Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs is a healthy, hearty soup made with tender garlicky turkey meatballs, farro, white beans, and baby kale. A cozy bowl of this lean and nutritious soup will warm you right up.
Italian wedding soup is a simple dish that originates from Naples, Italy. It traditionally consists of a green vegetable, such as spinach, meat, Italian parsley, and chicken broth. This soup also contains legumes, pastina, like acini di pepe, carrots, and cheese. Its name comes from the delicious taste the marriage of flavors creates.
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
Italian wedding soup, or minestra maritata, is a traditional and hearty Italian soup with a mix of veggies and meatballs. In Italian, minestra maritata means married soup, a reference to the robust combination of flavors featured in the soup.
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs keeps the integrity of the classic Italian wedding soup flavor with a healthy twist. Farro replaces the orzo and lean turkey replaces the pork meatballs. This is a delicious healthy soup that does not sacrifice flavor!
Italian Wedding Soup
- Chicken broth - Clear chicken broth is the soup base for Italian wedding soup. It offers a light and savory flavor that does not overwhelm the palate. The broth is flavored with vegetable and meat ingredients.
- Cannellini beans - Cannellini beans, also known as white beans, are common in Italian soups, such as minestrone. They add a nutty flavor and smooth texture to the dish and are a great source of fiber.
- Baby kale - Baby kale is a tender green that contains fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, like iron. It is easy to digest compared to regular kale and adds a bright green flavor to the wedding soup. Substitute baby kale with baby spinach or escarole.
- Farro - Farro is a nutritious ancient grain with nutty flavor. It contains magnesium and zinc and is a healthy substitute for pastina and rice. It has a tender, al dente texture similar to barley. Substitute farro for pastina, such as acini di pepe, for a more traditional wedding soup.
- Ground turkey - Ground turkey is a lean protein with delicious flavor.
- Egg - Egg binds the meat so it doesn't fall apart.
- Panko - Panko gives the meatballs texture and weight. The breadcrumbs are airy and light but can be substituted with regular or Italian breadcrumbs.
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano - Parmigiano-reggiano adds adds a sharp savory flavor. It is a deliciously funky cheese that gives the meatballs extra Italian flavor.
- Garlic and Parsley - Meatballs need seasoning. Garlic and parsley brighten the meatballs with fresh herby flavors. Fresh garlic and parsley can be substituted for garlic powder and dried parsley or other herbs, like sweet basil, rosemary, and more.
- Leafy greens - Instead of baby kale, try baby spinach, escarole, chopped Swiss chard, or chopped and massaged kale.
- Legumes - Instead of cannellini beans, use lentils, navy beans, barlotti beans (cranberry beans), or great northern beans. Opt for legumes with mild flavors and tender meat.
- Meatballs - For non-turkey fans, opt for meatballs made with ground chicken, ground pork, or ground beef.
- Breadcrumbs - If you don't have panko, use Italian breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs instead. You can also use a mix of both.
- Farro - For a more traditional Italian Wedding Soup, replace farro with pasta like pastina (i.e. acini di pepe) ditalini, or orzo. For a gluten-free option, opt for rice, like Japanese rice or arborio.
- Vegetarian - Omit the turkey meatballs to make this soup vegetarian.
- Lemon - Add a squeeze of lemon to brighten up the flavor of the soup.
- Ground black pepper - Add more freshly ground black pepper for extra kick.
- Chicken Meatball Soup - Try a similar healthy and hearty soup with chicken meatballs.
- Heat the oven for the meatballs - Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Cook the soup base and vegetables - In a large dutch oven or pot, add broth, minced garlic, onion, carrots, salt, and pepper. Allow the soup to cook with the lid on at low-medium heat for 40 minutes until the onions and carrots are tender.
- Cook the farro - While the soup base cooks, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add farro. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the farro is tender and al dente. Then drain the water and set the farro aside. To cook farro in a rice cooker, use a 3 cup water to 1 cup farro ratio.
- Make the meatballs - While the soup and farro cook, combine ground turkey, egg, 2 minced garlic cloves, panko, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Gently toss with your hands and break up the meat until evenly mixed. Then use your hands to roll and shape 1-inch meatballs. This turkey mix yield about 24 meatballs. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil, place raw meatballs on the baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
- Combine ingredients in the soup - Once the carrots in your soup base are tender and the farro and meatballs are cooked, add the drained beans, baby kale, and turkey meatballs to the pot of soup. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy - Evenly distribute the farro and soup in bowls. Serve hot with freshly grated parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Yes! Italians, just like many other cultures, love a variety of soups which are often served as a first course. Some other great Italian soups are minestrone and Italian lentil soup.
Yes, all of the ingredients in this soup are healthy! We use turkey meatballs for a healthy and lean protein. If you want to make this recipe a little healthier, omit the parmesan and use low sodium chicken broth.
No, Italian wedding soup is not traditionally served at Italian weddings. The name wedding soup refers to the marriage of flavors in the soup.
While the different Italian regions enjoy their own different soups, the official soup of Italy is minestrone. Minestrone is a tasty soup made of fresh seasonal vegetables.
They are often made with ground beef or pork. However, we use turkey meatballs because they are a healthier alternative and don't sacrifice any flavor.
This easy Italian wedding soup recipe requires a few kitchen essentials, all of which can be used for many other common recipes. To make this soup, you will need a knife, cutting board, medium pot or dutch oven. This particular recipe features our favorite Staub Coq Au Vin Dutch Oven.
To explore more kitchen items to make your kitchen complete, head to our Kitchen Essentials Shop.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Storing soup is incredibly easy. After you make the soup, store cooled leftovers in an air-tight container or in the pot you cooked it in with the lid on in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can store the soup in smaller containers for meal prep and meal planning.
Important note: store the farro, pastina, or rice in a separate container from the soup. These ingredients are highly absorbent and will absorb all of the soup if left in the same container for a long period of time.
To reheat the soup, transfer leftovers into a pot. Heat the soup over medium heat and occasionally stir.
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Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs
- 4 qts chicken broth
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 medium carrots cut into quarter slices
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 15 oz cans of cannellini beans drained
- 2 cups baby kale
- 2 cups dry farro
- grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large dutch oven or pot, add broth, minced garlic, onion, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook with the lid on at low-medium heat for 40 minutes until the onions and carrots are tender.4 qts chicken broth, 1 small onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 medium carrots, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoon black pepper
- While the soup base cooks, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add farro. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the farro is tender and al dente. Then drain the water and set the farro aside. To cook farro in a rice cooker, use a 3 cup water to 1 cup farro ratio.2 cups dry farro
- While the soup and farro cook, combine ground turkey, egg, 2 minced garlic cloves, panko, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Gently toss with your hands and break up the meat until evenly mixed. Then use your hands to roll and shape 1-inch meatballs. This turkey mix yield about 24 meatballs. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil, place raw meatballs on the baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the meatballs and set aside.1 lb ground turkey, 1 egg, ½ cup panko, ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- Once the carrots in your soup base are tender and the farro and meatballs are cooked, add the drained beans, baby kale, and turkey meatballs to the pot of soup. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.4 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, 2 cups baby kale
- Evenly distribute the farro and soup in bowls. Serve hot with parmesan cheese.grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese