It’s been quite cold here in Colorado the past couple days, perfect weather for a nice hot bowl of soup. No amount of blankets or sweaters seem to warm you up as much as a steaming bowl of delicious soup can during the winter. Italian wedding soup is a broth based soup with meatballs, acini de pepe, and an assortment of yummy vegetables. I’ve seen this recipe made with all different kinds of veggies, although all I had on hand at the time were some carrots, onions, garlic, and spinach. But you can always pack in more nutrients using a variety of other veggies like celery or corn.
I’d never used acini di pepe before coming across this recipe, and now it’s a staple in many of the soups I make. It’s a great addition to any broth based soup to make it a little more hearty and filling – not to mention, it looks pretty too. Other starch fillers I’ve used for similar soups are crushed white rice, or even blobs of flour (really is good, even though it sounds odd).
This is a great healthy family meal as well. I have had a hard time getting my son to eat some of his veggies, especially spinach! But cook it all up in a tasty soup, and he’ll slurp up all those veggies down like it’s his favorite food! The most time consuming part of this recipe is making the meatballs. If you’re in a time crunch, you can always make the meatballs ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking. You could also freeze uncooked meatballs in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. Another option would be to skip making meatballs altogether and just saute crumbled ground meat – still just as delicious!
Other than the meatballs, everything else is very quick and easy to prepare allowing the recipe to come together in about 30 minutes. Another great option for working moms that need to throw a meal together for dinner on a weeknight!
I used ground turkey meatballs for this recipe, but ground beef or even ground chicken would be just as tasty. I swapped out crushed Ritz crackers instead of breadcrumbs for the meatballs this time. They turned out super tender and flavorful using this method, but Italian breadcrumbs are still my favorite option when making meatballs or meatloaf. Combine ground meat, crushed crackers, onion (dried or fresh), salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and paprika in a bowl and mix by hand until evenly distributed. Use a small teaspoon to measure out portions of the meat mixture and roll into small meatballs. Set aside. Chop up your veggies and saute over high heat in a dutch oven or large pot until slightly charred. I like to char the veggies because I think it gives the soup some added flavor – but not too much, or it’ll taste burnt!
Season veggies with salt and pepper and add chicken broth and acini de pepe. Carefully drop in the prepared meatballs one at a time, give a quick stir, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 25 minutes. Add in your spinach (I used frozen this time, but fresh spinach is great too) and stir. Continue to simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes and add any additional seasoning if needed. Serve immediately with some crusty bread.
Hope this warms you up as much as it did for us! Until next time.
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup acini di pepe
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 3/4 onion, diced (for broth)
- 1/4 onion, minced (for meatballs)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz frozen spinach (or fresh spinach, roughly chopped)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 10 Ritz crackers, crushed (or 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs)
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Add ground turkey, crushed crackers, minced onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a bowl and combine until well mixed.
- Measure out a tsp of meat mixture at a time and roll into small meatballs. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over high heat and add diced onions, carrots, and minced garlic. Saute until slightly charred.
- Season vegetables with salt and pepper and add chicken broth and acini de pepe.
- Add meatballs into the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Add spinach and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Add any additional seasoning if needed.
- Serve hot with crusty bread.