Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (2024)

Italian Wedding Soup is a marriage of flavors made in heaven! Ground sausage and beef are rolled into meatballs, simmered with flavorful broth and pasta, and served with leafy greens in this authentic recipe. You can also easily make a few simple substitutions for a healthier version!

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (1)

Contrary to popular belief, Italian Wedding Soup did not get its name from being served at Italian weddings.

Instead, the term “wedding” comes from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata” and refers to the marriage of ingredients in a soup to get the most incredible flavors!

In the case of this soup, it’s a beautiful marriage of meat and green vegetables. (Much like you’d find in a Zuppa Toscana Soup!)

While I’m not normally one to compare Evolving Table recipes to the Food Network greats, the recipe you’ll find below is just as good (if not better!) than Giada’s, Ina’s, and yes, even the Barefoot Contessa’s!

What makes it so good is the execution of every individual component in the dish.

The Italian-style meatballs are bursting with fresh parsley and Parmesan flavors.

The broth is seasoned to perfection with salt, pepper, and garlic.

And the round acini de pepe pasta has the best chewy bite.

The one thing this soup DOES have in common with weddings, however, is that it can serve A LOT of people!

So feel free to either invite a few friends over, or freeze a bunch to enjoy all winter long, because this is sure to become one of your new favorite soup recipes!

Check out these other Olive Garden soup favorites next: Chicken Gnocchi Soup and Olive Garden Minestrone are some of my favorites!

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Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (3)


The simple ingredients you need to make this Italian wedding soup recipe include:

  • Ground meat. A mixture of ground beef and ground pork sausage are used. You can substitute for ground turkey and turkey sausage to make it healthier. Opt for a leaner meat to accompany the sausage, such as 93/7 or 90/10. You can save time and buy store-bought meatballs, but they won’t have nearly the same flavor!
  • Breadcrumbs. Already seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs allow you to skip a few ingredients. The gluten-free kind work great, too. Or, combine plain breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of homemade Italian Seasoning made with oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated, not shredded, is ideal so it evenly disperses throughout the meatballs. This gives a salty bite while helping to hold the meatballs together.
  • Egg. One large egg acts as the glue for the meatballs, so don’t leave it out.
  • Parsley. Finely chop this fresh herb so that it evenly mixes into the meatballs. Choose either flat or curly parsley.
  • Vegetables. A mirepoix containing onion, celery, and carrots adds flavor and nutrition.
  • Garlic. Lots of fresh minced garlic is included in both the meatballs and in the soup. You can swap it out for garlic powder if you have to.
  • Broth. Regular sodium chicken broth creates the base. You can select reduced sodium instead and adjust the salt to taste.
  • Spinach. Baby leaves are the most tender and are best coarsely chopped. You can also try kale, escarole, or other greens.
  • Pasta. Acini de pepe are round balls with a chewy bite, and is the classic type of pasta for this recipe. Orzo or another small shape can be subbed if you have a hard time finding the other.

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

The basic steps for making Italian wedding soup are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Mix the Meatballs

Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl. Mix with a spatula, potato masher, or by hand.

Scoop out 2 teaspoons at a time and roll in your hands to form 1 meatball. You can use a metal scooper to make it easy. Repeat until you use all of the mixture which should result in about 48 meatballs.

If your hands get sticky simply spritz them with a bit of non-stick cooking spray and continue rolling.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (4)
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (5)
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (6)

Sear in Pot

Arrange half of the meatballs in a Dutch oven or large pot coated with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear for 4-5 minutes, occasionally rotating them so that all sides turn brown. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Transfer the seared meatballs to a plate lined with a paper towel so they can drain.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (7)
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (8)

Vegetables & Broth

Keep the drippings from the meatballs in the pot, mix in the vegetables, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Pour in the broth and scrape the bottom of the pot while stirring everything together. You don’t want any loose bits left stuck to the pot since they may burn while the soup is cooking.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (9)
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (10)

Boil & Simmer

Bring the broth and vegetable mixture to a boil. Next, add in the pasta, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (optional) and meatballs.

Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 7-9 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (11)

Stir in Spinach

Toss in the spinach and stir until well combined.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (12)
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (13)

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Make and sear the meatballs ahead of time. You can even make the entire recipe up until boiling the pasta. Because it will continue to expand after cooking, it is best to wait to mix in the pasta until just before serving.
  • To Store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3-4 months.
  • To Reheat: Return to a pot on the stove, or simply microwave it. The pasta will absorb a lot of the broth while sitting, so you may need to add more liquid in order to thin it out.

