Healthier Italian Wedding Soup IS possible without giving up flavor. With one simple swap, substituting ground chicken for ground beef, you can cut calories, cut fat all without compromising flavor. Research shows that there are 309 calories in 4 ounces of Ground Beef. That amounts to: 62% fat, 0% carbs and 38% protein. Meanwhile, there are 142 calories in 4 ounces of Ground Chicken. Amounting to: 53% fat, 0% carbs and 47% protein. Our recipe yields about 28 medium-sized meatballs or 36 mini-meatballs.
A little history of the dish. Wedding Soup really has nothing to do with a marriage ceremony of people, but rather the combination meat and veggies in a soup. In Italy, it’s known as Minestra Maritata or in English, “Married Soup.” As immigrants brought this soup to America, the word “married” painted a picture of a soup that was served at wedding receptions and the name stuck. Today, you’ll find it at most Italian restaurants and there are as many ways to make this soup, as there are Italian-Americans! Most likely because of the name, wedding caterers in the US will suggest it to brides-to-be as the soup for their receptions.
This soup is a keeper and one that belongs on our list along with other Food Nation Radio soup recipes.
Healthier Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb organic ground chicken
6 cups organic chicken broth
1 piece of bread or roll
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon dried onion powder
2 cups chopped spinach (we substituted greens with good results)
1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1⁄4 cup finely chopped carrot
In a large soup kettle, start simmering the chicken broth.
Take the crust off that piece of bread or roll, tear it into small pieces and soak it it 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside.
In medium-sized bowl, with very clean hands, thoroughly mix the ground chicken, beaten egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and the onion powder and basil. Using a tablespoon to scoop out the meat mixture, use the palms of your hands to shape into 3/4″ mini-meatballs. Then, place the meatballs on a baking sheet to hold them and continue until all the meat is gone.
Add meatballs to the soup kettle and bring up the heat to a medium boil and cook them for 10 minutes. Reduce heat slightly to a light boil and add carrots, spinach and orzo to the soup and cook for another 15 minutes or until orzo is tender.
Serve steaming hot with extra Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.