Simple Italian Wedding Soup (Minestra Maritata)

I loosely adapted this soup from a reader recipe featured in the Clean Eating Magazine.  I liked the concept of the original soup recipe, but I wanted to replace/remove some ingredients, so this recipe turned out quite a bit different than the original. In addition to being Paleo and allergy friendly, this dish is also very simple. For a Greek flavor twist, try subbing the ground turkey with ground lamb and adding some Greek seasoning and marjoram.

Fun Fact: the name “Italian Wedding” Soup is actually a misnomer as the soup really has nothing to do with weddings. The original Italian name for the soup (minestra maritata) simply refers to greens and meat “marrying” well in this dish. Versions of this soup have been enjoyed throughout Europe for centuries, long before adding pasta to the dish became popular. The Italian Wedding Soup served at Italian restaurants is the American version of this traditional fare. If you want to read more about this, check out this article.

The basic idea here is a broth-based soup filled with greens and meat. Simple, healthy, delicious, and allergy-friendly. ‘Nough said; let’s eat!

Simple Italian Wedding Soup (Minestra Maritata)
Serves 6

Paleo; Free of: grains, gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, corn, yeast

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 medium carrots, sliced

1 leek, sliced (white and light green portions only)

2 medium zucchini squash, cut into bite sized pieces

3 cloves garlic

4 cups fresh spinach leaves

4 cups chicken stock

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash table blend

Salt and pepper to taste

Meatballs *:

1-1/4 pounds lean ground turkey

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large soup pot, saute the carrots, zucchini, sliced leeks, and garlic until vegetables are slightly softened.
  3. While the vegetables are sauteing, mix the ground turkey and herbs by hand in a bowl until well blended. Roll the turkey into small meatballs @ 1″ diameter (this will make 35-40 meatballs). Bake these in the oven for 15 minutes. Set aside.
  4. When the vegetables have softened slightly, add in the chicken stock and the herbs and seasonings. Simmer until the vegetables are softened to your liking. Chop the spinach leaves and stir into the soup until wilted.
  5. At this point you can either stir the meatballs into the soup, or you can place several meatballs in a bowl and spoon the vegetable soup on top. Either way, Enjoy!

* Ground turkey sticks together very well on it’s own without the need for added binders (such as eggs and bread crumbs), which could be problematic for people with multiple food allergies

The original recipe calls for orzo pasta, but I left out the starches in this recipe. If you miss the starch, you can add your favorite gluten-free pasta, brown rice, or quinoa. Or, you can add some sunflower seeds or pine nuts for a texture twist.

Loosely adapted from a recipe by Amy McGowan for Italian Wedding soup featured in the April/May 2012 Clean Eating Magazine (p 36)

5 thoughts on “Simple Italian Wedding Soup (Minestra Maritata)

  1. This looks very tasty! Those turkey meatballs look like big, fat, tasty dumplings and I just want to bite into one! Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon!

    • I have chosen this soup as one of my top 3 picks from Sunday Night Soup Night! I have tweeted it, pinned it and shared it on my Facebook page. It will be featured on Sunday Night Soup Night this coming Sunday. Thanks for linking up and I hope to see you again soon!

  2. Would you store the meatballs and soup separately in the frig? This pot of soup is going to last meal a few meals. Thanks!

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