This Italian Wedding Soup recipe is Italian comfort food at its best, and this easy soup recipe lends itself to countless variations. Substitute spinach, chicory, chard or any other leafy green for the escarole or kale, and any leftover cooked (or canned) beans for the white beans in this healthy Italian wedding soup recipe.

Joyce Hendley
Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016


Recipe Summary

1 hr 30 mins




Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare meatballs: Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire, fennel seeds, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up. With damp hands, shape the mixture into 32 (1-inch) meatballs (about 1 scant tablespoon each).

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and add wine, stirring gently to loosen any browned bits.

  • To prepare soup: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 7 to 9 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, 5 minutes more. Stir in broth, beans, escarole (or kale) and the meatballs and any juice. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon grated cheese.


Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months; top with cheese just before serving.

Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

284 calories; protein 23.9g; carbohydrates 23.5g; dietary fiber 6.3g; sugars 4.6g; fat 11.1g; saturated fat 3.5g; cholesterol 60.1mg; vitamin a iu 4130.1IU; vitamin c 21.9mg; folate 141.5mcg; calcium 205.7mg; iron 3.3mg; magnesium 33.3mg; potassium 869.9mg; sodium 522.5mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews
14 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I used kale and followed the recipe as written. I rarely give 5 star ratings but this soup was fantastic! the flavors all blended together in a way that was rich yet nothing was overpowering. I didn't feel like I was "doing my duty" and eating my veggies as I sometimes do. This was just darn good soup! Looking forward to taking left overs for lunches. Only down side is that it took me closer to 2 hours from start to sit down time and that is not practical for every day cooking. I'll definitely make it again on a day I don't have to work! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This soup was absolutely delicious! I cheated and used frozen meatballs from Costco. I also used spinach instead of kale but I froze several servings of it and I think kale would probably stand up to freezing better than spinach. I served it with Italian bread and had fruit for dessert. Will definitely make again! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Yummy I saw this in a recent issue of the magazine and decided to try it. I'm so glad that I did. I used kale instead of the escarole because that was what they had at the market. Like another reviewer I liked having the beans rather than the noodles. It seems healthier that way. It wasn't too salty like some other soups I've had recently. Don't leave out the fennel seeds. They are the key to those meatballs. I liked it so much I actually had leftovers for breakfast this morning! Read More
Rating: 2 stars
I followed the directions exactly as written. This was very very bland. I ended up adding more garlic (garlic paste), oregano, parsley, and chili flakes. Which actually helped out and but not enough. I added chicken base to give the broth a fuller bodied flavor. Sadly, this soup fizzled, but it did have the nutrious veggies in it so we did eat it up, but will not retry again. Sorry but this is Not a Keeper. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Excellent soup! The was a great soup that my whole family loved. I made it from scratch tonight using ground chicken and the meatballs were very good. But a couple of weeks ago I made the soup then added frozen chicken meatballs that I had bought from Costco to save time. We are 8 but I had leftovers both times which I put in 2 C containers and then in the freezer. Pros: very healthy quick if you use premade meatballs Cons: None Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was delicious! I didn t add the wine cabbage or the progresso soup. Added 4 extra cups of broth. And one extra can of beans. I like Kale so that s what I used. Big hit. My husband devoured it and even pleased my Dad who is very picky. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Soup that sustains Really good and filling soup. Like to make a batch on Sunday and freeze individual containers for work week lunches. Pros: Delicious rich flavors. Meatballs come out very tasty and you can adjust veggies to your own liking Cons: A bit labor intensive Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Loved this recipe and have made it several times. The Fennel Seeds in the Meatballs makes it especially good! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Molto Delizioso This recipe alone makes me glad I subscribed to Eating Well again. It was sustaining even though it is light.My 96 year-old father commented on how much he enjoyed it and he is not easily impressed! I made very few changes. I too used the kale instead of escarole. I omitted fennel from the meatballs only because I don't like fennel. Read More