Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe With Frozen Meatballs

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Try Crockpot Italian Wedding Soup With Kale

grandma’s ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP (meatball soup)

You can use kale instead of spinach in the soup for a change. It is delicious as well.

Another idea is to try turkey meatballs instead of the chicken meatballs. This soup is amazing however you make it.

We have even used mini meatballs and it was great.

You could even use another small pasta instead of the orzo pasta. So many options!

I often just use what I have in the freezer or what is on sale at the grocery store. We are fans of using what we already have.

We love simple recipes like this. I keep recipes like this on the regular menu plan rotation because I know the entire family will enjoy these meals.

In fact, I cut our grocery bill by 50% off by following these 8 Tips for for Saving Money on Groceries by Menu Planning! Save that money for a family vacation or maybe just some wiggle room in the budget.

Slow cooking makes it easy!

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Slow Cooker Method:

  • Prepare the meatballs as instructed and pan-fry in a skillet.
  • Place the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaf in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the fried meatballs on top and pour 8 cups of broth over top .
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through.
  • During the final 15-20 minutes of cooking, stir in the dry pasta. Cover and continue cooking until the pasta is tender.
  • Add the spinach to the pot at the very end and stir just until the leaves wilt.
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    About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

    Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

    Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

    She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

    She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

    As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

    Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

    Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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    Italian Wedding Soup Cooking Methods

    Italian wedding soup is a perfect recipe for the stove top, Crock Pot, or the Instant Pot!

    Stove Top

    Make the meatballs and roll into 1-inch balls. If you prefer tiny meatballs, roll them even smaller. My Calabrian mother-in-law makes just pinches of the meatball mixture into the tiniest meatballs.

    Gather all your ingredients together.

    Brown the meatballs in batches, remove from pot. Or you could place the meatballs on a parchment lined sheet pan and cook at 400F for 15 minutes in the oven.

    Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.

    Add the broth , and season with salt and pepper if desired.

    Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium.

    Add the meatballs and pasta .

    Simmer for 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

    Stir in the greens . When ready ladle into bowls.

    Slow Cooker/Crock Pot

    Make the meatballs and roll into 1-inch balls.

    In a large skillet, brown the meatballs

    In the slow cooker insert, add the onions, carrots, celery, broth, salt, pepper and browned meatballs.

    Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.

    If you want to cook the pasta in the slow cooker, add it in during the last 30 minutes .

    Stir in the spinach . When ready, ladle into bowls.

    Instant Pot Method

    Make the meatballs and roll into 1-inch balls .

    Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add in the meatballs and brown them . Remove from the pot.

    Add two tablespoons of olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes, until softened.

    Tip: Cutting The Jalapeno

    Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe with Frozen Meatballs ...

    If youre going to chop the jalapeno anyway, take advantage of this little trick.

    Hold the jalapeno by the stem and carefully slide the knife down the side, leaving the stem and seeds intact as best you can. This is so much easier than scooping the seeds out.

    While there are times you will need to scoop out the seeds like for these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers, if you are going to chop them, you might as well make life easier.

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    Does Italian Wedding Soup Freeze Well

    Yes! This happens to be a nice soup recipe to freeze. You could easily freeze whatever leftovers you have. Just be sure to let the soup cool completely and then store in freezer safe airtight storage containers. Leave a little bit of space on top of the container as the soup will expand when it freezes.

    To reheat its best to thaw in the fridge overnight. When youre ready to heat it up, just place the soup back into a pot on the stove and heat until heated through.

    Italian Wedding Soup History

    You may wonder where the name Italian Wedding soup comes from? The term “wedding soup” actually comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata“, which means “married soup,” in reference to the flavor produced by the combination or “marriage” of the greens and the meat. Although, it’s more accurately translated as wedded broths. Despite of the name, this soup is not served at Italian weddings. Instead, the name refers to the dishs unique flavors, betrothed as they are blended and simmered, achieving a brothy, meaty tasty union. If you want to learn more about the origin of this soup, click HERE or HERE.

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    How To Freeze Soup

    If you are making this Italian Wedding Soup ahead of time strictly to freezethen I would omit the pasta and spinach and add fresh when reheating. Ifyou are freezing leftovers, then you may freeze the soup with the pasta and the spinach. The pasta freezes much better than other pastas because itis so small.

    • Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and so it doesnt linger in the danger zone temperature for too long.
    • Package: Transfer soup to a freezer safe container or smaller containers.
    • Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
    • Defrost/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat on the stove or microwave per instructions.

    Carlsbad Cravings Original

    What To Serve With Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

    Easy ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP With Turkey Meatballs

    Everything you need for a great meal is in the slow cooker. Just add some bread and that is all you need to go along with this soup.

    We love Garlic Bread Cheese Sticks Recipe and it is perfect for dipping into the soup and getting every last drop. It is so good!

    You might also like this Easy Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe with the soup. If you do not have time to make bread, grab some french bread from the bakery. Yum!

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    What Kind Of Pasta To Use

    I particularly love adding Israeli couscous to this soup. The tiny beads of pasta take the same short time to cook as regular pasta and look so pretty in the pot.

    For this soup, you could also use tiny stubby pasta rings called ditalini, rice-shaped orzo, or the miniscule pasta grains called acini de pepe.

    Italian Wedding Soup Variations

    This Italian Wedding Soup recipe iscomforting in its classic ingredients and flavor, but can also be used as aspringboard to make it your own:

    • Swap greens. Substitute the spinach with kale, escarole, endive or cabbage.
    • Customize vegetables. I love the combo of veggies in this Italian Wedding Soup recipe- but theres a lot of flexibility! Other delicious vegetable options include green beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, zucchini, corn, peas, and cabbage. Just be aware of veggie cooking times for example, green beans take longer to cook than peas and cabbage which just takes minutes.
    • Use less veggies. You can also go minimalistic and just add spinach or a couple veggies of choosing.
    • Go low carb. Use cauliflower rice instead of pasta.
    • Use rice: Swap the pasta for long-grain white rice or stir in cooked brown rice when ready to serve. Long grain white rice will take 8-12 minutes to simmer in the soup.

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    How Do I Reheat Italian Wedding Soup

    • Stove: You can reheat large batches of Italian Wedding Soup on the stove over medium low heat, stirring gently until warmed through. Add additional water or broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
    • Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, you can reheat the soup in the microwave. Transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed. Stir in additional broth or water to reach desired consistency.

    Here Is What You Need:

    10+ Printable Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe With Frozen ...

    Step 1: Chop onions, carrots and celery then set aside.

    Step 2: Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your Instant pot and set on saute. Then add the veggies. Saute for 4 minutes. Stirring occasionally to prevent veggies from sticking.

    Step 3: Then add the two cartons of stock to the Instant pot, stir gently.

    Step 4: Next place in the frozen meatballs add the pressure cooking top, lock in place and set for 7 minutes on pressure cook.

    Step 5: Once your time is up, do a quick release of pressure, Then remove lid and add in the pasta and spinach. Stir, then add pressure cooking lid again and cook for 4 minutes.

    Step 6: Then do a quick release of the pressure, ladle soup into bowls and enjoy!

    Recipe notes: If you dont have an Instant pot, you can use your crockpot. Just omit the oil and skip step 2. Instead place all the veggies into your crockpot, then add stock and frozen meatballs. Cook on low for 2-3 hours. Then add pasta and spinach and cook for another 30-40 minutes or until pasta is done.

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    Making Italian Wedding Soup With Frozen Meatballs:

    Now that I know that this recipe is a winner, I always double the meatball part of the recipe, and freeze half of the meatballs for later so that I can quickly make another batch.

    To do this, just form the second set of meatballs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are frozen completely, put them into a gallon freezer bag.

    The next time you want to make this soup, just boil the broth, toss in the spinach, frozen meatballs, and pasta, and cook until the pasta and meatballs are done.

    You can also use store bought frozen meatballs in this recipe if you dont have the time or patience to make your own.

    What Are The Origins Of Italian Wedding Soup

    Dont be fooled by the name! This is not a traditional Italian wedding soup. The name is actually a reference to the flavors that when theyre simmered blend so magically together.

    The version we have here in the States is an Italian American recipe that originated in the Campania region of Italy. So it is still found in that region of Italy to this day, but it is made with pig scraps and the bones after the pig slaughter. Sometimes it is made with different homemade salamis. And this flavorful broth goes together with bitter herbs that can only be found in this part of Italy.

