season your food.
1 tbsp. garlic powder – garlic granules will work here as well. And if you want a little extra seasoning in your meatballs, you can also use garlic salt. Whichever you prefer will work here.
2 tbsp. whole wheat flour – Again, this is for texture and is totally optional. I actually used chickpea flour to make these gluten free and they turned out incredibly soft. I used a ¼ cup of it. You can use other flours as well. Oat flour will work as will whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour. All this does is soften the texture of the meatballs. If you like a sturdier meatball, omit this completely.
You have many options here. Simply use your favorite pasta. Whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, rice pasta, quinoa pasta or any other type of pasta you prefer will work here. Simply cook it separately to package directions. It’s best to cook it slightly al dente since it will be served in hot broth.
How To Make Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
- Cook the pasta separately to package directions.
In a large stock or soup pot, heat the oil.
Add the veggies (NOT the garlic!), and sauté until the onions are well browned.
Now add the garlic and continue to stir for 1 minute.
Finally, add the broth and stir well. Let this come to a medium boil.
Place the meat into a large mixing bowl.
Add the egg, parsley, salt and garlic powder and knead well to combine.
Finally, knead in the flour. (see notes above) You should have a soft mixture that is too sticky to roll with your hands, but easily scooped with an ice cream scooper.
Scoop the meatballs into the boiling broth and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F.
At the end, stir in the remaining parsley and spinach leaves. Stir just long enough for them to wilt into the hot broth.
Serve with a bit of pasta (cooked separately)
How To Store Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
This keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure to pack it will in an air-tight container to avoid it taking on other flavors from the fridge.
Can You Freeze Italian Wedding Soup
Yes you can! But here are a couple of tips.
- Cooking for the freezer – If you are making this to stock your freezer, then leave out the pasta, spinach and parsley (the half you add at the end, not the parsley in the meatballs). These are better added when you are warming everything up to eat. Without those things, you can freeze up to 4 months.
- Cooking for dinner – If you’ve made this for dinner and simply have leftovers, you can still freeze this. Just be aware that the pasta may change texture slightly in the freezer. For this reason, I always keep pastas separate from my soups and simply add the pasta to each individual’s bowl at serving. With pasta, this will freeze for up to 2 months.
More Healthy Soup Recipes
- Lasagna Soup
- Miso Soup
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Wild Rice Vegetable Soup
- French Onion Soup
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Soup
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Healthy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
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- Large soup pot
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 cup chopped purple onions
- 6 medium garlic cloves (minced)
- 8 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup chopped parsley (divided)
- 2 cups raw baby spinach leaves
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour (or more if needed – see notes in post above)
- ½ lb whole grain pasta (cooked to package directions)
- Cook the pasta separately to package directions.
- In a large stock or soup pot, heat the oil.
- Add the veggies (NOT the garlic!), and sauté until the onions are well browned.
- Now add the garlic and continue to stir for 1 minute.
- Finally, add the broth and stir well. Let this come to a medium boil.
- Place the meat into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, parsley, salt and garlic powder and knead well to combine.
- Finally, knead in the flour. (see notes above) You should have a soft mixture that is too sticky to roll with your hands, but easily scooped with an ice cream scooper.
- Scoop the meatballs into the boiling broth and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F.
- At the end, stir in the remaining parsley and spinach leaves. Stir just long enough for them to wilt into the hot broth.
- Serve with a bit of pasta (cooked separately)