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Greens, Orzo and Meatball Soup

Here is an Americanized version of classic Italian Wedding Soup. Actually, this soup has no relation to weddings. The name comes from the Italian phrase "minestra maritata," or marriage soup, a reference to the delicious "marriage" of its savory ingredients.

There are many renditions for Italian Wedding soup. My favorite is from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Deb is a self-taught, talented NYC home cook who has published 3 very successful cookbooks. Her recipes range from decadent (cakes in particular!) to wholesome, even healthy. Fortunately, this recipe is from the latter category. The meatballs are made with ground turkey. Classic Italian Wedding Soup includes escarole, but I find it to be too bitter for my tastes, so I used kale instead. Choose your favorite greens.

A note about serving size: I formed 12 meatballs with this mixture. If you're watching your weight, that amounts to 2 meatballs per serving. If you make mini-meatballs, do the math for an appropriate serving.

Also, I used 93% lean ground turkey instead of turkey breast which bumped the Weight Watchers Point count to 6 instead of 4.

Deb writes that this soup is "kid-friendly." Champ and I are empty-nesters, so I guess we'll just have to eat all of this soup by ourselves. Lucky us !

1 large egg

2 tbsp. water

1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs

12 oz. lean ground turkey

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

8 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup chopped peeled carrots

3/4 cup orzo

4 cups coarsely chopped greens (Swiss chard, kale, escarole or baby spinach)

To make meatballs: Whisk egg and 2 Tbsp. water in medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs; let stand one minute. Add turkey, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper; gently stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on baking sheet; chill while you prepare the next steps, or 30 minutes, if you have the time.

In large (5-quart) Dutch oven, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add carrots and orzo; reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered 8 minutes. Add turkey meatballs and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in chopped greens and simmer until turkey meatballs, orzo, and greens are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Serves 6

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