Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs

Italian, Seasonal Recipes, Soup and Stew, Winter Recipes | 27 comments

We had a slight break from snow and cold here the past two weeks. It seems Mother Nature was a tad bit confused and sent up temps in the mid-50′s. No complaints from me! But I think things are cooling off again. We had a few snow flurries yesterday afternoon and I feel a bit chilled in the mornings when I wake up.

Homemade soup, like this Italian Wedding Soup with Homemade Chicken Meatballs, is the obvious answer for cold weather. And not just because such recipes warm the body.

This time of year things start to get a little boring in the produce department, at least to me. The holidays are over and the novelty of winter food will soon start to wear off and we’ll be craving fresh, bright flavors of spring again.

recipe for italian wedding soup

I love that this Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs helps stretch out the produce that is available. You can come up with so many different one-pot concoctions using what often feels like a very similar ingredient list and nearly identical preparation techniques.

Tips for Delicious Homemade Soups

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1. Start with Tasty Liquids

Rich, homemade broth is always ideal, but if you’re short on time or without access I like to use high quality store bought broths. I prefer either Better than Bouillon Organic Bases or Pacific Natural Foods Organic Broths.

3. Brown the Meats

Recipe got meat? Make sure you brown it first. The browned bits left in the bottom of the pan after browning the meat will build the flavor of the soup even more. Then you can deglaze those browned bits left behind with a little cooking wine or broth.

2. Sweat the Mirepoix and Aromatics

I consider them the soup basics: onion, leeks, garlic, carrot, celery, and (depending on the soup) ginger. Cooking these ingredients for about 5 minutes over medium heat before adding the liquid will deepen the flavor of the soup.

When I was a young(er), inexperienced cook I made the mistake of thinking soup was all the ingredients dumped into a pot of broth. Soup made that way just doesn’t taste as good!

3. Add Herbs

Fresh herbs should be added at the end of cooking, just prior to serving so you don’t lose all of their flavor. Dried herbs are great for adding early on because they’re better able to hold flavor for long cooking periods.

4. Simmer Low and Slow

I like to allow my soups so simmer for a longer period of time rather than quickly boiling them to get the vegetables tender. Yet again…you’ll get more flavor development this way.

Enjoy! I know you’ll love this Italian Wedding Soup and Homemade Chicken Meatballs. Stay warm!

What tips do you have for delicious, homemade soup?

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Meatballs

Yield: serves 6

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For the Chicken Meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 medium eggs, beaten
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped (about 3-4 whole carrots)
5 - 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or a combination (according to how broth-y you like your soup
2 cups water
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 - 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
8 ounces already cooked orzo, or other small pasta
6 ounces fresh spinach, swiss chard kale or escarole, chopped


For the Chicken Meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper with the ground chicken. Mix well. Form into small balls, about 2 teaspoons of mixture per meatball. Roll into balls and place on the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Bake meatballs at 350 degrees F until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. To test doneness, cut one meatball in half. If no pink remains, the meatballs are done.

Note: Alternatively, you can brown the meatballs in the same stockpot you will use to make the soup. This will add even more flavor to the soup, but sometimes baking the meatballs is nice because you can do that ahead of time and freeze them.

For the Soup:

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add the broth, water, and tomatoes to the stock pot. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, parsley and seasonings. Cook at a simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

Add the meatballs and cook over low heat for an additional 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the greens and cook until they are heated through and wilted. Stir in the pasta just before serving and cook only until heated through. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories. - January 09, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    Wedding soup is hands-down my favorite soup of all time. Now I’ve gotta defrost some of the gallon I made back in the fall!


  • 2
    Bev Weidner - January 09, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    This looks sooo pimp. I JUST made one very similar, with ze chicken meatballs too. :)



  • 3
    Blog is the New Black - January 09, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    I ADORE ITalian wedding!


  • 4
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction - January 09, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    This looks absolutely perfect – I need to warm up with a bowl in the very near future!


  • 5
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel - January 09, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

    I love Italian wedding soup! It’s so much fun to make and eat. Yours looks delicious.


  • 6
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - January 09, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

    Great tips, Katie! And a recipe to bookmark, for sure.


  • 7
    Rebecca - January 09, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    I also feel like the produce section is feeling a bit “blah” lately! I can’t wait for the farmers markets to get started again! Is winter almost over??! My tip for making soups… make it with love!


  • 8
    Allison - January 09, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    This looks so good! I have to make it this week.


  • 9
    Rebecca - January 09, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    Oh how I wish I would have read this earlier. I made chicken soup this weekend by boiling everything together & it wasn’t flavorful at all.


  • 10
    Deborah - January 09, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    This sounds amazing. I’m especially in love with those meatballs!


  • 11
    Katrina (GF Gidget) - January 10, 2012 @ 3:48 am

    Great soup tips!!! Thank you!


  • 12
    Laura - January 10, 2012 @ 5:14 am

    The Soup looks amazing! The only question I have is that You list 1/2 under a lb of ground chicken? Thank You for the great recipe


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 10th, 2012 @ 7:33 AM

      That was the breadcrumbs…somehow it got cut off. I fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

  • 13
    Tracy - January 10, 2012 @ 7:26 am

    Lovely soup!


  • 14
    kelley {mountain mama cooks} - January 10, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    Delicious and perfect for this time of year. I never seem to think of using orzo but what a great addition to this soup, looks amazing!


  • 15
    Lisa - January 10, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Being Italian, this is one of my favorite soups! I too add what ever produce I have so i don’t waste!


  • 16
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch - January 10, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, Katie! This is such a great soup that I haven’t made in a while. I think I need to fix that! :)


  • 17
    Anna @ the shady pine - January 10, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

    Hi there, I have just come across your lovely blog. This soup sounds so delicious! Here in Australia we are cooking light for the summer but this will be perfect when the cooler weather rolls around so even though you may be gettling a little over the cold weather food it’s great inspiration for us over here in the southern hemisphere :)


  • 18
    Cindy - January 11, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    I just made this and it is delicious!! I cheated and used beef instead of chicken. These are the best meatballs I have ever made. Thank You!!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 13th, 2012 @ 8:29 AM

      Hi Cindy – So glad you liked the recipe! Thanks for letting me know. :)

  • 19
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - January 12, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    This soup looks stunning! My soups never look that pretty… Love your photos! And, I’m craving some Italian wedding soup now, too.


  • 20
    Tickled Red - January 13, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    This is my little guys all time favorite soup :D I can’t wait to try your recipe for him.


  • 21
    Aldebaran - January 17, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    I made this tonight, only with turkey meatballs. It was FANTASTIC. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so excited to stash the leftovers in the freezer for a quick, yummy dinner down the road!


  • 22
    lannie - January 26, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    this looks so yummy and perfect for the cold weather!


  • 23
    Cait Ellis - April 23, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    I just made this soup… BEST BROTH in the world. I can’t get over how good the broth is! I think it might be the Balsamic. Anyway, thank you for this amazing recipe, I substituted pork sausage for the chicken but other than that I kept it the same and it was amazing, THANK YOU!


  • 24
    Jenn - February 02, 2015 @ 11:00 pm

    I was wondering if this would do well in a slow cooker?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — February 4th, 2015 @ 9:49 AM

      I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why not. I would add the orzo at the very end or cook it separately and stir it in.

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