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Italian Wedding Soup (And How I Learned to Love Meatballs Again)

I used to love, love, love, meatballs and then about 10 years ago I stopped eating meat, and when I started eating meat again – my love for meatballs was gone.

And that made me kind of sad. They used to be my go-to meal on Sundays.

But sometimes things can just jump into your mind for no reason, and a few days ago I thought about some Italian Wedding Soup I’d had years ago, and how absolutely full of succulent and fresh flavors it had been.

And just like that, my love for meatballs was reignited.

However, I started with the vegetables.

I’m a meat eater, but I like a lot, lot, lot, lot, of vegetables thrown into the mix.

So, I ground a carrot, celery stalk, and part of an onion in the mini-food processor. The chopped veggies worked double duty as a flavor booster, and to keep the meat moist.

Also, they made the meatballs gorgeous.

I also used kale in the soup because I had some kicking around that needed to be used, which gave the soup great body.

And that’s how I learned to love meatballs again. Mmm. The soup was full savory and the little bundles of meat were amazing.

Italian Wedding Soup

Serves 2-4.

Meatball Ingredients:

1 small carrot, roughly chopped

1 medium celery stalk, roughly chopped

½ small red onion, roughly chopped

¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

½ lb. ground turkey or chicken

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

Meatball Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fit a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the vegetables and parsley in a mini-food processor and chop until coarsely ground.

Spoon the vegetables into a medium bowl, and add in the turkey, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.

Using your hands, form the mixture into balls approximately 1-inch in size.

Bake the meatballs until browned and cooked through, approximately 20-25 minutes. They should register 160 degrees with a meat thermometer. Reserve.

Soup Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large celery stalks, sliced

1 large carrot, sliced

1 medium red onion, diced

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon lemon pepper

6 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 cups roughly chopped kale

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Grated parmesan, for serving


Heat olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the celery, carrot and onion to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.

Add broth, lemon juice, and reserved meatballs to the pan.

Bring to a light boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for 20 minutes, and add the kale and parsley. Cook until kale has wilted, approximately 3 minutes.

Serve with parmesan.

(Photo by Launie Kettler)

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