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Why I love this easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe: it has a delicate and flavorful broth, but is entirely hearty because it’s loaded with meatballs! It’s a crowd-pleasing meal that you can whip up in about half an hour.

I’m feeling pretty foolish at the moment. I’ve always believed that Italian Wedding Soup was a common dish at Italian weddings – please tell me I’m not the only one. From the mouth of the wizard, aka Wikipedia:

The term “wedding soup” is a mistranslation of the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together.

Why I love this easy Italian Wedding Soup recipe: it has a delicate and flavorful broth, but is entirely hearty because it's loaded with meatballs! It's a crowd-pleasing meal that you can whip up in about half an hour.

It’s true that this soup is worthy of a wedding celebration, maybe that’s why I never questioned the name. Or maybe it’s because making it is so predictable, you know, like weddings.

I can hear you laughing.

Unlike soup, the best part of weddings are the things that go wrong. Our nuptial day was full of mishaps: our alter flowers were never delivered, my hair stylist forgot about me and, not to be outdone, I hadn’t practiced ‘tossing’ my bouquet and instead launched it fly-ball style. But Keith and I have been happily married for more than 20 years and these are the things that make me smile; the things that went as planned are long forgotten.

bouquet toss

Enough about weddings, this soup is about marrying flavors not people. It’s about marrying tender greens and buttery meatballs in a savory broth. Like all good marriages, each element has a vital role, accentuating the whole without being overpowering. My version has meatballs that are a blend of beef and pork (reminiscent of the mixture in my Albondigas Soup), a generous amount of rapini (broccoli rabe), tender leeks (like those in Potato Leek Soup) and plenty of grated Pecorino.

If you search the web, you’ll find that this is a soup with many variations. So feel free to improvise, swapping in your favorite greens and/or trying different meat combinations to make it your own and if you love soups that are a meal on their own, don’t miss these other Italian favorites: Pappa al Pomodoro, Ribollita, and Pasta e Fagioli.

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 441
Servings: 6 people
A delicious and versatile soup to make your own with your favorite greens and meat mixture!


For the Meatballs

  • 1/4 cup onion minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup:

  • 2 slices bacon cubed
  • 2 leeks white and light green parts, halved and thinly sliced into half circles
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, curly endive or escarole cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese for topping soup


To make the meatballs:

  • In a large bowl stir together the first 7 ingredients (onion through Pecorino). Add beef, pork and several grinds of black pepper; stir until just combined or combine with your hands. (Don’t overwork this mixture or your meatballs will be tough.)
  • With a small scoop or teaspoon, scoop out about 1 1/2 teaspoons of meat mixture and place on a baking sheet; repeat with remaining mixture. Quickly roll each portion between your palms to form a meatball.

To make the soup:

  • Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add bacon; cook and stir until fat has rendered and bacon is nearly crisp. Add leeks; cook and stir until tender, about 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil.
  • Add meatballs and broccoli rabe or other green to boiling broth; reduce heat and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and greens are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with a generous pinch of Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.


Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 1117mg | Potassium: 819mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2847IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 229mg | Iron: 5mg

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

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  1. ABDUL says:

    We love Italian wedding soup! I just made a pot myself the other day, but didn’t get to post it yet. Hopefully will do it soon! love the eggplant based veggies balls in yours yummy idea!