Italian Wedding Soup in a bowl

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian wedding soup has nothing to do with weddings, but instead gets it’s name because of the “marriage” of greens and meat in the soup. My go to greens for this soup is Swiss chard, because the leafy greens are especially sweet during the winter and the thicker stems can be cut out and sautéed in place of celery, meaning the entire green can be used. My partner AJ actually hates the bitterness that celery imparts, so the thick chard stems is a great colorful substitute. Pick any sort of chard available at the store, though my favorite is “rainbow”, which is a mix of various chard, most commonly red, yellow, pink and green.
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword italian wedding soup, meatballs, soup, swiss chard
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 412 kcal
Author Irvin



  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage bulk or removed from the casing
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil


  • 1 bunch Swiss chard about 8 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 large carrots diced to 1/2-inch chunks
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine or substitute 1 additional cup of chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup orzo pasta about 8 ounces or another small pasta

To Finish

  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese


  1. Make the meatballs by combining the beef, sausage, parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, chives, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Massage ingredients together with your hands until they are uniformly blended. Run your hands under water to dampen them, then roll 1-inch meatballs. The mixture should make about 40 to 50 meatballs.
    Mix the meatballs ingredients until well blended.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot. Add half the meatballs and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the sides of the meatball are golden brown. Don’t worry if the inside of the meatballs aren’t cooked fully. You’ll cook them further in the soup. You just want to brown the outside to give them a crust and flavor. Move the brown meatballs to a large heatproof bowl and add the additional oil to the pot and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Do not clean out the pot.
    brown the meatballs in a large stockpot in two batches.
  3. Cut the thick stems out from the chard. Slice the chard leaves thin 1-inch strips and set aside. Chop the stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
    remove the leafy green part from the stem of the chard, then chop the stems like you would chop celery.
  4. Add the olive oil the pot that you browned the meatballs. Add the chard stems, onion, carrots to the pot and cook until the carrots have softened and the onions are starting to turn transparent, about 8 minutes on medium heat.
    add the vegetables to the pot and cook until soften.
  5. Add the chicken stock, white wine (if using), bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and any juices in the bottom of the bowl to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for the suggested time on the package. About 2 minutes before the pasta is al dente, add the chard leaves to the pot and stir in to wilt.

    Add stock and simmer. Add meatballs and cook 10 minutes. Add pasta then Swiss card leaves to wilt.
  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese to garnish on top.