Enjoy a steaming bowl of this delicious and healthy low carb soup!  This traditional recipe for Italian wedding soup is made with bite size homemade beef and sausage meatballs, spinach, and pasta.  It’s best served with freshly squeezed lemon juice, crusty bread, and a fresh Caesar salad.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
holding a spoonful of Italian wedding soup
Beef, Pork, Soups & Stews

Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup

Do you have a craving for some comforting warm soup?  Italian wedding soup is the answer!  If you’re not familiar with this delicious soup, it’s made up of four elements: a flavorful broth, homemade meatballs, tiny pasta, and fresh greens.

holding a spoonful of Italian wedding soup

What kind of pasta is in Italian wedding soup?

The most popular pasta to use is accini de pepe, which looks like beads and are very tiny.  If you can’t find this pasta, orzo and ditalini are also popular.  Basically, any tiny pasta would work, like tiny stars or small shells.  If you don’t want to use pasta, Israeli couscous would be a good substitute.

bowl of Italian wedding soup

What kind of meat is used in Italian wedding soup?

  • Ground beef
  • Ground pork
  • Italian sausage
  • Ground veal
  • Ground chicken
  • Ground turkey

What kind of greens are used in Italian wedding soup?

  • Escarole
  • Endive
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard

holding a spoonful of Italian wedding soup

How can you make a flavorful broth for Italian wedding soup?

  • Pan fry the aromatics: onion and garlic. (Optional: add carrots and celery for a mirepoix.)
  • Brown the meatballs, then add them to the soup to finish cooking.
  • Combine chicken broth with beef broth for additional flavor.
  • Add cubed Parmesan rind for extra flavor.
  • Add seasonings like bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  • Add a splash of fresh lemon juice at the end.

How do you make Italian wedding soup?

Gather and prep your ingredients for the homemade meatballs.

meatball ingredients for Italian wedding soup

Soak the cubed bread in milk for 10 minutes.  This is the panade.  It will keep the meatballs moist.

panade for meatballs for Italian wedding soup

After soaking, mash the bread cubes with a fork or the back of a spoon.

mashing the panade for meatballs for Italian wedding soup

In a large bowl, put the two meats, cheeses, spices, egg, and the panade.

meatball ingredients in a bowl for Italian wedding soup

Gently mix together with your hands.  Being careful not to over mix.

mixing the meatball ingredients together for Italian wedding soup

With your hands, roll the meat mixture into 3/4 inch balls.  Place on a towel lined tray.

If you want to freeze the meatballs, now is the time.  Let them freeze for two hours then transfer to a freezer bag.

rolling meatballs for Italian wedding soup

Brown the meatballs in three batches for a few minutes.  This will make them more flavorful.

browning the meatballs for Italian wedding soup

Continue browning the meatballs until they are all done.  They we finish cooking in the soup.

browned meatballs for Italian wedding soup

Gather and prep the ingredients for the soup.

rest of the soup ingredients for Italian wedding soup

In oil, saute the onion and garlic.

cooking the onions for Italian wedding soup

Add the chicken and beef broth and the bay leaves.  Cover and bring the soup to a boil.

adding the broth and spices to Italian wedding soup

Add the meatballs and the uncooked pasta.  Gently stir.  Cover and cook for 12 minutes.

adding the pasta and meatballs to Italian wedding soup

Add the spinach.  Stir and cook for three minutes or until wilted.  Add the salt and black pepper.

adding the spinach to Italian wedding soup

Remove from heat.  Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Stir.

adding the lemon juice to Italian wedding soup

Taste and adjust seasonings – adding a bit more salt or black pepper if needed.

adding salt to the Italian wedding soup

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

sprinkling cheese on the Italian wedding soup

Pro Tips for Making Italian Wedding Soup

  • Use a panade (a mushy mixture of milk and bread) in the meatballs so they won’t be dry.
  • Make the meatballs small.
  • Double the meatballs and freeze half.
  • Avoid greasy broths by browning the meatballs first.
  • Cooking the meatballs in the broth gives it extra flavor.
  • Use aromatics for a flavorful broth.

I encourage you to try our Italian wedding soup.  You’ll love the moist cheese filled meatballs.  They definitely are the key ingredient.  Serve this soup hot with some crusty bread like our pull apart skillet cheese bread and a fresh salad like our Classic Caesar Salad.

Looking for other Italian soups to warm you up?  These ones will be family favorites!

spoonful of sausage and gnocchi soup bowl of minestrone soup with cheese and parsley spoonful of zuppa toscana

Did you make this Italian wedding soup?  Please leave a star rating below the recipe to share how you enjoyed it.

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holding a spoonful of Italian wedding soup

Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup


  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 9 cups
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Enjoy a steaming bowl of this delicious and healthy low carb soup!  This traditional recipe for Italian wedding soup is made with bite size homemade beef and sausage meatballs, spinach, and pasta.  It’s best served with freshly squeezed lemon juice, crusty bread, and a fresh Caesar salad.


Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 8 ounces hamburger (80% lean, 20% fat) (226g)
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage (226g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (17g)
  • 1/4 cup Romano cheese (17g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped (138g)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock (1.4 liters)
  • 2 cups unsalted beef broth (473 ml)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (97g)
  • 7 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (30 ml)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (22g)

Instructions

Making the Meatballs

  1. Make the panade to keep the meatballs moist.  Tear the crust off the slice of bread and cut into small cubes. Pour the milk over the bread, let it soak for 10 minutes, then mash with a fork.  While the panade is soaking, line an 11 by 17-inch cookie sheet with paper towels.
  2. Mix together the meat, egg, cheese, panade, and spices with your hands.  Don’t overmix, or the meatballs will be tough.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into 3/4 inch or 1 inch diameter meatballs and place on the prepared tray.  You’ll want between 30 to 40 meatballs; the smaller, the better.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1/3 of the meatballs so the skillet isn’t over crowded.  Gently turn the meatballs over so each side gets browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.  As the meatballs cook, turn the heat down to medium low.  In this step, the meatballs will be only partially cooked, but will finish cooking in the soup.  Drain the meatballs on the paper towel-lined baking tray.

Making the Soup

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Fry the onion for 3 minutes over medium high, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
  2. Pour in the chicken and beef broth and add two bay leaves, then cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Gently stir in the pasta and meatballs, then cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Let the soup simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the fresh spinach, salt, and black pepper, and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and mix in the lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve with homemade bread (like this pull apart skillet cheese bread) and a fresh salad.

Notes

  • This soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and frozen for up to one month.
  • Make the meatballs ahead of time.  Just freeze the uncooked meatballs on a baking tray until firm, then transfer to a freezer bag for up to one month.

Keywords: easy, healthy

 

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