Even though this recipe is a Lightened Up version of Italian Wedding soup, the traditional flavors of this soup are bursting through! It's lower in calories, gluten free, all cooked in one pot and done in 15 minutes!
What is in a typical traditional Italian wedding soup that has made it ever so popular and one that continues to be forever loved? It always contains little meatballs of beef, pork and/or sausage as well as a green vegetable like escarole. Sometimes it contains some form of pasta like pastina or orzo. My mom used little pastina growing up and that's how we enjoyed it and even ate the greens because if it. The best part about the soup is that towards the end of it's cooking time some eggs and cheese get whisked into the broth making this beautiful color and taste that is out of this world!
I've had this soup on my Foodie To Do list for a long time thinking about how I'd lighten it up and wondering about cooking time, as well as the worrying if the family would like it. After the prep of making the meatballs and chopping the kale, the soup literally was done in 15 minutes! My daughter is not really a fan of kale either so this was a big step to have her eat this for dinner.
Lesson Learned: Even if you think your family wouldn't like something sometimes just saying, it's this for dinner or nothing, you'd be surprised !! They might as well surprise themselves to having to try something new or maybe even change their opinion of something they've already tried. 🙂
When writing up this recipe I was originally just going to leave out any form of pasta, but after being reminded of the huge box of quinoa staring at me in my pantry closet, I decided to give it a go. If you're unfamiliar with quinoa it's a gluten free type of grain but more a seed and has a good amount of protein it. It's wonderful in salads as well! Surprisingly my hubby and children who are not fans of quinoa if they know they are eating it, all loved and ate this soup up, even having seconds!
In order to lighten up the meatballs I chose a combination of ground turkey and sausage. Ground turkey can tend to be quite bland, but adding some sausage to the mix made these meatballs outstanding in flavor.
Using my own homemade broth makes this also a low sodium soup! This recipe makes a huge amount of soup so you'll make this once and enjoy it twice or three times!
I loved how the quinoa absorbed so perfectly in the broth making it have more substance. Just like pastina I remember as a kid, only better for you!
- I used fresh basil in the meatballs, but you could sub Italian flat leaf parsley. The basil is nice and sweet and gave it great flavor.
- If you eliminate the quinoa you can reduce the water amount in the soup by 2 cups.
- You could sub the kale with anther green of choice, perhaps escarole.
- The recipe for my low sodium broth is used here within the nutrition info which I input at myfooddiary.com.
- There was 20 cups of soup here so with the 40 meatballs I made a 1 cup serving is with 3 meatballs. Since many of us don't eat just one cup of soup I think the proper serving for a dinner like this is 2 cups which has 6 meatballs in it. If you eliminate the quinoa your nutrition info will be reduced to this per serving for 2 cups:
- Calories: 219* Fat: 11.1g Sat Fat: 3.4g Cholesterol: 114mg Sodium: 964mg Carbs: 10g Fiber: 1.8g Sugars: .5g Protein 20.8g Weight Watchers Pointeaspoonlus: 6*
Lightened Up Italian Wedding Soup with Quinoa
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup grated onion
- 1 egg
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup gluten free bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- 8 ounces ground turkey
- 16 ounces Italian Turkey Sausage casings removed
- 10 cups low sodium broth
- 4 cups water
- 8 cups chopped kale stems removed
- 1 cup dry uncooked quinoa
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together for the meatballs except the meat, until nicely combined.
- Add in the meat and work into the mixture until just combined.
- Make about 40, 1 inch meatballs and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven, pour the chicken broth, water, kale and quinoa.
- Bring to a boil and add the meatballs.
- Cover and reduce to a low simmer for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk the eggs and grated parmesan then slowly whisk it into the soup as you pour it in.