    In Naples, the minestra maritata is served on December 26th to honor Santo Stefano. It also could be enjoyed not just during Christmas time but during Easter time. Since it was most likely brought over by Italian American immigrants to New York it has evolved over the decades into the lighter version we know of today.

    Now as for Calabria, this is very similar to a soup my grandmother-in-law and mother-in-make. Is it the same version as the one found in the Campania region? Not exactly the same, but it could be all connected.

    You will find some more traditional recipes that have you make the soup over a few days. The first day would be to make the broth and let it slowly simmer . The second day would be dedicated to making the meatballs. And the third day would be to simmer it all together with the greens and vegetables.

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    Ways To Save Even More Time Making Italian Wedding Soup

    Even though this recipe is quick-cooking, sometimes we need a little extra time. Here are my top tips for prepping this soup ahead.

    • Pre-make the meatballs. Assemble them and line them on a wax-paper lined airtight container and refrigerate a day ahead of time.
    • Make a double batch of meatballs. I know that doesnt seem like a time-saver, BUT, you can freeze the other half, and then the next time youre ready to make this soup recipe, youve already got the meatballs handled!
    • Chop the vegetables ahead of time. Keep them in zip-top baggies in the refrigerator a day ahead of time.
    • Chop the spinach. Keep it in a zip-top baggie in the refrigerator with a dry paper towel to absorb any moisture.
    • Use frozen meatballs! I love the flavor of homemade, but some days I just cant with the extra work. Frozen meatballs work beautifully in this soup, just make sure you use the small variety.

    Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

    Italian wedding soup with chicken meatballs

    Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup, what an interesting name right?! Is it actually served at weddings? It might be! But for ours, the wedding part refers to the Italian flavors being put together perfectly that they all marry together forming the perfect flavor.

    You can make this easy family dinner recipe right in the Instant Pot. Our pressure cooker soup recipe is one of our more popular recipes!

    This meatball soup in the Instant Pot can be put together in minutes and done in less than an hour! But, dont worry you will not be missing that wonderful flavor that normally develops during the day while making soup.

    You can even serve this easy Instant Pot recipe with some of our delicious yet Easy Homemade French Bread Recipe, Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks Recipe, or some Mini Garlic Monkey Bread!

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    • Spices: Try adding in a dash of Italian seasoning, red pepper, bay leaves, kosher salt, or black pepper to taste to spice up the flavor and give it a very different taste without having to completely change the recipe. Make sure to mix the spices in well so that they dont all settle to the top.
    • Noodles: You can add noodles to this recipe to make it even more filling. Try penne, orzo, or ditalini noodles, or, if youre trying to keep your diet low in carbs, add zucchini noodles. It is also common to serve this Italian meatball soup with rice, and I would recommend using wild rice to play with the soups texture.
    • Veggies: You can add in a lot more veggies to give more flavor to the soup. If youve never tried Italian meatball soup with spinach, you should definitely give it a shot. Its absolutely delicious, and the bitter notes of the baby spinach pair really well with the richness of the meatballs.
    • Meatballs: If youre trying to reduce your cholesterol, you can replace the ground beef based meatballs with ground turkey or chicken meatballs and change out the beef stock for chicken stock or chicken broth. Changing up the meat will alter the flavor slightly, but they are delicious in their own right and pair well with a lot of side dishes.



    Pin this recipe now to remember it later

    Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

    You just can’t beat a big pot of homemade Italian Wedding Soup on a chilly day, and this version is the absolute best! Kids love the little pasta shapes and the mini meatballs, which you can prepare with ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, ground sausage, or a combination of these meats. You’ll even sneak some nourishing veggies and greens into this pot, which your kids will gobble up in their enthusiasm for the tender, flavorful meatballs! It’s a win all around, and an easy homemade soup that you’ll turn to again and again.

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    What Are Albondigas

    Albondigas soup is simply meatball soup. Its believed that it originated as an Arab or Berber dish then imported to Spain. It was then imported into Central and South America. Its a hearty soup made with lots of vegetables. Ive used:

    • New Yellow Potatoes
    • Green Beans
    • Zucchini

    Authentic Mexican albondigas soup is made with uncooked meatballs that you put directly into briskly boiling broth. You might think that the meatballs will fall apart but, since the broth is so hot, it cooks the outside quickly enough and they retain their shape.

    Be sure to open up your refrigerator and see what you have available. You can mix and match lots of different vegetables for meatball soup.

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