Italian wedding soup with juicy mini turkey meatballs, tender orzo and spinach in a flavorful Parmesan broth.
How to make turkey meatballs
Who knew meatballs worked so well in a soup?
I mean, I’ve had Italian Wedding Soup many-a-time, but still believe whoever decided to add little meatballs to a vat of broth amongst pasta and spinach is basically a genius. And I’m going with it.
There are numerous ways to make meatballs, but I like to keep it simple. Here are my steps:
- Soak dried minced onion. Yes, you can use minced fresh onion, but I find it easier and just as tasty to soak some dried minced onion in a little water to rehydrate it before adding it to your meatball mixture. It only needs about 5 minutes to soak, then toss it in the bowl!
- Add ground turkey and ground pork to the bowl. If you want to make the meatballs leaner, go ahead and use just ground turkey. But I like that pork has a bit more fat and flavor, so I find mixing turkey and pork to be a great combo for meatballs. But you do you!
- Add egg and breadcrumbs to the meat. These are binders and will hold the meatballs together. There are many types of breadcrumbs you can use. I like panko because they’re light and fluffy, but you can also use traditional breadcrumbs or even soak pieces of bread and use those as your binder. If you’re looking for an egg replacement, you can try a ‘flax egg’ (1 tablespoon ground flax seed soaked in 2 tablespoons of water) or use something like Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer.
- Add spices and herbs and cheese. I am talking freshly minced garlic, oregano, salt, black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. You can also add basil or use Italian seasoning, if you’d like! There are many ways to do meatballs.
- Roll the balls! Because we’re putting the meatballs in soup, I recommend making them mini or bite size. That way they’re easy to eat on a spoon!
- Roast the meatballs. This isn’t a required step, but I like to line the meatballs on a wire rack and roast them before adding to the soup. When cooked in the oven versus sauteing, meatballs get a brown crust on the outside (flavor!) and they cook evenly. However, if you’d like to keep this dish “one pot”, you can saute them in a little olive oil before adding the rest of your ingredients.
How to make Italian wedding soup
- While your meatballs are cooking, bring a big pot of chicken stock to a simmer.
- Add a few tablespoons of your favorite bouillon. I use this because it takes the stock from being somewhat flavorful to being out-of-this-world. I am a fan of Better Than Bouillon paste, but like I said, whatever you like to use will work – just know that each bouillon has a unique amount of salt, so that will alter how much salt you’ll want to add to the soup.
- To the simmering stock, add handfuls of fresh spinach and orzo.
- Then add the mini roasted meatballs.
- While the orzo cooks (usually takes about 10 minutes), you can make the egg mixture you’ll be adding to the soup. If you’ve ever made egg drop soup, this is a similar technique. Simply whisk together the eggs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. While the soup is still at a gentle simmer, create a whirlpool by gently stirring the soup in a circular motion.
- Slowly drizzle in the egg mixture as it forms ribbons in the stock. Once all of the egg mixture is in, your soup is done!
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Never skip this step when you’re cooking!
Now if this doesn’t make you want a bowl (or six) of Italian wedding soup, I don’t know what will.
Other soup recipes I know you’ll dig:
- Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
- Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup
- Thai Sweet Potato Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
Also, be sure to check out my other favorite soups in my Simple Soups Cookbook! It contains 27 of my very favorite soup recipes!Print
Italian Wedding Soup
A simple brothy soup with mini turkey meatballs, orzo and spinach.
- Prep Time: 15-20 mins
- Cook Time: 20-25 mins
- Total Time: 35-45 mins
- Yield: Serves 6 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove-Top, Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1-pound ground turkey or chicken
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon all-natural bouillon (optional)
- 6 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- In a medium mixing bowl, soak the dried minced onion in 2 teaspoons of water for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey or chicken, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, oregano, salt and black pepper and thoroughly mix until combined. Form mixture into 1-inch mini meatballs. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart and roast 6-8 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot to medium heat. Add the meatballs and sauté 1-2 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Add stock and bouillon (if using) and bring to a simmer. Add spinach, orzo and salt and simmer 10-15 minutes, until orzo is al dente and meatballs are firm.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan cheese. Slowly drizzle egg mixture into simmering soup. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate or freeze meatballs for future use.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 281
- Sugar: 2g
- Sodium: 511mg
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 11g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 16g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 34g
- Cholesterol: 113mg
Keywords: traditional, healthy, easy, quick, simple, weeknight, make ahead, do ahead, stew