Minestra Maritata con Fagioli Bianchi (Italian Wedding Soup with White Beans)
Italian comfort food at its best, this easy soup recipe lends itself to countless variations. Our version includes white beans for extra fiber and protein.
How to Make Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
This version of Italian wedding soup features turkey meatballs, veggies and fiber-rich beans. Here are tips on how to make it:
Use Ground Turkey Breast for the Meatballs
Meatballs made with ground turkey are a lean alternative to beef meatballs, provided you choose turkey ground from the breast. Ground turkey breast has less fat than regular ground turkey, which is a mixture of light and dark meat and some skin. A mixture of whole-wheat breadcrumbs, egg, fresh parsley, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and crushed fennel seeds keeps these low-fat meatballs moist, tender and flavorful.
Brown the Meatballs
Browning the meatballs before adding them to the soup gives them a boost of flavor. It also creates "fond" in the skillet, which is the caramelized browned bits at the bottom of pans after browning meat. The fond is deglazed with white wine which adds even more flavor to the soup. Browning also forms a crust on the meatballs which helps them keep their shape when simmering in the soup.
Add the Veggies and Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
This soup is loaded with healthy carrots, celery, cabbage, white beans and escarole or kale. 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. Use low-sodium chicken broth to reduce sodium intake.
Can I Make Italian Wedding Soup Ahead?
Absolutely! Refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat and top with cheese just before serving.
Additional reporting by Jan Valdez
Large nonstick skillet, soup pot or Dutch oven
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.
1/2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 2 medium-fat meat, 1/2 fat