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Italian Wedding Soup with Beef Meatballs and Spinach

Italian Wedding Soup with Beef Meatballs and Spinach

Italian Wedding Soup is a misnomer. This is not the soup served at traditional Italian weddings. Research on the origin of the name indicate the elements of the soup complement each other, or create the perfect marriage of flavour.
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian Canadian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 80 meatballs
Author Valerie Lugonja


Ingredients for Meatballs (can be done ahead of time)

  • 1 pound grass-fed know-your-farmer ground beef , thawed
  • 1/2 cup onion , chopped (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 clove local garlic , peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs or saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leafed parsley , minced
  • 1 egg

Ingredients for Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup onion , chopped (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup carrot , peeled and diced (1 medium carrot)
  • 1 clove local garlic , peeled and minced
  • 3 litres homemade organic chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 cups acini di pepi
  • 1 pound fresh tender spinach , chopped


Instructions for Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together beef, onion, garlic, cheese, salt, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, and egg until combined
  2. Shape into tiny bite-sized meatballs, roughly 1/2 inch in diameter; place onto parchment covered cookie sheet and refrigerate until ready to use
  3. (Refrigerating is important as it will keep them from falling apart)

Instructions for Soup:

  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter; add onion, carrots, and garlic
  2. Saute until tender, but not soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil
  4. Turn to simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Drop meatballs into broth; cook 7 minutes
  7. Add acini di pepi and cook 5 minutes
  8. Add spinach and cover; simmer for 30 minutes to meld flavours, adding more broth, if needed
  9. Serve with crusty loaf and hearty appetite

Recipe Notes

Freezing Meatballs
Place on parchment covered cookie sheets and fast freeze overnight
Package in well designed environmentally friendly freezer containers (I package 12 in each as I estimate 5-7 meatballs per serving depending upon starter or luncheon size)
Remove from freezer and place in fridge overnight
If plopping into the broth frozen, the 7 minute cooking time must be increased by 2-3 minutes
!Smaller Crowd Suggestion
For a group of 3-4, reduce soup ingredients by 1/3:
1/3 cup small dice onion
1/3 cup small dice carrot
2 teaspoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 litre chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/3 cup pasta
10-11 tiny meatballs per person, or 33 meatballs for 3-4 people
Follow instructions as written, otherwise.