Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Italian-American in origin, this soup was really misnamed. “Wedding soup” is a mistranslation of the Italian language for ‘minestra maritata’, a reference to the fact that greens and meat go well together. (Well that’s a good marriage isn’t it?) I looked at several recipes of this popular soup, selected aspects of a few, added some of my own, and really liked the results! There are subtle layers of flavor going on here: the aromatic broth with its mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions. Then the meatballs ~ these babies take your food palate to a delightful level!



  • 10 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • ½ egg, slightly beaten (beat an egg and save half for another use. Or just double the recipe and don’t fool with that!)
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I substituted regular bread crumbs with a small pinch each of Italian seasoning and garlic powder)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed fennel seed


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onions, finally diced
  • ½ cup carrots, finally diced
  • 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • ½ cup orzo pasta, dry (or acini de pepe, or other small size pasta that cooks in about 8 minutes)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, thinly sliced with stems trimmed
  • Extra Parmesan cheese fresh shaved for garnish


  • Place ground turkey, garlic, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sage, salt, pepper and fennel seed in mixing bowl and combine well. Form into about 36 meatballs 3/4″ diameter. (Don€t be daunted by rolling such tiny balls; it takes only about 5 minutes and all the while you can daydream about how delicious they  will be!)
  • Heat olive oil in 4½ quart soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened about 5 minutes, stirring.
  • Add chicken stock to vegetables and bring to a boil. Add meatballs carefully, reduce heat to maintain a slow boil, and cook 3 minutes.
  • Add pasta and continue cooking for 7 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add spinach and cook 1 minute more just to wilt.
  • Serve in individual bowls and pass extra shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish.
  • Yield: 4 main dish servings, or 6-8 small bowls.


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Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs