Italian Wedding Soup with Spinach Meatballs. Cheese Tortellini, baby spinach and little bite-size meatballs are simmered for a few minutes, giving a twist to this classic Italian wedding soup! This recipe is a spin on our mom’s classic “Italian Wedding Soup” as we knew it.
So we took our mother’s recipe for the Italian Wedding Soup and made a few minor changes, to make it easier and in less time – by eliminating a few steps in the cooking process.
For our recipe:
These mini-meatballs are loaded with spinach, ground beef, eggs, and Parmesan cheese, then baked until fully cooked before dropping them into a simmered broth with cheese tortellini and fresh baby spinach.
The outcome turned out AMAZING! … to say the least!
Our Italian wedding soup with spinach meatballs is big on flavor and very satisfying. It makes the perfect meal for the whole family to enjoy.
Serve it with some crusty bread or enjoy it with a side of our many salads, like healthy apple bok choy salad to complete the meal.
Why We LOVE Our Version For This Italian Wedding Soup…
we used cheese-filled tortellini, which give the broth it’s robust flavors.
cheese tortellini cook up faster than regular pasta.
fresh baby spinach sneaks in some healthy greens for your family.
this soup is very adaptable, you can use beef broth, vegetable broth or chicken stock.
our bite-size meatballs not only makes this soup fun to eat, but also hearty and filliing.
it makes the perfect one dish meal, containing carbs, protein, and veggies.
the soup is ready in about 30 minutes or so.
Our version of the Italian wedding soup with spinach meatballs is flavorful and satisfying.
The Story Behind our Mom’s Italian Wedding Soup…
Growing up, our mom always made this soup with escarole and her famous mini meatballs (which is a similar recipe to Mom’s Sunday Meatballs) and served it as our first course on many holiday meals.
She would make the soup the day before and reheat it before serving. Her soup took all day to prepare simply because she made her broth homemade. Mom’s recipe for Italian wedding soup with meatballs is amazing but also very time-consuming.
The Back Story To Calling It “Italian Wedding Soup”…
Italian Wedding Soup, for as long as we could remember while growing up was always served as the first course at EVERY Italian wedding we attended!
It was a common dish to serve during the late ’60s, ’70s and early 80’s, because it was very inexpensive to make, especially for a big crowd. That’s how the name “Italian Wedding Soup” came about.
Every Italian caterer throughout the country in Italian-American neighborhoods, all served this soup as the FIRST course at everyone’s wedding. It was part of the Italian-immigrant culture brought to the US.
How to Make Italian Wedding Soup with Spinach Meatballs…
The first step is to prepare the mini meatballs.
We decided to add some healthy greens like chopped spinach into the mixture before baking them in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Next step is to pour the broth or stock into a large soup pot. Plus, extra spinach is tossed into the soup. The good news is fresh baby spinach doesn’t require much cooking
Once you get the soup started, and the meatballs are fully baked, the rest is easy.
The final step is to toss in the spinach meatballs into the soup at the end of the cooking time, just before serving.
Italian Wedding Soup with Spinach Meatballs from start to finish takes about 30 minutes!
This recipe will make plenty to store leftovers for you to enjoy for another weeknight meal, especially on the busy ones!
Try this recipe, it won’t disappoint!
*You can follow along on how to make the mini meatballs, or jump to the bottom of this post for our full recipe card.
Directions to Making Spinach Meatballs: (*full recipe card below!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a large cooking sheet or Pyrex dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, or if mixing by hand, in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add chop meat, breadcrumbs, chopped spinach, garlic powder, salt eggs, Parmesan, and Pecorino cheeses.
3. Mix the meat mixture until it’s well combined. Using a small espresso spoon to scoop up a small amount and place it into the palm of your hand. Shape into a small ball, smaller than a quarter size.
4. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. They can be placed close together, but not touching.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are light brown and fully cooked. Then transfer into the soup, along with the rest of the ingredients.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
For Spinach Meatballs
- 1 (10-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
- 1/2 pound chopped ground beef
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 Tbsp. grated Pecorino cheese
- olive oil cooking spray
- 32 ounce chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 pound cheese tortellini
- 4 to 5 cups fresh baby spinach
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a large cooking sheet or Pyrex dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a food processor, or if mixing by hand, in a medium size mixing bowl.
- Add chop meat, breadcrumbs, chopped spinach, garlic powder, salt eggs, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses.
- Mix the meat mixture until it's well combined. Using a small espresso spoon to scoop up a small amount and place into the palm of your hand. Shape into a small ball, smaller than a quarter size.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. They can be placed close together, but not touching.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until they are light brown and fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, bring broth and water to a boil. Add cayenne pepper and tortellinis. Cook the tortellini according to the directions of the package, but undercook them 1 minute. Stir in the fresh spinach. Finally, add in the already baked mini spinach meatballs.
- Taste the broth, and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
- Ladle into individual soup bowls and serve. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese at the table. Stores leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freezer for a future weekday meal.
- Yields: 2 quarts, and about 65 mini spinach meatballs