This Wedding Soup recipe is a delicious combination of meatballs, pasta, chicken broth and vegetables. A hearty, comforting meal-in-a-bowl, kicked up with lemon zest. Delish!
The origin of wedding soup is not actually weddings, but it is popular at Italian-American weddings. Whoever invented it, thank you! I love it – especially with the added lemon zest – which brightens it up while still maintaining that yummy comfort food taste and feel.
There are tons of recipes for wedding soup out there, all pretty similar. This one (a combination of many, as usual) works well. You can still adjust the ingredients and amounts to your taste and dietary preferences. And if you have a favorite meatball recipe, go ahead and use that. Here’s another meatball recipe you might like: All-Purpose Italian Meatballs. Serve wedding soup with some hot crusty bread.
- Buy frozen meatballs. Or, use homemade meatballs that you have stashed in the freezer. If you’re making meatballs for something else such as spaghetti and meat sauce, make some extra and freeze them (flash freeze on a baking sheet, then pile them into a sealed freezer bag, ready to use as needed)
- To save a couple of steps, you can drop the meatballs and pasta directly into the boiling broth without cooking them separately ahead of time. Just cook them in the broth on medium-high for about 8-10 minutes. I prefer baking the meatballs first to let the fat release onto the pan instead of the soup. And, cooking the pasta separately will reduce the starchiness in the soup. If I’m in a rush, though, I just drop both in and the soup is still delicious – and a bit more meat-flavored. Either way, the soup can be made in about 30 minutes as you can do a few steps simultaneously.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Use kale instead of spinach or escarole.
- Leave out the Parmesan cheese if desired.
- Use a different meatball recipe. Meatballs can be chicken, pork or beef – or any combination.
- Fry the meatballs in a pan on the stove instead of baking them.
- Use other tiny pasta instead of orzo.
- If you don’t have fresh spinach on hand, you can use frozen spinach, thawed and drained to yield about 1 cup.
- Try adding: chopped basil leaves; a cup of canned tomatoes, drained and chopped; chopped green onion; and/or finely diced celery.
Make Ahead Wedding Soup Recipe
- I love this soup left over because the flavors blend even better over time. It can keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. If the noodles absorb too much broth, add some more when reheating.
Wedding Soup Recipe with Zest
- 1 lb ground beef, pork or chicken (or any combination)
- 1/2 medium onion grated or finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 - 1 tsp)
- Optional: 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese; 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil (or 1 tsp dried)
- 3/4 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 tsp oil
- 8 cups Chicken broth
- 1 large carrot, thinly shaved with a peeler then roughly chopped (or finely diced)
- 6-8 cups escarole or baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp lemon zest, grated from 1 lemon
- Optional: 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- MAKE THE MEATBALLS: Heat oven to 350F. Combine ground meat, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan and basil if using. Mix with clean hands until well combined. Form into mini meatballs (I make them 1/2 inch, but a bit larger is fine too). Place on baking pan lined with foil. Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Drain. Note 1.
- COOK THE PASTA: While the meatballs are baking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- ASSEMBLE THE SOUP AND SERVE: In a large pot, heat the oil on medium high. Add the onions and saute for several minutes until fragrant and translucent. Add the broth and carrots. Cook for 5-8 minutes until carrots are softened. Add meatballs, pasta and spinach - and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes. Add lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. dd Parmesan cheese if desired or pass it at the table. Serve in bowls with crusty warm bread on the side.
- Instead of baking the meatballs ahead, use a shortcut: Drop the meatballs and pasta directly into the boiling broth without cooking them separately ahead of time. Just cook them in the broth on medium-high for about 8-10 minutes.
- Make Ahead: The soup can keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. If the noodles absorb too much broth, add some more when reheating.
If you make this dessert, feel free to rate it in the recipe above (using the stars above “rate this recipe”) and leave a comment below.
Other similar soups you might enjoy: