Delicious Italian Wedding Soup to Warm Your Heart

Welcome to my kitchen, where I take traditional recipes and give them a southern twist. Today’s recipe, Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style, is a hearty soup that will warm your soul and fill your belly.

As the name suggests, this soup is traditionally served at Italian weddings, but it’s become a popular dish for any occasion. It’s made with little meatballs and vibrant greens in a warm broth. For my version of the soup, I’ve added some southern-style ingredients to give it an extra kick.

This soup is perfect for any time of year, whether you’re looking for a warm and comforting meal or just want to impress your guests at the dinner table. With its combination of fresh herbs and savory meats, this Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

So come on into my kitchen and let’s get started on making the best Italian wedding soup you’ve ever had – southern style!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Italian Wedding Soup - Southern Style
Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style

If you’re a fan of hearty, comforting soup recipes that are packed with savory flavors, you’ll love this Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style Recipe. This classic Italian dish has been given a southern twist, making it the best of both worlds.

When preparing this Italian Wedding Soup, every step is carefully designed to enhance its rich and delicious taste. The combination of juicy, homemade meatballs with fresh greens like escarole and black-eyed peas creates a savory broth that’s perfectly seasoned with crushed red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, and bacon drippings. The soup is then thickened with long-grain white rice and simmered in chicken broth and tomato sauce for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Not only is this soup bursting with delicious flavors, but it’s also incredibly versatile. Perfect for any season or occasion, this recipe can be easily customized to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer beef or pork meatballs, or if you like your soups extra spicy or mild, this recipe can be adjusted to fit your taste.

This recipe is also perfect for those who love authentic Italian food. The use of fresh basil leaves and thyme brings out the deep flavors of Italian cuisine while parmesan cheese provides an authentic glimpse of the traditional recipe from Italy.

Overall, whether you’re in the mood for a cozy meal on a cold day or looking for an easy-to-prepare dish for your next dinner party, this Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style Recipe is just what you need to get your taste buds singing!

Ingredient List

 Savor every steamy spoonful of this satisfying southern twist on an Italian classic.
Savor every steamy spoonful of this satisfying southern twist on an Italian classic.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this hearty Southern-style Italian Wedding Soup recipe:


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Bacon drippings or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or turkey broth or vegetable broth)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
  • 1 lb black-eyed peas (pre-cooked)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A bunch of greens such as Swiss chard, kale or spinach, cleaned and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish

This combination of flavorful meatballs and hearty ingredients creates a traditional type of Italian wedding soup called “Minestra Maritata” or “Married Soup” that is perfect for any occasion in a Southern household.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to tie the knot with this hearty and flavorful Italian Wedding Soup - Southern Style!
Get ready to tie the knot with this hearty and flavorful Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style!

Get ready to taste a classic Italian cuisine with a Southern flair! I’m excited to share with you my recipe for Southern Style Italian Wedding Soup. This cozy and hearty soup is the perfect dish for chilly days. And it’s made even better with the addition of healthy greens and black-eyed peas! Let’s dive in on how to make this delicious soup.


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 fresh tomato, diced
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 cups cooked Italian long grain white rice
  • 3 cups fresh baby greens such as spinach, kale or chard
  • 1 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • Fresh Basil leaves, chopped
  • Fresh thyme sprigs


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground pork, ground sirloin, egg and bread crumbs until well mixed.
  2. Form small meatballs no larger than a dime from the mixture.
  3. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the meatballs along with bacon drippings until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same Dutch oven that was used for the meatballs, add onion, garlic cloves, salt, ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (if desired) . Cook for a few minutes until softened.
  5. Pour in chicken broth, water, and tomato sauce into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Add the diced tomato, black-eyed peas and stir in the cooked meatballs.
  7. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir in baby greens along with fresh basil and thyme sprigs. Continue cooking until greens are wilted but still vibrant.
  9. In a separate pot, cook Italian long-grain white rice, following the package directions until tender.
  10. When the rice is cooked, add it to the soup.
  11. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  12. Serve hot with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Enjoy this delicious and nourishing bowl of Italian wedding soup with your loved ones. Embrace the authentic flavors of Italy mixed with Southern ingredients that will bring warmth to your home!

Substitutions and Variations

 This savory soup is the perfect hearty meal for chilly evenings at home.
This savory soup is the perfect hearty meal for chilly evenings at home.

Welcome back, y’all! Now that you know how to create the perfect Italian Wedding Soup the Southern way, it’s time to spice things up with some substitutions and variations. Don’t worry, these adjustments won’t mess with the traditional flavor of this beloved soup. Instead, they’ll add a new level of complexity and variety to your meal.


1. Ground turkey or chicken can be used in place of ground pork to create a leaner and healthier meatball option.

2. For the greens in the soup, feel free to swap out escarole for kale or spinach.

3. Long grain white rice works perfectly fine but if you want a little twist, try swapping it out for acini de pepe pasta instead.


1. Lasagna Soup – using similar traditional lasagna ingredients: ground beef and Italian sausage, tomato sauce, broken lasagna noodles, garlic cloves, onion.

2. Vegetable Soup – this variation includes carrots, celery , tomatoes and green beans as opposed to meatballs.

3. Chicken Soup – for those who prefer chicken meatballs over pork ones.. Use chicken broth instead of vegetable or beef broth.

These substitutions and variations will still give you an authentic Italian Wedding Soup experience with a new twist that you can easily switch up each time you make this dish. Remember to experiment with different flavors to create your own signature version of this classic soup recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 Show your love for comfort food with this delicious and filling soup.
Show your love for comfort food with this delicious and filling soup.

Now that you’ve prepared this hearty and flavorful Italian wedding soup, it’s time to sit down and savor every bite. The beauty of this dish is its versatility – it can be served as a starter or main course, depending on your preference.

To make the most of your dining experience, consider pairing this soup with some crusty bread and a glass of Italian Chianti or Chardonnay. The bread will balance out the salty and savory flavors of the soup while the wine will enhance its robustness. If you’re in the mood for a lighter beverage, try some sparkling water infused with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Don’t underestimate the power of garnishing your soup with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper – it will add a piquant and cheesy note that will elevate the flavors further.

For an extra Southern twist, serve this soup with some crispy fried okra or sliced hot peppers as a side dish. The okra will add crunchiness and texture to complement the smoothness of the broth, while the peppers will add heat for those who love a little spice.

However you choose to serve and pair this Italian wedding soup, just remember that with each spoonful, you’re indulging in a warm and comforting meal that embodies both Southern charm and authentic Italian flair.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 It's like a big, warm hug from your favorite southern grandma in a bowl!
It’s like a big, warm hug from your favorite southern grandma in a bowl!

Let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy to cook every single day. That’s why I’m excited to share with you my tips for making Italian Wedding Soup ahead of time and how to store and reheat it properly.

If you are planning on serving Italian Wedding Soup for a large gathering or just want to meal prep for the week, this soup can easily be made ahead of time. Simply follow the recipe instructions as usual and allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled down, place the soup into an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the refrigerator or freezer depending on how far in advance you are preparing it.

When reheating your Italian Wedding Soup, I recommend doing so on the stovetop over medium heat. This will allow the soup to heat up evenly without burning. You may also add extra chicken broth to thin out the soup if it becomes too thick during re-heating.

If you’ve stored your soup in the refrigerator, it should be reheated within 3-4 days. If storing in the freezer, make sure to consume within 3 months for optimal taste and texture.

It’s important to note that while this soup does hold up well when made ahead of time, some ingredients such as fresh greens or herbs might become a bit wilted when reheated. To maintain freshness, consider adding these ingredients right before serving rather than during meal prep.

Overall, making Italian Wedding Soup ahead of time can save you a ton of stress and headache in the long run. With proper storage and care during reheating, this soup can taste just as delicious as the day you first made it!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Don't let cold weather get you down - warm up with Italian Wedding Soup - Southern Style.
Don’t let cold weather get you down – warm up with Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style.

Now that you have all the ingredients and steps for making the perfect southern-style Italian wedding soup, let me share with you some tips to ensure it turns out just right.

1. Browning the Meatballs: Before adding the meatballs into the soup, try browning them first in a separate pan using bacon drippings. This helps enhance their flavor and ensures the meatballs hold their shape in the soup.

2. Adding Greens: Adding greens gives the soup an added layer of flavor and nutrition. I highly recommend using escarole or kale which hold up better in soups than spinach.

