This 15-Minute Italian Wedding Soup is the perfect marriage of easy meatballs, pasta, and spinach. This is a soup recipe worth celebrating!
The first time I had Italian Wedding Soup I fell in love with it. How could I not? It has some of my favorite ingredients. Meatballs with cabbage, kale, or spinach along with quick-cooking noodles. Delicious!
After first trying it, I needed to find out why it was called Italian Wedding Soup. Is it really something traditionally served at Italian weddings? The answer is no.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Is Italian Wedding Soup?
The name comes from the Italian phrase minestra maritata meaning “married soup” but not referring to a marriage between people. Instead it’s referring to the way that green vegetables and meat go so well together.
Since first trying this soup I’ve had a bunch of different versions. My favorite ones always have meatballs. But today’s recipe is a SOUPin15 recipe, and I knew that I couldn’t make traditional meatballs and cook them in the time allowed. So I came up with a quick way to make delicious rustic meatballs.
Making Quick Meatballs
This is a great tip that goes beyond just soup recipes. You can do this anytime you want quick meatballs.
What you do is take Italian Sausage, or any kind of sausage really, but Italian works best for this soup recipe. Then use your fingers to pluck out blobs of sausage meat from within the casing. Roll them quickly between your palms. Meatballs formed! (Discard the casings).
For this soup, the meatballs are cooked in the broth. But if you were making Spaghetti with Meatballs, for instance, you could pan fry the meatballs or bake them instead.
If you prefer to make more traditional meatballs from scratch, you absolutely could, but then it would no longer be a 15-minute soup recipe.
What Veggies And Pasta Are Used In Wedding Soup?
I’ve chosen spinach as the green vegetable for this soup because I always have some in the fridge. But you can use kale, cabbage, endive, or escarole. You could even go with spring mix if that’s what you have.
There’s also pasta in this soup. I wanted something that would cook quickly so I went with orzo. Another great quick-cooking option would be pastina, ditalini, or the tiny pasta balls called acini di pepe. As long as it’s a small and quick cooking pasta, it’ll work just fine.
This quick Italian Wedding Soup recipe is a real winner, especially topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese. Everyone I’ve made it for has loved it. I hope you and your family love it too!
Podcast Episode: Making Italian Wedding Soup
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
Learn how to marry meatballs and spinach in this 15-Minute Italian Wedding Soup. Fill the guest list, because this soup is worth celebrating.
- 4 cups low or no-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 lb. fresh mild chicken Italian sausage links (about 5 links)
- 3/4 cup dry orzo or other small quick-cooking pasta
- 2 oz. Parmesan cheese (a wedge or buy it pre-grated)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- Measure the broth and water into a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the salt. Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- While the broth is heating put a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Peel and chop the onion. Add it to the pot.
- Use your fingers to squeeze ¾-inch balls of sausage meat out from the casings. Let them fall directly into the pan of onions. Stir occasionally as you make all the sausage balls. Discard casings. Stir and cover pot.
- When the broth has finished heating, add it to the large pot with the sausage. Cover and increase heat to high. When it reaches a simmer add the orzo. Let it come to a boil. Reduce heat to a heavy simmer. Stir occasionally until the pasta is al dente, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, grate the parmesan cheese if not pre-grated.
- When the noodles are cooked (the sausage will be cooked by now as well), taste and add extra salt if desired.
- Put a handful of spinach into each of 4 soup bowls. Ladle hot soup on top of spinach. Garnish with grated Parmesan.
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This post originally appeared in May 2015 and was revised and republished in April 2023.