Italian Wedding Soup

Despite all my years of loving Italian Wedding Soup, it was only very recently that I discovered it isn’t something that is actually eaten at Italian weddings. Rather the “wedding” part of the soup title refers to the combination or marriage of the meats and greens. Which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a match made in heaven.

There are a couple tricks in this recipe that make this particular take on Italian Wedding Soup truly something special. Firstly, the addition of minced onion in the meatballs makes them both tender and aromatic. Secondly, be sure not to skip the step of searing the meatballs before adding them to the soup. This gives the veggies a rich depth of flavor you wouldn’t otherwise achieve. And thirdly, is the addition of lemon juice at the end. This gives it a nice acidity that really brightens up the flavors.

This soup is perfect for a chilly fall or winter evening with classic flavors that the whole family will love!

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This updated take on a classic Italian Wedding Soup combines beautifully tender meatballs with veggies, rich broth and couscous for a meal the whole family will love.

Recipe by The Jam Jar Kitchen
5 from 36 votes
Course: Dinner, Soups & StewsCuisine: Italian, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the meatballs
  • 1/2 lb ground beef

  • 1/2 lb ground pork

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, Italian style

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1/4th cup onion, finely minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried parsley

  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

  • For the soup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 stalks celery, diced

  • 3 carrots, diced

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning

  • 8 cups chicken broth or stock, or bone broth

  • 1 cup dry pearl couscous (can also substitute with orzo)

  • 2 cups chopped kale

  • juice of 1/2 small lemon

  • salt and pepper (to taste)


  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients. Gently mix with your hands until combined, being careful not to overwork.
  • Using your hands, roll the meat mixture into about 1 inch balls. Place the meatballs on a plate and set aside.
  • Add about 2 tbsp olive oil to the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy pot with lid. Heat over medium high until the oil is hot and shimmering.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs to the pot, being careful not to over crowd. (This will probably take 2 batches.)

    Sear over medium high heat for about 1 minute, then flip the meatballs to the other side and sear for an additional one minute until golden brown. (*Note* Meatballs do not need to be fully cooked at this time).

    Place the browned meatballs on a plate and set aside. Repeat the process until all of the meatballs have been browned.
  • In the same pot you seared the meatballs in add in your onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until veggies are soft.
  • Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the veggies and cook for about 30 more seconds. Then stream in chicken broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Carefully add meatballs bakes into the pot and bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high to high heat.

    Once the soup has reached a simmer turn the heat down to low. Add in 1 cup of pearl couscous and cover with a lid. Simmer the soup covered over low heat for approximately 15 minutes until couscous is tender and meatballs are cooked through.
  • Turn the heat off and remove the lid. Stir in 2 cups of chopped kale and taste for seasoning. Add any additional salt or pepper to taste. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into the pot and remove from the burner.

    Serve piping hot. Enjoy!

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One Comment

  1. Yum! This Italian Wedding Soup looks super delicious!

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