This Italian Wedding Soup is hearty, healthy and homey and perfectly marries tender meatballs and veggies, savory broth and tasty pasta in a one pot meal that the whole family will love. Perfect for a cozy dinner at home on a busy weeknight!
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
Soup season is honestly the best time of the year! There are so many delicious soups to enjoy and this Italian Wedding Soup is one of our very favorites with it’s easy preparation and amazing flavor! Hearty, healthy, homey – this recipe perfectly marries tender meatballs, savory broth and delightful acini de pepe pasta in a one pot meal that the whole family will love.
I like to use ground turkey for the meatballs but ground beef, pork or even chicken will also work and feel free to use a combination of two. Zucchini and Italian seasoning add moisture and flavor to the tender meatballs.
Why Is It Called “Wedding Soup”?
Many people think this delicious soup is served at weddings – and it could be! – but the name actually stems from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata” which translates to “married soup.” This soup really is the perfect marriage of ingredients and flavors, something you’re sure to notice and enjoy with every spoonful!
How To Make Italian Wedding Soup
- Prepare the zucchini by shredding (you do not need to peel the zucchini). After shredding the zucchini, place in a towel or paper towel and press firmly to release all the excess liquid.
- Combine the ground turkey, shredded zucchini, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Scoop out the meatball mixture, roll into ¾ inch meatballs and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Add olive oil to a deep pot over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, cabbage, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add the meatballs and bay leaf and boil for 10 minutes over medium heat, uncovered, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the kale and pasta and boil for another 7 minutes or until the pasta is done. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the meatballs in advance. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate them overnight. The meatballs can also be frozen. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze for 30 minutes. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe, airtight ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You can add the frozen meatballs directly to the broth or cook them in a saute pan for about 15 minutes before adding to the soup.
Storage: Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: The soup can be frozen but is best frozen without the pasta (it can get mushy). If preparing in advance, make the soup up to the point of the pasta and freeze. And fresh pasta when reheating.
- The zucchini really needs to have all the excess moisture removed before adding to the meatballs. After grating, you can press it into a fine mesh sieve or place in a towel and squeeze out the excess liquid.
- The pasta cooks quickly so be careful not to overcook it.
- If you have a Parmesan rind, add it to the soup while it simmers. It adds so much flavor to the soup!
- Make a double batch of meatballs and freeze some for later! Makes this soup so quick to prepare!
Variations To Try
- Use vegetable broth and replace the turkey meatballs with cannellini beans or vegetarian meatballs for a vegetarian version.
- Swap out the kale for spinach or Swiss chard.
- The meatballs can be sauted or baked if you prefer and I’ve included instructions on how to do that in the recipe card below.
- Try out different herbs like oregano, basil or thyme.
- Add a little kick to the soup with the red pepper flakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m not a fan of kale, what else can I use?
We love kale in this soup but if you’re not a fan, consider using spinach, Swiss chard or escarole.
Do I have to use ground turkey for the meatballs?
Nope! You can use ground beef, ground turkey or ground pork in this recipe. We particularly enjoy a mix of beef and pork.
What if I can’t find acini de pepe pasta?
No biggie! Any small pasta will work in this recipe. Look for ditalini or orzo, anything bigger, simply adjust the cooking time to make the pasta is fully cooked.
More Delicious Soup Recipes
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Taco Soup
- Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Hamburger Macaroni Soup
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ½ cup shredded zucchini squeezed dry (measured before squeezing all liquid out)
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup onion diced
- ⅓ cup carrot diced
- ⅓ cup celery diced
- ½ cup cabbage shredded
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 7 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups kale roughly chopped
- ½ cup acini de pepe pasta or any small pasta
- Parmesan cheese
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- After shredding the zucchini, place in a towel or paper towels and press firmly to release all the excess liquid. You can also place in a fine mesh sieve and press down firmly on the zucchini to get rid of the extra liquid.
- In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, shredded zucchini, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt. I use my hands to get it all mixed together nicely.1 pound ground turkey, ½ cup shredded zucchini, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Scoop out meatball mixture, roll into ¾ inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Add olive oil to a deep pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, cabbage, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, ⅓ cup onion, ⅓ cup carrot, ⅓ cup celery, ½ cup cabbage, 4 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Add the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.7 cups chicken broth
- Add the meatballs and bay leaf and boil for 10 minutes over medium heat, uncovered, stirring frequently.1 bay leaf
- Stir in the kale and pasta and continue boiling for another 7 minutes or until pasta is done.2 cups kale, ½ cup acini de pepe pasta
- Remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.Parmesan cheese