Dietary Modifications

Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help this recipe fit your dietary requirements:

  • Gluten-Free – Select gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free pasta varieties.
  • Dairy-Free – Substitute the Parmesan cheese for a plant-based type.
  • Healthier – Use ground turkey and turkey sausage to reduce the calories.
  • Less Sodium – Choose a reduced sodium broth, and check the breadcrumbs label. You can also make your own homemade Italian seasoning instead.
  • Extra Nutrition – Double the veggies and greens to get a boost in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (14)


Why is it called Italian Wedding Soup?

The phrase “minestra maritata” in Italian translates to “married soup”, referring to the bringing together of flavors. In English we call this marriage of meat and vegetables “Italian Wedding Soup”.

What are the meatballs in Italian Wedding Soup made of?

They are made from a combination of beef and ground pork sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings.

Do they actually serve Italian Wedding Soup at weddings?

While it is possible someone has served this recipe at their wedding, it is not a traditional wedding dish.

What goes with Italian wedding soup?

A fresh green salad and crusty bread pairs beautifully with this soup.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (15)

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Combo of meats. Use both beef and sausage to get the best results.
  • ‘Tis the season… For seasoned breadcrumbs! Italian-style breadcrumbs save so much time and have incredible flavor!
  • Use a scoop. Make all of the meatballs a uniform size so they cook evenly.
  • Get a good sear. Brown the meatballs to help seal in the moisture and keep them tender.
  • Stir in spinach. Wait until just before serving so it does not get too wilted.
  • Save some broth. You will need to add in extra broth to the leftovers since the pasta will absorb a lot when refrigerated.

Make it a Meal

Italian wedding soup goes well with a variety of side dishes and toppings:

Mixed greens salad with Italian Dressing.

Massaged Kale Salad

A crusty baguette or homemade croutons.

Shaved Parmesan or Parmesan cheese crisps.

More Healthy Soup Recipes

If you want to take the quick and easy route, check out this Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup or this Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup!

This Instant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup is perfect when you’re sick! Or try this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for a creamy meal.

Tap stars to rate!

4.99 from 58 votes

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

Italian Wedding Soup is a marriage of flavors made in heaven! You can also easily make a few simple substitutions for a healthier version.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (16)


Yield 6 servings

Prep 30 minutes mins

Cook 30 minutes mins

Total 1 hour hr

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (17)

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  • ½ lb. ground beef or turkey
  • ½ lb. ground sausage or turkey sausage
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs*
  • cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg whisked
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil divided


  • 1 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • ½ small onion finely diced
  • 3 carrots medium-sized, diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth regular sodium
  • 1 cup orzo or acini de pepe pasta
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • ⅛ – ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes optional
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach roughly chopped


  • Make the Meatballs: Add all of the meatball ingredients, except for the oil, to a large bowl. Mix with a spatula or by hand until everything is well combined. Scoop out 2 teaspoons worth of the mixture and shape into a meatball. If your hands get sticky simply spritz then with a bit of non-stick cooking spray and continue rolling. Repeat this with the remaining mixture. You should end up with roughly 48 meatballs.

    ½ lb. ground beef, ½ lb. ground sausage, ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs*, ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, ¼ cup parsley, 2 cloves garlic, ¾ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper

  • Sear Meatballs: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat along with half of the meatballs. Sear for 4-5 minutes, rotating every 1-2 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove the meatballs and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.

    2 Tbsp. oil

  • Saute the Mirepoix: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot along with any remaining drippings from the meatballs. Stir in the diced carrots, onion, and celery. Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add in the garlic. Continue cooking for 1 minute.

    1 Tbsp. oil, ½ small onion, 3 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 3 cloves garlic

  • Add Broth and Pasta, Cover and Cook: Pour in broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to ensure no bits or pieces are stuck. Bring the broth to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and meatballs. Give it a good stir, cover the pot with a lid, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 7-9 minutes, or according to the pasta package directions.

    8-10 cups chicken broth, 1 cup orzo or acini de pepe pasta, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, ⅛ – ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

  • Mix in Spinach and Serve: Once meatballs and pasta are cooked through, toss in spinach and stir until well mixed. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    3 cups fresh baby spinach

Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.99 from 58 votes



Can also use regular breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.

  • To Store: Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place in a freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 480kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 2098mg, Potassium: 805mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 6972IU, Vitamin C: 33mg, Calcium: 166mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!

