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Italian Wedding Soup
with meatballs / orzo

Active: 40 Total: 40

With meatballs from earlier in the week, this classic Italian soup is loaded with colorful vegetables and orzo pasta for some extra substance. This soup was last featured in 2020.
Smarts: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.



Italian Wedding Soup with Meatballs:
  • Onions, medium - 1 , diced
  • Carrots - 8 oz , chopped
  • Oil, olive - 1 Tbsp
  • Tomato paste - 2 Tbsp
  • Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
  • Oregano, dried - 1/2 tsp
  • Stock, any type - 6 cups
  • Cheese, parmesan rind (opt) - 1
  • Pasta, orzo - 1/2 cup
  • Meatloaf meatballs (ingredients listed separately) - ~12 , halved
  • Baby spinach - 5 oz
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp
  • Cheese, parmesan (opt) - 2 oz , grated
Meatloaf Meatballs:
  • Onions, medium and red - 1/4 , finely diced
  • Carrots - 6 oz , finely grated with a box grater
  • Garlic - 1 clove , finely diced
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Eggs - 1
  • Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs - 1/4 cup
  • Thyme, dried - 1 tsp
  • Beef, ground (chuck or 90% lean) - 1 lb
  • Worcestershire sauce - 1 tsp (sub soy sauce)
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Foil (opt) - for baking
  • Ketchup (opt) - 1/4 cup


  1. Onions (portion for soup) / Carrots (portion for soup) - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Cook meatball aromatics - (Skip if meatballs were cooked ahead on Monday. If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating.) Prep onions (portion for meatballs), carrots (portion for meatballs), and garlic as directed and combine. Melt butter in a skillet. Add onions, carrots, garlic, and some salt. Saute until very tender, 5 to 8 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Make meatballs - (Skip if made ahead for Monday.) Combine cooked onions, carrots, and garlic with eggs, seasoned breadcrumbs, and dried thyme. Stir well to combine. Add ground beef, worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Gently mix with a spoon or your hands. (To keep the meatballs tender, try not to overwork them.) Form into 1” / 2.5 cm balls. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead.)

  4. Cook meatballs - Heat oven to 400F / 204C. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with some oil. Line meatballs up on prepared sheet pan. (Note: Ketchup is listed as an optional topping in case you made meatloaf meatballs earlier in the week. If you want to use it here to add more flavor to the meatballs as they cook, brush the ketchup over top.) Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, 12 to 18 minutes

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  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

  2. To heated Dutch oven, add olive oil. Add onions (portion for soup) and carrots (portion for soup) with a pinch of salt. Saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.

  3. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and oregano until fragrant, ~1 minute more.

  4. Add stock and parmesan rind (if using) and bring to a simmer. Stir in orzo and simmer until orzo is nearly tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

  5. Halve meatballs.

  6. Add meatballs and spinach. Stir until spinach cooks down slightly. Continue to simmer soup until orzo is tender and meatballs are warmed through.

  7. Move soup off heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste and season with some salt and pepper.

  8. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve soup with grated parmesan on top if you’d like. Enjoy!



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