Italian wedding soup is a hearty soup you can serve anytime of the year. Make this soup in your slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot).
Updated 2019 with electric pressure cooker instructions (Instant Pot)
Italian Wedding Soup
I always assumed Italian wedding soup was a soup served at Italian weddings. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned this was not the case, it’s just a play on words. The term “wedding soup” comes from the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata” (“married soup”), which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/”marriage” of greens and the meat. The meat in this case being the meatballs with the greens referring to the spinach. Italian wedding soup can also contain pasta in which I used orzo pasta but you can absolutely use a different shape pasta if that’s what you have. This is another recipe that you can modify to make work for you.
Fresh or Frozen Meatballs
The recipe is written for fresh meatballs. The good news is that you can use frozen meatballs without making any adjustments to the cook time. When I use frozen meatballs they are always meatballs that I previously baked and froze but you can use store-bought frozen meatballs if that’s your fancy. If you’re into meal prep: pre-make your meatballs. Bake them, freeze them and add them to the soup frozen when you’re ready. This recipe usually produces a batch of about 15-18 meatballs for me.
Ground Meat Of Your Choice
I left the ingredients for the ground meat vague on purpose. Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use the ground meat of your choice without changing the cook time. I tend to make this using ground beef (what you see here in the pics) but it’s also good with ground turkey. Trust me, they both cook for the same amount of time. If you have another meatball recipe you want to swap in here, go ahead. If you’re looking for an alternative meatball recipe check out me herb meatballs.
Other meatball recipes you might enjoy:
Regardless of whether you use your slow cooker or electric pressure cooker, the majority of the cook time it’s the meatballs cooking in the soup. In both cases the orzo & spinach are added the last few minutes.
- 1 lb lean ground meat of your choice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium broth of your choice
- 4 cups water
- 2 small carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 3 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp oil (for pressure cooker)
- To make meatballs: in a large bowl, mix together all the MEATBALLS ingredients until well combined. Shape into into 1 1/2-inch balls.
- Add all the SOUP ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Make meatballs per instructions above. Add meatballs to the soup. Stir gently.
- Cook high 3-4 hours or low 6-8.
- Stir in the orzo pasta & spinach and cook an additional 15-30 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
- Turn on the Instant Pot and select Sauté. Once hot add oil to the pot.
- Add carrots and onions and cook for a 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Turn off pressure cooker.
- Add broth and water and deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker by scraping all the bits off with a wooden spoon. Stir in parsley, salt, oregano, and pepper.
- Make meatballs per instructions above. Gently drop in meatballs and stir.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set HIGH pressure for 22 minutes. When done, natural release pressure for 5 minutes then manually the remaining pressure. Open lid.
- Stir in orzo and spinach. Turn pressure cooker to Sauté. Cook approximately 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently until pasta is tender.
Like this recipe? A low-sodium version of this recipe appeared in my second cookbook, The Low Sodium Slow Cooker Cookbook.
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