This Healthy Italian Wedding Soup is a lighter version of the classic but sill full of rich flavor. Tender chicken meatballs are swimming in a flavorful broth with plenty of veggies. You’ll love this soup!
I’m a big fan of a one pot meal and a good hearty soup is my favorite. Soups are quick, easy, filling, and I love them. This Italian Wedding Soup has been on my menu countless times since I first made it and I am still not tired of it!
Seriously, this soup is the perfect combination of all my favorite things. It has tender chicken meatballs, a flavorful broth, hearty white beans, and plenty of fresh veggies. Served with a side of crusty bread and an extra dusting of parmesan, this soup is cozy perfection.
Watch How to Make This Recipe
Not only is it delicious, this Italian Wedding Soup is incredibly easy to make and comes together fairly quickly. It’s a great weeknight dinner option!
Why Is It Called Italian Wedding Soup?
This soup gets it’s name from an Italian phrase, “minestra maritata” which means “married soup”. The reference to marriage is actually referring to the marriage of flavors between the green vegetables and the meat in the soup!
Ground Chicken: typically Italian wedding soup is made with meatballs made from a combination of ground pork and ground beef. In this recipe we’re going with leaner ground chicken instead.
Almond Flour: to ensure the meatballs are nice and tender you’ll add a bit of finely ground almond flour to the meat mixture.
Parmesan: just because the meatballs are made with ground chicken doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor. Grated parmesan adds a delicious bite of extra flavor.
Egg: you’ll need just one egg to help bind the meatballs together.
Veggies: we’re building a flavorful soup base with a combination of onion, garlic, celery, and carrots.
Herbs and Seasoning: dried bay leaves and Italian seasoning help to add even more flavor to the soup.
Cannelini Beans: traditionally, Italian wedding soup includes small pasta but to keep this recipe entirely grain free we are adding in a few cans of white beans instead. They keep the soup nice and hearty!
Chicken Broth: grab a low-sodium variety so that you can better control the amount of salt in the soup.
Spinach: after the soup has simmered you’ll stir in some fresh spinach to finish things off.
Ingredient Swaps and Frequently Asked Questions
Protein – don’t have ground chicken? no worries! you can easily swap it for ground chicken sausage or ground turkey. You could also use half a pound each of ground pork and ground beef.
Almond Flour – if you need to keep the recipe nut free you can swap the almond flour for gluten free panko breadcrumbs, regular panko breadcrumbs, or Italian breadcrumbs.
Cheese – you can easily swap the grated parmesan for your favorite vegan grated parmesan or just leave it out entirely. Grated pecorino Romano would be great in the meatballs, too!
Spinach – swap the spinach for another hearty green like kale (tuscan or curly both work well!), chard, or escarole if you prefer.
How to Make Italian Wedding Soup
Make the Meatballs: Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Use a spoon or silicone spatula to stir everything until well combined. Use a tablespoon size cookie scoop to scoop and roll the meatballs and then place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Cook the Meatballs: Heat a large dutch-oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Once your pot is hot, add in a tablespoon of olive oil and then add a few of the prepared chicken meatballs. Cook the meatballs for 1-2 minutes per side until they are golden brown. Remove the meatballs from the dutch oven and set aside. Continue this process in batches until all of the meatballs have been browned.
Make the Soup: Now it’s time to make the soup! add a drizzle of olive oil to the dutch oven and then add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Sauté the veggies for 4-5 minutes until softened. Next, add the bay leaf, lemon juice, cannelini beans, chicken broth, parmesan rind and meatballs to the dutch oven. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Next, add in the spinach and stir until wilted.
Serve: Before serving be sure to remove the parmesan ride and bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley!
Can You Make This Recipe in the Slow Cooker?
Yes! You can easily make this soup in the slow cooker. Here are a few simple steps:
Step One: Prepare and brown the meatballs in a large skillet. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and place them in the base of your slow cooker.
Step Two: Sauté the veggies and garlic in the same skillet you used to brown the meatballs until the onion is translucent. Transfer the sautéed veggies to the slow cooker base.
Step Three: Add all of the remaining soup ingredients, except the spinach, and cook on high for 2-3 hours.
Step Four: Stir in the spinach and let cook for 5-10 more minutes until wilted. Serve and enjoy!
I hope you give this Healthy Italian Wedding Soup recipe a try a try! It’s a quick and flavorful soup that’s perfectly comforting.
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2 – 15 oz cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
48 oz chicken broth
5 oz spinach
parmesan, for serving
fresh parsley, for serving
Prepare meatballs: Add the ground chicken, almond flour, grated parmesan, whisked egg, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to a mixing bowl. Use a spoon to stir everything until well combined. Use a tablespoon size cookie scoop to scoop and roll the meatballs and then place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. The meatballs are relatively small so you should have around 22-24 meatballs.
Cook the meatballs: Heat a large dutch-oven (this is the same one you will use to cook the soup) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in a tablespoon of olive oil and then add a few of the prepared chicken meatballs. Cook the meatballs for 1-2 minutes per side until they are golden brown. Remove the meatballs from the dutch oven and set aside. Continue this process in batches until all of the meatballs have been browned.
Make the soup: Add a drizzle of olive oil to the dutch oven and then add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Sauté the veggies for 4-5 minutes until softened. Next, add the bay leaf, lemon juice, cannelini beans, chicken broth, parmesan rind and meatballs to the dutch oven. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Add in the spinach and stir until wilted.
Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.
Keywords: Italian wedding soup, italian wedding soup recipe, what is italian wedding soup, how to make italian wedding soup, why is it called italian wedding soup, healthy italian wedding soup
Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by:THE MINDFUL HAPA