This Italian wedding soup recipe is made with homemade Italian meatballs, delicate acini de pepe pasta, and fresh spinach for a tasty weeknight family meal! This homemade soup recipe is warm and comforting, which is perfect for a cold winter night or even when you are feeling under the weather.
Italian folklore states that this dish gets its name because it was traditionally served at Italian weddings to the bride and groom. However, the term "wedding soup" actually has nothing to do with weddings at all. The term "wedding" actually refers to the marrying of ingredients, rather than the marrying of a bride and groom. Regardless of its origins, this Italian soup is hearty and filling, especially on a cold winter night.
🍲 Ingredient notes
- Meatballs - I like using either ground beef or a mix of ground beef and ground pork. For a healthier option, try ground chicken or turkey.
- Acini de pepe - I love this pasta because it's so dainty and does not overpower the soup. However, you can use orzo or ditalini as an alternative.
- Spinach - I like using fresh baby spinach as my greens for some additional color and delicious flavor. Other options for greens to use would be escarole or kale.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, combine your ingredients for your meatballs being careful not to overmix. You want the mixture just combined so the meatballs don't become chewy. Shape the mixture into small meatballs using about 1 ½ Tablespoons of the meat mixture per meatball. Brown your meatballs in a pot or dutch oven for about 2-3 minutes on each side. They won't be cooked through, just browned.
Set the meatballs aside and then you will use that same pot to saute your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Then, add in the Italian seasoning and broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits from the meatballs. Add back in the meatballs and acini de pepe pasta and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low and let the soup simmer until the pasta and meatballs are both completely cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Lastly, stir in your fresh spinach until it is just wilted.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top!
⭐ Top tip
Premake the meatballs for this recipe in the morning. Then, come dinner time, this dish will come together in no time!
- Gluten free - Make this soup gluten free by using gluten free bread crumbs as well as gluten free pasta.
- Dairy free - eliminate the parmesan cheese garnish to make this dish dairy free.
💭 Frequently asked questions
This is a pretty hearty meal, so a nice green salad or loaf of fresh Italian bread would be great with it!
🍲 More soup recipes
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this easy Italian wedding soup!
Don't forget! If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and give it a rating. I love to hear from each and every one of you! Tag me on Facebook and Instagram as well! It makes my day to see all of your photos of the food you have made.
Italian Wedding Soup
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning divided
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup acini de pepe pasta
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- shredded parmesan cheese for serving
- In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Add in egg and breadcrumbs and using your hands or a mixing spoon, mix everything together until just combined.
- Using a scoop or spoon, measure out 1 - 1 ½ Tablespoons of the meat mixture and shape it into a small meatball. Place formed meatball on a sheet pan and repeat with remaining meat mixture. The mixture should yield approximately 16-20 small meatballs.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add half of the meatballs to the pot and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pot and place on a clean sheet pan. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Meatballs will not be completely cooked.
- To the pot, add in diced onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add in vegetable broth and the remaining 3 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any bits that may be stuck to it from cooking the meatballs or vegetables.
- Increase heat to medium high and add in acini de pepe pasta and browned meatballs. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until both pasta and the meatballs are completely cooked.
- Remove soup from the heat and stir in fresh spinach. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese.