lighter italian wedding soup in bowl

This Italian wedding soup is nothing like the one in my memory, most specifically, the one I used to devour by the Styrofoam bowlful between waiting on customers at the cafe where I worked just out of college.

The soup was made with an incredibly greasy broth and filled with a million mini meatballs, a few strands of spinach and a handful of these little lentil-shaped pasta noodles. I think there may have been a few specks of diced carrots, too. Along with about a gallon of salt. It was delicious — and not good for me at all.

This lighter Italian wedding soup is nothing like that soup. Instead of greasy, salty broth, this soup is made with low-sodium broth and diced tomatoes with their juices. Instead of a million mini meatballs, this soup is made with more substantial turkey Parmesan meatballs that poach in the broth to tender perfection. Instead of a few strands of spinach, this soup is filled out with an entire bunch of curly kale. It’s all done in 30 minutes, and then you top it with more Parmesan cheese.

So yeah, this soup is nothing like that soup — it’s much, much better.

meatballs ready to bake

This week’s dinner routine has been an exercise in “homemade and healthy, but hearty.” Considering we are fresh off a cruise ship where food was plentiful anywhere at any time (I’m looking at you, 24/7 pizza parlor and serve-yourself frozen yogurt station and those dang cookies at the buffet that were IRRESISTIBLE), we are in desperate need of some healthier homemade food. But also considering that it’s approximately -10 degrees outside as I write this and I’ve perma-wrapped myself in a blanket burrito, we also need food that sticks to the ribs.

kale being washed in colander

Lighter Italian wedding soup fits into all categories perfectly. The fact that it’s flavorful and done in a half-hour are just really sweet bonuses.

close up lighter italian wedding soup in bowl

The cherry on top of it all is that this soup freezes well, so you can save half of it for dinner down the road or make a double batch today, freeze one batch and when you need it — boom, instant dinner party. Just add a hunk of Parmesan cheese to grate on top, a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of vino and everyone is happy. Bellies included.

lighter italian wedding soup in bowl

Goodbye, greasy salt-bomb Italian wedding soup of yore. Hello, lighter Italian wedding soup of my dreams.

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lighter italian wedding soup

30-Minute Lighter Italian Wedding Soup

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  • Author: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 1 lb lean (90/10) ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 bunch kale, washed, tough stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped


  1. In large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic, egg, salt and pepper until well mixed. Shape into 1-tablespoon balls.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes until softened. Add broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, without stirring, 5 minutes until meatballs float to surface.
  3. Add kale (in batches, if necessary) and stir very gently, being careful to disturb meatballs as little as possible (they are very tender). Cook 3 to 5 minutes more until kale is wilted and meatballs are cooked through. Thin soup with water, if needed, and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with cheese.