Categorized as:
Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lunch, Main Dishes, Nut-Free, , Recipes, Soups, Soy-Free

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Italian Wedding Soup Recipe - Evolving Table (2024)


What is the tradition behind Italian wedding soup? ›

The name wedding comes from the Italian phrase minestra maritata which means 'married soup. ' Why is it married? It's the marriage of ingredients, and the resulting delicious flavor, in the soup! All wedding soups are going to have green vegetables and meat.

What is a substitute for escarole in Italian wedding soup? ›

Fresh spinach: If you're not a fan of bitter greens, substitute bunched or baby spinach for the traditional escarole or kale in Italian wedding soup. Add the spinach later in the cooking process, as it takes only a few minutes to cook. Thawed and chopped frozen spinach works in a pinch, too.

What is the real name of Italian wedding soup? ›

Minestra maritata (The Original Italian “Wedding Soup”)

It is so popular, in fact, that it has been marketed as a canned soup by Progresso under the…

Is wedding soup actually served at weddings? ›

Upon a quick Google search, you'll learn Italian Wedding Soup is not a soup traditionally served at Italian weddings at all (bummer), but yet another Italian American twist on a classic—Minestra Maritata.

What is the most famous soup in Italy? ›

Minestrone is a classic Italian soup known worldwide as one of the best Italian soups. It's got a flavorful broth and a variety of slow-cooked vegetables like potatoes, peas, and carrots. Adding Italian sausage gives it a kick of flavor and a shot of protein, so it's a complete meal all by itself.

What do they call Italian wedding soup in Italy? ›

The term wedding soup comes from a mistranslation of the Italian language phrase minestra maritata ('married soup'). Minestra maritata more directly translates to 'wedded broths'. The marriage of its meats and veggies inside of its broth is the only matrimony relevant in this context.

Does Italian wedding soup exist in Italy? ›

While Italian wedding soup is quite popular in the U.S., this soup is not actually Italian. It is not known exactly where the dish came from, but it is assumed that it originated from a melding of Italian and American cuisine. While it is a delicious soup, you won't be able to order it in Italy!

Does Italian wedding soup contain pork? ›

Italian Wedding Soup is a rich, hearty recipe made with small beef and pork meatballs, tender greens, and delicate pasta. This authentic Italian wedding soup recipe takes a little time to make, but it's well worth the effort. To get a jump on things make both the meatballs and the chicken stock ahead of time!

How do you thicken wedding soup? ›

The most classic and surefire way to thicken a broth-based soup is with a cornstarch slurry. Whisk together equal parts cornstarch (or arrowroot) and water or broth, then whisk it into the pot of soup. A good ratio to get to a pleasant thickness without your soup tasting goopy or heavy is one tablespoon.

Why is my escarole soup bitter? ›

Escarole is a bitter green that is part of the endive family. Its bitter flavor is one of its characteristics, but the bitterness is mild. The key to cooking escarole and reducing the bitter flavor is to ensure you do not overcook it. It is a popular ingredient in soup but can be eaten as is, sauteed with some garlic.

What vegetable is most like escarole? ›

What can you swap in for it, if need be? Chicory of endives are your best bet, but if those aren't easily accessible—they're not always! —spinach and arugula are good bitter substitutes. Truly any dark leafy green'll do.

What is the difference between minestrone and Italian wedding soup? ›

It's similar to minestrone, but is made with meatballs; minestrone is usually made from vegetables and pasta. Italian wedding soup is a phenomenal freezer-friendly soup, and it doesn't take long to make – a perfect project for a chilly afternoon!

What is in Campbell's Italian wedding soup? ›


What mineral is in Italian wedding soup? ›

Italian Wedding Soup nutrition facts and analysis per 1 cup (244 g)
Phosphorus134.20 mg11 %
Potassium324.52 mg7 %
Selenium16.10 mcg29 %
6 more rows

Where does Italian wedding soup originate? ›

Originating in southern Italy, minestra maritata is a classic example of cucina povera, the poor kitchen. The main ingredients vary by region but typically include undesirable or tough, hard-to-cook vegetables and scraps from butchering meat making it a true peasant dish.

Do they actually serve Italian wedding soup at Italian weddings? ›

Savory and rustic, Italian wedding soup is certainly lovable. Yet, regardless of what the name implies, it's not traditionally served at Italian weddings (despite the rumor that it's an aphrodisiac for newlyweds). Many people eat it during the winter or early springtime, but wedding season is irrelevant here.

What is the Italian saying everything makes the soup? ›

Tutto fa brodo (“Everything makes broth/soup”)

This expression means that every small thing contributes to the whole.

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