Italian Wedding Soup | Ambitious Kitchen


Yes, I’m already counting down the days till spring but for now, I’ve got a brand new soup recipe to warm your body and soul during a new month.

I’ve actually been wanting to create an Italian wedding soup recipe for the blog for years and finally tested and perfected this beautiful recipe in partnership with Pacific Foods! I basically keep an entire shelf full of their broth during the winter months when I turn into the Soup Queen. But seriously, this recipe is everything you’ve ever wanted in a soup – nice and hearty thanks to the homemade meatballs and tender couscous, nutrient-dense thanks to all of those veggies, and absolutely delicious and cozy thanks to all of the herbs and spices.

This Italian wedding soup makes such a lovely lunch or dinner to meal prep for yourself or to make for your family. OH, and it would be the perfect cozy starter for Valentine’s Day, too! Nothing says “I love you” quite like a comforting meal made for your loved ones.

Make the Recipe of the Month with us

This brand new, hearty soup is February’s Recipe of the Month! Make it any time this month and share it on social or the blog for a chance to win an amazing prize. Get all of the deets here!

easy Italian wedding soup in a bowl

What is Italian wedding soup?

Although it sounds like this soup is traditional at Italian weddings, the name “wedding soup” actually comes from the original Italian phrase, “minestra maritata,” which means “married broth” or “married soup.” 

Basically, this soup gets its name from the beautiful “marriage” of flavors between the veggies, meat, and broth. AKA you know the flavors are amazing!

ingredients for Italian wedding soup in bowls

Ingredients in the best Italian wedding soup recipe

This soup is easier to make than you think with super simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • For the meatballs: you’ll need some ground chicken (or turkey), an egg, some parmigiano reggiano, and panko bread crumbs to make the base of the meatballs for the soup.
  • Herbs & spices: we’ll also be adding fresh parsley and basil, plus dried oregano, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to the meatballs to give them the perfect flavor. You’ll add some of these seasonings to the broth as well.
  • Veggies & produce: pack in some veggies with yellow onion, carrots, fresh garlic, and spinach or kale. Traditional Italian wedding soup recipes have escarole, another leafy green vegetable, but I’m keeping it simple with spinach or kale. See below for even more options!
  • Broth: the soup simmers together with my go-to Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. This time of year I ALWAYS have their broths on hand so that I can warm up with cozy soups all season long. They recently updated their packaging (which you can see in these photos) – so look for the green boxes when you shop!
  • Pearl couscous: you all know by now I love adding pearl couscous to soups and stews. They’re like mini gnocchi that get tender and delicious.
  • For serving: I like to top my bowl with extra grated parmigiano reggiano, parsley, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Don’t forget the crusty toasted bread on the side!

cooking chicken meatballs for Italian wedding soup in a pot

Can I make this Italian wedding soup vegetarian?

Absolutely! Feel free to omit the meatballs and add a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas instead. Then, be sure to use Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth in place of their chicken broth.

Customize your soup

There are a few easy to really make this homemade Italian wedding soup your own! Here’s what I can recommend:

  • Choose your grain. I love using pearl couscous in this soup, but feel free to use your favorite short pasta like orzo or ditalini.
  • Go gluten free. You can always use your favorite gluten free pasta shape, or even rice! Then be sure to use gluten free panko bread crumbs as well.
  • Pick your protein. I prefer using ground chicken or ground turkey because they’re nice and lean while still being protein-packed, but you can use ground beef, ground pork, or your favorite ground meat to make the meatballs!
  • Swap your veggies. As I mentioned, you can throw in spinach or kale in this soup, plus any other vegetables lurking in your fridge. Green beans, celery, zucchini, and even potatoes would be great!

cooking classic Italian wedding soup in a pot

How to make Italian wedding soup (in 5 easy steps)

  1. Shape the meatballs. Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and use clean hands to mix it all together until well combined. Shape the mixture into about 40-50 meatballs total.
  2. Cook the meatballs. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven and brown the meatballs in batches on all sides. No need to cook them all the way through – they’ll fully cook in the soup!
  3. Cook the soup. Heat more olive oil in the same pot and cook down the onions and carrots. Stir in the garlic and seasonings, then stir in the broth and couscous. Lastly, gently drop the meatballs into the soup, bring everything to a boil, and simmer uncovered until the meatballs are cooked through. Add the greens in the last few minutes of cooking!
  4. Garnish & serve. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed, then serve up the soup with parmigiano reggiano and fresh parsley!

the best Italian wedding soup in a pot

What to serve with this soup

Italian wedding soup in bowls next to a box of chicken broth

Storing & freezing

  • To store: store this Italian wedding soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • To freeze: I would suggest leaving out the couscous or pasta of choice if you’re planning to freeze this. Allow the soup to cool completely before placing it into airtight, freezer-friendly containers. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply allow the soup to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating on the stovetop or in the microwave. To add the couscous, cook it separately and add it to your reheated soup when you’re ready to serve.

Italian wedding soup in bowls next to a parmesan rind

More soup recipes you’ll love

Get all of my soup recipes here!

I hope you love this Italian wedding soup recipe! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian wedding soup in a bowl

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Serves4 servings

Nourishing Italian wedding soup with protein-packed chicken meatballs, lots of beautiful vegetables, and tender pearl couscous. This classic Italian wedding soup recipe is easy to make for the perfect weekday lunch or dinner the whole family will love!


  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or sub parmesan cheese) (about 1.5 ounces)
  • cup panko breadcrumbs, gluten free if desired
  • 3 tablespoon fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh finely chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • For the soup:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups Pacific Foods organic free range low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup pearl couscous (or sub a short pasta such as orzo or ditalini)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or kale, chopped
  • For serving:
  • Extra freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, parmigiano reggiano (or parm), breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Use clean hands to mix until well combined, but avoid over mixing the meatballs of they will become tough. Form the mixture into meatballs about the size of a marble; 40 to 50 meatballs total. Tip: Dip your hands in a bowl of water between each meatball to prevent sticking and to create nice round balls – trust me, it helps!

  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once oil is hot, add the meatballs in batches, spacing meatballs about ½ inch apart and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Use a spoon or tongs to carefully transfer meatballs to a plate and set aside. Add more oil, if necessary, between batches, and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Meatballs will finish cooking in the soup, so do not worry if they aren’t fully cooked.

  • Make the soup: In the same pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in the onions and carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning and salt, and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broth and pearl couscous and stir until well-combined. Use a large spoon to gently drop in a few meatballs at a time until they are all in the pot. Bring the broth to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, stir in the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, then remove soup from the heat.

  • Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed, then ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano and a little fresh chopped parsley. Serve warm with crusty bread or toasted bread for dipping.

  • To store: Let the soup cool completely, then store it in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

See the full post for tips, tricks, and freezing instructions!


Serving: 1serving (based on 4)Calories: 570calCarbohydrates: 50.3gProtein: 43.7gFat: 22.6gSaturated Fat: 5.3gFiber: 4.6gSugar: 4g


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