3. Avoid Overcooking: Be mindful not to overcook your soup, as it can cause the rice to break down and turn mushy. Cooking it just enough allows for a perfect texture while still maintaining its taste.

4. Taste Test: Just like any other recipe, it’s important to taste test throughout the cooking process to ensure each ingredient is proportioned well.

5. Substituting Meats: If pork isn’t your preferred meat, feel free to experiment with ground turkey or shredded chicken for a healthier option while still keeping its rich flavor.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and authentic Italian wedding soup with a southern twist that will be sure to impress anyone who tries it!


Now that you have all the information to make this delicious Italian Wedding Soup – Southern Style Recipe, it’s important to address some of the most common questions and doubts. In this section, I will answer some FAQ that may arise during the preparation process. Keep reading to make sure you have a hassle-free cooking experience and achieve perfect results like a pro chef!

What are the meatballs in Italian wedding soup made of?

The components of the meatballs in Italian Wedding Soup consist of a blend of beef and ground pork sausage mixed with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and a variety of seasonings.

What is the tradition behind Italian wedding soup?

Did you know that the origin of the name “wedding soup” comes from the Italian phrase “minestra maritata,” which translates to “married soup”? This is because the ingredients in the soup come together in a harmonious and delicious union, just like a happy marriage. One common feature of all wedding soups is the presence of both green vegetables and meat.

What can I substitute escarole for in Italian wedding soup?

For those who don’t prefer bitter greens, you can swap out the customary escarole or kale for either bunched or baby spinach in Italian wedding soup. It is best to toss the spinach in later as it doesn’t take long to cook – a mere few minutes will do. If fresh spinach is not available, you can utilize thawed and chopped frozen spinach instead.

What is the actual name of Italian wedding soup?

Italian Wedding Soup, a popular and beloved soup, has its roots in the ancient Neapolitan cuisine. Originally called minestra maritata, which means “married soup”, it is a union of affordable cuts of meat and leafy greens that form the soup’s base.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Italian Wedding Soup is a staple in southern-style cuisine that never gets old. The combination of meat, broth, vegetables and pasta makes for a hearty meal that is perfect for any occasion. With this recipe, you’ll be able to recreate the best Italian wedding soup in the comfort of your own home. Don’t be afraid to make it your own by adding your own signature twist. Whether you prefer beef, pork or turkey meatballs, chicken soup or vegetable soup with greens, this recipe will never disappoint.

Try out this recipe and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. With these detailed instructions, tips and recommendations, you’ll be able to create a delicious and authentic Italian Wedding Soup that will satisfy any appetite. Don’t hesitate to make this soup in advance or store leftovers for later consumption. With these helpful tips, you can ensure that your soup remains fresh and flavorful.

So, what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try today and experience the true taste of Italy with a southern-style twist. I guarantee that you’ll love this Italian Wedding Soup recipe just as much as I do!

Italian Wedding Soup - Southern Style

Italian Wedding Soup - Southern Style Recipe

This is a Southern take on the traditional Italian Wedding Soup. It's from My Family Table by John Besh. This is the version from his PBS TV show. He suggests that this soup be served with corn bread.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 543.4 kcal


  • 1 lb Italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice (uncooked)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (or use homemade)
  • 1 handful chopped greens (such as mustard or turnip greens)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cups black-eyed peas (cooked or canned)
  • salt
  • ground black pepper


  • Add the diced onion, 1 clove sliced garlic, egg and rice to the sausage in a mixing bowl. Wet your hands a bit and roll the sausage meat into small meatballs.
  • Heat the bacon drippings in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs quickly in the bacon fat, so that they are well-browned. Add the chicken broth, 1 clove sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and black-eyed peas and bring to a boil. Simmer a few minutes and add the greens, thyme and basil and continue to simmer slowly until the soup is hot and the meatballs and rice are done. Taste and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the meatballs among 6 soup bowls and ladle soup into each bowl.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 665gCalories: 543.4kcalCarbohydrates: 43.2gProtein: 31.7gFat: 26.6gSaturated Fat: 9.2gCholesterol: 76.2mgSodium: 2604.8mgFiber: 6.7gSugar: 4.5g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, Meat, Pork, Weeknight
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