Italian Wedding Soup

Regardless of the time of year, this Italian Wedding Soup is a classic soup recipe you can make right home and enjoy. It's packed with yummy vegetables like spinach, carrots, celery and onions, plus the addition of small pasta and homemade chicken meatballs! This soup is one the entire family will enjoy.

Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs. Light blue background. White flour sack, kitchen towel on board.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

I haven't always been a soup person. Nowadays, I find myself craving soup a lot and not only when it's cold outside.

Soup is comfort food because it warms you up, whether it's chilly outside or just chilly, thanks to our strong Arizona air conditioners. 😉 We love this Minestrone Soup and this Beef Taco Soup and enjoy them regularly.

Years ago, while visiting my mother-in-law, she decided to whip up a quick soup recipe for lunch. It blew my mind that she had all of the ingredients on hand and that it was something that was so easy to do at home and didn't have to cook on the stove all day.

Since then I've learned homemade soups can be super easy and even something you can throw together with ingredients you have on hand.

Something I love about this Italian Wedding Soup is that it's a good stand-in for chicken noodle soup when you're sick as well as a great quick dinner any time.

Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs. Light blue background. White flour sack, kitchen towel on board.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

This easy Italian Wedding Soup is going to be your new favorite soup recipe:

  • Make it with a few fresh or frozen ingredients plus a few pantry staples.
  • You can have it on the table in under 40 minutes, with only a little bit of hands on time.
  • Serve the whole family or enjoy it later. It makes excellent leftovers.

What is Italian Wedding Soup?

Italian Wedding Soup is a broth-based soup made with meatballs, celery, carrots, onion, spinach and small pasta noodles.

The name has little to do with weddings. The name comes from a mistranslation of the Italian phrase minestra maritata, meaning "married soup." The name refers to "marrying" meat with vegetables and greens, but that didn't translate to English.

What is mirepoix?

Italian Wedding Soup starts with classic mirepoix, which is the basis for a ton of French cooking, carrots, celery and onion.

Most soups that you know and love start with this mix and it really is the part of the soup that packs the flavor into the recipe.

Check your grocery store's frozen section for a frozen mirepoix to start this recipe with. It's always handy to keep around.

Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs. Light blue background. White flour sack, kitchen towel on board.

Ingredients

The ingredients for this soup really are so simple, but the combination of them together is what makes this soup so tasty. That and the little mini pasta shapes, of course.

  • Olive oil: Any light, neutral-tasting oil like avocado oil will work.
  • Yellow onion: White onion also works.
  • Carrots: You'll need about three whole carrots to dice.
  • Celery: About 2 stalks worth will need to be diced.
  • Chicken stock: I prefer low-sodium because then I can salt the soup to taste.
  • Small pasta: Ditalini or small star pasta are perfect.
  • Baby spinach: Wash it well and rip or cut it into small pieces.
  • Meatballs: You can use beef, turkey, chicken or veggie meatballs.

Variations and substitutions

Since Italian Wedding Soup is such a classic soup recipe, there are tons of variations using beef or turkey meatballs, but for us, chicken meatballs are a must.

If you're in a pinch for time, you could make this soup with frozen meatballs. But trust me, the chicken meatballs are worth it!

For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and veggie meatballs. Or skip the meatballs altogether.

Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs. Light blue background. White flour sack, kitchen towel on board.

Meatballs for Italian Wedding Soup

My family's absolute favorite part of this recipe though is the homemade chicken meatballs that go in this soup.

I always make the meatballs first and while those are baking I will work on chopping the veggies and starting the soup started.

The meatballs are cooked fully before adding them to the soup in the last few minutes so the timing usually works out perfectly. You can even just plop a few meatballs into each bowl before using a to serve a hearty portion of the soup!

How to Make Italian Wedding Soup

Making this soup is super simple. Once you get the meatballs going (whether you make them yourself or cook up some frozen ones), you can start putting the soup together.

  1. Add olive oil to a stock pot and warm oil on low to medium heat.
  2. Peel and chop carrots and set aside. Dice onion and celery.
  3. Add onions, celery and carrots to pot and sauté with a wooden spoon on medium heat until translucent.
  4. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the uncooked star pasta to boiling broth cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Carefully spoon in the meatballs and let the soup simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add in spinach and stir until wilted.
  8. Serve with a ladle, adding a bit of cold water if necessary for right broth/soup ingredients ratio and to cool down soup to enjoy immediately!
Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs.

