Italian Wedding Soup

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Italian wedding soup or Wedding soup, is an Italian soup consisting of green vegetables such as spinach, endive, or kale  and ground meat such as veal, pork,or beef. Some of these soups contain certain pastas, orzo, rice, or lentils. Traditionally, grated Parmesan cheese is incorporated into the ground meat mixture to ensure flavor and moisture in the meat. While the name indicates that the soup might be served at an Italian wedding, it is actually a mistranslation of minestra maritata, which refers to the “marriage” of greens and meat in the soup. For this recipe, I decided to take an unorthodox venture and use ground turkey. If your local supermarket carries bison meat, you can use that for the soup as well. I used spinach but omitted the starches and grains.  My recipe is healthy, very tasty, and only requires a few ingredients. I purchased a package of turkey necks which were on sale and made a phenomenal broth for the soup. It was very flavorful and natural that it didn’t need additional seasoning. The techniques that entail making turkey broth is very similar as  to making chicken broth. Since turkey has more meat than chicken, it requires longer cooking time. When is comes to making meatballs, I normally let the ground meat to chill prior to cooking it. As its chilling, it will set. When you form and drop each ball into a pot of boiling broth or sauce, it will retain its form without falling apart. That was a trick my grandmother taught me and always works without fail. For a more hearty soup, you can add chopped carrots,celery, and onions.  For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 1 small onion grated
  2. 2 gloves of garlic grated
  3.  1 lbs of ground turkey or bison
  4. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  5. 1/4 cup of unseasoned  bread crumbs
  6. 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  7. 1 large egg, beaten
  8. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  10.  1/2 cup of orzo (optional)
  11. 2 cups of fresh baby spinach washed and dried
  12.  1 1/2 quart of chicken/turkey broth


In a medium bowl, combine onions and garlic with ground turkey, parsley, bread crumbs, egg, salt, and pepper. Form into meatballs 1/2 – inch in diameter.  Cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until meat mixture is firm. While meatballs are chilling, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Form ground turkey mixture into small balls. In a large pot, bring broth to a boil and gently lower meatballs, one at a time into the broth. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, adding spinach for the last few minutes. Add pasta. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle in some lemon zest.

Yields 6 servings


5 thoughts on “Italian Wedding Soup

    Leora said:
    August 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Looks like a delicious soup! Thanks for all the suggested variations. ” When is comes to making meatballs, I normally let the ground meat to chill prior to cooking it. As its chilling, it will set. ” Good tip.

      challahmaidel responded:
      August 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

      I learned this tip the hard way when I made meatballs in the past. They would invariably fall apart every time I dropped them into a pot of boiling sauce rather than letting them chill first. When using ground beef, never over mix it or your meatballs/meatloaf will result a tough texture. Even those who are more inclined have bad days. We just learn from them and avoid repeating the same mistakes 🙂

    shilohmuse said:
    August 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

    This post is included in the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival.  Please read and share, thanks.

    Easy Italian Recipes said:
    March 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Hi! Your Italian wedding soup was nominated as one of the “Best Italian Wedding Soup Recipes on the Net”. To vote for it, please visit (your recipe is positioned at #184).

      challahmaidel responded:
      March 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Hi. I am honoured to have my recipe featured on your website. Thank you very much for your support. Feel free to check out my othere Italian themed recipes and let me know what you think. Feedback and suggestions are always welcomed 🙂

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