One of my favorite soups to make for a church soup supper is Italian Wedding Soup. The chicken broth-based soup is kid-friendly, and the meatballs add a heartiness, which makes this a main dish soup. Add in the veggies and Italian Wedding soup is a nutritional powerhouse!
This particular recipe makes enough to serve 12 adults. However, it is easily doubled or even tripled!
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
Most traditional Italian Wedding Soup Recipes call for spinach. Spinach does taste great in this soup, but it tends to get limp and slimy pretty quickly. When I am cooking for a large group, the soup often has to stand for a while. I feel like kale (yes kale!) holds up well in this soup and adds some heartiness and a nutritional punch.
Feel free to substitute spinach if kale seems a little too healthy! (full disclosure, my husband loves kale–especially if cooked with bacon–but it is not my favorite leafy green. Using Kale in this recipe is a perfect compromise and I think it tastes great in this soup!)
My kids wanted to know why this soup is called Italian Wedding Soup. I had assumed that it was a common food to serve at Italian weddings (duh!)–but I was wrong!
The name of this soup refers to minestra maritata (married soup), which refers to the flavor marriage of the greens and meat. And let me tell you, this flavor combo is exactly what makes this soup a clear winner!
Need a shortcut?
- If I want to whip up a batch of this in well under an hour, I substitute frozen Italian style meatballs instead of homemade meatballs.
- Start off with frozen chopped onion and frozen sliced carrots
- buy pre-chopped kale, or sub in spinach, as it cooks up faster.
- use leftover cooked rice in place of the pasta
Want your Kids to Help?
This is a great recipe for letting your kids help in the kitchen!
Your kids can help chop the vegetables. (Do your kids have knife skills? If not, here is a great resource to get them up to speed!).
This is also a great time to help them roll meatballs–many hands make light work!
My kids LOVE to help stirring soup!
Italian Wedding Soup for a Crowd
A hearty main dish soup, with meatballs, vegetables and pasta in a chicken broth.
- 96 oz Chicken Broth
- 1 lb Carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1 lb 85% lean ground beef
- 1 lb bulk Italian sausage (sweet)
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lb Acini di pepe pasta (uncooked)
- 1 lb raw Kale, roughly chopped
In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat a small amount of olive oil. Add onions and saute’ until translucent (about 3-5 minutes).
Add carrots and celery and continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, make meatballs. Combine the meats, egg, breadcrumbs, and cheese in a large bowl and mix well. Make meatballs with about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture and drop into the boiling soup.
When all of the meatballs are added to the soup, stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Stir in the Kale in small batches and cook until the Kale is wilted.
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
Have you made this soup! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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