Tips & Tricks

Time the soup so that you make the meatballs first. While they bake, you can get started on chopping the veggies and making the soup.

I was never a big fan of broth-based soups, like chicken noodle soup, but this soup is different. It's packed with flavors that complement the broth and round out the entire flavor of the soup.

If you aren't a big broth soup person either, you could dilute the broth flavor with some water. I highly recommend using low-sodium broth, though, to be sure you aren't drowning out the flavors of the soup with broth that is high in salt content.

FAQ

What is Italian Wedding Soup called?

Italian Wedding Soup comes from an old Italian soup called minestra maritata, which translates to “married soup.” It was a mistranslation to English. The "marriage" refers to the combining bits of inexpensive meat, vegetables and leafy greens.

What are the meatballs in Italian wedding soup made of?

Italian Wedding Soup meatballs are usually made with ground beef and ground pork sausage. They can also be made with ground chicken, ground turkey or even vegetarian meatballs.

Why do they call Italian wedding soup Italian wedding soup?

Italian wedding soup has nothing to do with weddings. A mistranslation of the Italian phrase minestra maritata, meaning "married soup," refers to "marrying" meat with vegetables and greens.

Do they eat Italian wedding soup at Italian weddings?

No, Italian wedding soup has little to do with weddings. The name comes from a mistranslation of the Italian phrase minestra maritata, meaning "married soup," and referring to "marrying" meat with vegetables and greens.

More soup recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Shallow bowl of homemade Italian wedding soup with carrots, celery, onions, spinach, pasta and meatballs. Light blue background. White flour sack, kitchen towel on board.

Italian Wedding Soup

Regardless of the time of year, this Italian Wedding Soup is a classic soup recipe that you can make right at home and enjoy. It's packed with yummy vegetables like spinach, carrots, celery and onions plus the addition of small pasta and homemade chicken meatballs! This soup is one the entire family will enjoy.
5 from 36 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

Baked Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs store bought or homemade
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan or Italian blend cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Italian Wedding Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots about 3 carrots
  • ¾ cup peeled and diced celery about 2 stalks
  • 10 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup small pasta like stars
  • 12 ounces baby spinach washed and ripped or cut into small pieces

Instructions

  • Meatballs
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Form into golf ball sized meatballs and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until meat is thoroughly cooked, to 165 degrees internal temperature
  • Soup
  • Add olive oil to stock pot and warm oil on low to medium heat.
  • Peel and chop carrots and celery and set aside. Dice onion.
  • Add onions, celery and carrots to pot and sauté with a wooden spoon on medium heat until translucent.
  • Add chicken stock and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add star pasta to boiling broth cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add meatballs and let soup simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in spinach and stir until wilted.
  • Serve with a ladle, adding a bit of cold water if necessary for right broth/soup ingredients ratio and to cool down soup to enjoy immediately!

Nutrition

Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1195mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

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23 Comments

  1. Pingback: Soup Recipes That Your Family Will Love - My Creative Days
  2. I've heard of this soup, but I've never actually seen it before!!! This might be a silly question, but can you buy ground chicken? That's something else I have zero experience with!

    1. I just buy it where the poultry is. There's usually only one or two brands maybe, but it's right near the chicken breasts in the store! You could also you ground turkey if you want.

  3. Italian Wedding Soup is one of my alltime favorites! I usually use orzo, but those little star pastas are adorable!!! And girl, your photography is getting better and better!

  4. Yum! My school used to make this all the time and I LOVED it! I can't wait to make it 🙂 What kind of wine do you use in cooking?

    1. I just had a bottle of Pinot Grigio and I used that! You can use any white wine, dry wine like a Chardonay is suggested. 🙂

  5. I love Italian wedding soup, but I have never made it at home. It sounds perfect for these cold nights, and that mini star pasta is so cute!

  6. This is the absolute prettiest soup recipe I have seen this week. And I have looked at a LOT of soup recipes! Totally need to make this soon.

  7. Mmmm, this sounds perfect right now. It's in the 40's here, which is basically the coldest weather we get in Florida. I'm craving a nice warm bowl of soup for dinner!