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Creating this Easy Italian Wedding Soup
We eat a lot of soup during soup season in our household! Soup usually contains a lot of sodium, which is why I chose to use MSG in this recipe. More on MSG a little later.
What is Italian Wedding Soup?
Italian Wedding Soup consists of green vegetables and a meat (usually meatballs or sausage). It’s quite popular in the United States but is it a staple in Italy.
Ingredients needed for wedding soup
For the meatballs:
- Ground pork
- Ground beef
- Fresh White Bread
- White onion
- Cheese (Pecorino Romano and Parmesan)
For the soup:
- Chicken broth
- White wine (optional)
- Greens (baby spinach, endive, kale)
- Olive oil
- Yellow Onion
- Orzo or Acini di Pepe
So, what is MSG anyways?
If you’re a MSG skeptic, keep reading.
MSG stands for monosodium glutamate. It’s a seasoning and ingredient that is the purest form of umami. MSG combines sodium (like that in table salt) with glutamate, which is the most abundant amino acid in nature and one of 20 that make up protein! (Not so scary, right?)
Is MSG safe for me to consume?
YES, MSG is safe to consume. Over the past 30 years, scientists, regulatory agencies and public health organizations have verified MSG’s safety.
Why did MSG get a negative reputation?
It all started back in 1968 with a letter to the editor of a prestigious medical journal that described the author’s anecdotal account of generalized weakness, palpitations and numbness in the arms after eating at a Chinese restaurant.
He noted that any number of ingredients may have caused his symptoms – sodium, alcohol from the cooking wine, MSG. However, the letter spawned the idea that MSG may be associated with such symptoms, which was coined “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.”
And that’s how the bad rap of MSG began…
But let’s be clear. MSG is NOT an allergen!
Some people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, however reactions have not been consistently demonstrated in double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials.
To learn more about MSG safety you can visit this link here!
Why use MSG in cooking?
- For sodium reduction! One part MSG to two parts table salt gives foods a flavor boost while decreasing sodium by 25 percent, compared to salt!
- It brings out the deliciousness of food: it adds dimension to the flavors. In fact, just one half teaspoon can enhance the flavor of a pound of meat, or 4-6 servings of vegetables, casseroles or soup all while decreasing the need for salt.
- Some studies have shown that it is possible to maintain food palatability with a lowered overall sodium level in a food when MSG is substituted for some of the salt.
- Palatability of plant-based foods: MSG can be used to build savory, rounded flavors that enhance plant-based dishes.
- Because it’s safe to consume!
Want to learn more about MSG?
Follow @WhyUseMSG for additional information
How to make Italian Wedding Soup
Wedding soup is actually really easy to make. This soup may look complex or complicated, but trust me it’s a soup anyone can make. Promise!
My favorite combination for the meatballs is ground pork and ground beef but you can use ground chicken or chicken sausage if desired.
Step 1: Prepare the meatballs. Recipe will make ~35 small meatballs.
Step 2: Cook onions and carrots in olive oil until onions are translucent. Then add in garlic, sage, parsley and stir for 1 minute. Add in broth and white wine. Bring to a boil and the reduce the heat to simmer or until carrots are soft.
Step 3: Add in orzo and MSG and cook for ~6 minutes. Then add in meatballs. Once they float to the top they will most likely be done.
Step 4: Stir in the greens ( I used baby spinach) and finish with Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano and serve.
Can I make Italian Wedding Soup in the Slow Cooker?
Yes! (One of my favorite ways when I have errands to run!)
In a slow cooker, add in the broth, wine, onions, carrots, sage, parsley, MSG and garlic. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Make your meatballs and cook them in the oven at 400° F for 15 minutes or until no longer pink. Blot them with paper towels and then add into the soup.
Once you are about 20 minutes out from eating dinner, add in the pasta and greens. Serve warm!
What to eat with Italian Wedding Soup?
- Salad or bread are some of our favorites to enjoy with wedding soup.
This Italian Wedding Soup is…
- Full of flavor but low in sodium thanks to MSG
- A family favorite recipe
- Comforting and easy weeknight meal
- Can be made in the slow cooker/crockpot
- Perfect for soup season
- Can be prepped in advance (making meatballs, chopping vegetables, etc.)
More soup recipes you’ll love
Easy Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
- Large stockpot
- Chef's Knife
- cutting board
For the meatballs:
- 8 oz. pork, ground
- 8 oz. beef, ground
- 2 slices fresh white bread, crust trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
- 1 medium white onion, grated or finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1/2 tsp. MSG*
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire (or can use milk)
For the soup:
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped (yellow or white)
- 3 large carrots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. sage
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. MSG
- 2 cups Orzo, dry*
- 8 cups greens (baby spinach, endive, kale, escarole)
- Prepare the meatballs by mixing everything but the meat in a large bowl first. Once those ingredients are combined, then add in the meat. Roll mixture into small meatballs and place on a baking sheet while you prepare the soup. Recipe will make ~35 small meatballs.
- Cook onions and carrots over medium heat in a large stockpot in olive oil until onions are translucent. Then add in garlic and sage and stir for 1 minute. Add in broth, MSG and white wine. Bring to a boil and the reduce the heat to simmer or until carrots are soft.
- Add in orzo and MSG and cook for ~6 minutes. Then add in meatballs. Once they float to the top they will most likely be done. Be sure to check internal temperature with a meat thermometer (Beef and pork should reach 145°F).
- Stir in the greens (I used baby spinach) and finish with Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano and serve.
- Where to buy MSG? It can be purchased as Ac’cent in grocery stores nationwide!
- You can brown the meatballs in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat prior to adding in the soup if preferred. Don’t cook meatballs all the way though, since you will continue to cook them in the soup.
- You can also add 3 stalks celery to the soup when you saute the carrots and onions, and play around with using different greens such as kale or endive. Baby spinach remains my personal favorite.
- For the bread, using white bread is typically easiest but if you have a French loaf on hand you can grind into breadcrumbs that works well too.
- If you have leftovers, please note that the longer the soup sits, the more the broth will absorb into the pasta or noodles. Add more broth when eating leftovers.
- For the orzo, 2 cups will absorb a lot of the liquid if you have leftovers. You can opt to follow orzo package directions and cook on the side instead of directly in the soup.