Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe – A lighter (gluten free) version of classic Italian Meatball Soup! This skinny wedding soup is bursting with juicy meatballs, pasta, and herbs!
My first encounter with Italian Meatball Soup was at a potluck at least 30 years ago.
I remember standing over the pot filled with star pasta and enormous meatballs, and feeling like they looked so foreign floating in soup. Like planets hovering in outer space.
Then I tasted it, and was immediately brought right back to earth.
The meatballs were so juicy. Fat from the meatballs gave the soup broth a luxurious quality. Yet best of all, each spoonful was brimming with tiny pasta, herbs, and veggies.
At that moment in my young life, it occurred to me that just because something is new and different, doesn’t mean I should be afraid of it… Or judge before gathering more information.
A lesson I try to remind myself of on a regular basis.
Last year, my daughter became ill and it was quite a life-altering experience. We went through months of testing, experimenting with medicines, alternative forms of healing, and major diet changes.
Although she is much better now, she is left with a strong sensitivity to gluten. (A side effect, not the original health issue.)
However, we are so thrilled to see her healthy again, what could have been a hard lifestyle change, seems like nothing at all.
Removing gluten from her diet (and usually ours as well) is a small price to pay to watch your baby go from literal gut-wrenching pain, to health and happiness.
Over the last year, I have converted many of her favorite dishes to gluten free versions.
With so many wonderful gluten free products available nowadays, it was much easier than I thought.
For instance, meatballs.
Meatballs need bread crumbs to hold in the juices and keep and them soft. If you remove the bread crumbs entirely, and do not replace them with something else that can accomplish the same task, you end up with hard bland balls of ground meat.
Yet there are all sorts of things you can add to meatballs other than plain wheat bread crumbs… Beans, rice, crushed gluten free crackers, and even gluten free bread crumbs are available at most major grocery chains.
Today’s Healthy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe is dedicated to my sweet daughter Ava.
She fought hard to keep a positive attitude through this tumultuous year, with months of daily pain and periods when she could only eat lean chicken and a handful of vegetables.
She has come a long way. To be just gluten free is a huge blessing!
Italian meatball soup is something she has always loved, so now we have a gluten free version for her… And for your GF loved ones as well.
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup Ingredients
Italian Meatball Soup does have quite a few ingredients. Here we’ve tried to cut the recipe down to only include the ingredients that offer the biggest bang for your buck!
- Ground turkey sausage or chicken sausage – If you are gluten free, check the label.
- Gluten free bread crumbs – Or regular bread crumbs for a non-gluten free version.
- Egg – To hold the meatballs together.
- Milk – To moisten the meatballs.
- Olive Oil – To sauté the veggies.
- Onions and garlic – Always.
- Carrots – For color and sweetness.
- Celery – For underlying flavor.
- Fresh dill and parsley – A must for a fresh pop of herby essence.
- Chicken broth – The soup base. Also check for gluten.
- Gluten free pasta – Less shapes are availablein gluten free pastas, so when in doubt, go with macaroni or orzo.
- Baby spinach – Greens are essential in traditional wedding soup.
- Lemon juice – For a bright finish!
- Crushed red pepper – For kick. Optional.
- Shaved parmesan cheese – As a garnish!
As you can see, we did not use pork, beef, or veal, in the meatballs like traditional wedding soup. We figured as long as we were removing the gluten we’d clean it up in other ways as well.
However, if you prefer, you can use 1 pound pork sausage and 1 pound ground beef or veal.
Italian Meatball Soup Q&A
How do you make Italian meatball soup? First make your meatballs. Sauté veggies. Simmer the broth. And add in the meatballs to cook through. (See the full recipe below.)
There is some discrepancy about the origins of wedding soup, yet many Italians do claim it as their own. However, it is not a soup served at weddings in Italy as the name suggests. It actually translates “vegetable marriage” soup referring to the perfect marriage of vegetables and meat.
Traditional recipes vary a little. Yet, most commonly you find: garlic, crushed red pepper, plus the herbs dill, parsley, and sometimes oregano.
No. Although many recipes ask you to bake or sauté the meatballs before adding them to the soup, we’ve found it makes no difference in the soup flavor or interior meatball texture whatsoever. The only reason to brown the meatballs first, is if you want them to look like they been browned.
Yes. Use almond milk in the meatballs instead of regular milk. Then skip the cheese at the end.
Yes and no. Gluten free pasta does not hold up in soup for an extended period of time. It will disintegrate after a few hours. However, if you are not gluten free and make this with traditional pasta, it’s great for several days in the fridge.
More Amazing Lean Soup Recipes
- Best Chicken Detox Soup
- Skinny Chicken Fajita Soup
- Low Carb Vietnamese Pho
- Paleo Chicken Chili Verde
- Low Carb Creamy Mushroom Soup
- Chicken Minestrone Soup
Get The Healthy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe Below.
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
For the meatballs:
- 2 pounds ground turkey sausage, or chicken sausage
- 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 5 tablespoons milk
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups gluten free pasta (use any small shape)
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, packed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- For the meatballs: In a large bowl mix the ground turkey sausage, gluten free bread crumbs, egg, and milk. Mix by hand until the mixture is very smooth.
- Place a large 6-8 quart soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, chopped onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to the pot. Sauté for 5 minutes, to soften the vegetables.
- Add the dill, parsley, and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.
- While the soup is heating, roll the meat into small tight 1 inch balls. Once the soup starts to simmer, add in the meatballs, 3-5 at a time, stirring so they don’t stick to the bottom.
- After all the meatballs are in the soup, simmer an additional 5 minutes. Then stir in the gluten free pasta, spinach, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper. Simmer the pasta 6-8 minutes, or according to the package instructions.
- Taste, salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
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