Sunday, January 20, 2013

Recipe! Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

I really love soup.  I make a big pot of soup almost every week.  It's so easy to whip up a lot and eat it throughout the week.  Making either big batches of soup or casseroles make it really easy for me to stay on track throughout the week, too.  When I come home tired from work, I just want to be able to heat up something quick instead of making something.

This is my own take on Italian Wedding Soup.  Traditionally, the soup is a clear broth with green vegetables (spinach, kale, cabbage, escarole), meat (usually meatballs, occasionally sausage), and pasta (usually orzo or acini). 

My soup is very similar.  I used spinach for the greens and made my own turkey meatballs.  I considered omitting the pasta entirely, since I'm watching my carbs, but since I'm not cutting them out completely, just being careful, I added in whole wheat shells.  I like the traditional shapes more, but I've never seen whole wheat acini or orzo in my stores.  The recipe isn't very difficult, but it is slightly time consuming.  Still, I think it's worth it.

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup


1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 head chopped garlic
1/2 cup thawed frozen spinach
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 onion, diced small
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

3 boxes chicken stock
2 carrots, diced small
1 onion, medium dice
1 container sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 1/2 box thawed frozen spinach
2 cups dry whole wheat pasta shells
1/2 head chopped garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Ok!  Let's start!

First, pop the skins off the garlic.

I know, a whole head of garlic is a lot to chop--it's totally worth it.
Now chop up that garlic!

Set aside the garlic and start on the onion.

I used two onions, because these were on the small side.  You could probably use just one onion if it were pretty large.  Chop up one of the onions with a medium dice and the other onion with a small dice.  Set aside for the moment.

In a bowl, place the ground turkey.

To this mixture, add in the small-diced onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and spinach.  For the spinach, make sure you squeeze out as much of the water as possible.

Using your hands, mix up the contents of the bowl until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Heat a pan over medium heat and spray it lightly with cooking spray.  Using either a spoon or a small cookie scoop, place small balls of the mixture into the pan.

Once the one sides are browned, turn them over and brown them on the other side.  They are a little delicate, so I find it easier to use chopsticks so they don't break apart.

While these are cooking, it's a good time to start the soup.  Heat some oil in a large soup pot.

Add in the onions and garlic, and cook for a few minutes.

Add-in the chicken stock, cover, and bring to a boil.  In the meantime, chop up the carrots.

Once the soup is at a boil, turn down the heat to medium and add in the chopped carrots.

Cover again, and let it simmer.  At this point, put on a small pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Once all your meatballs are cooked, transfer them to a plate and use the same pan to cook the mushrooms.  Put a small amount of olive oil in the pan and toss in the mushrooms.

I find the best way to get a nice brown color on the mushrooms is to simply leave them alone.  I toss them only a few times while they're cooking. 

While the mushrooms are browning, add the pasta to the boiling pot of water you put on earlier.

Here's some pictures of the mushrooms as they brown.

See?  Nice and brown!  If the carrots are tender, go ahead and toss the mushrooms into the pot.  When the pasta is nearly done, drain the water and add it to the pot as well.  Squeeze out the water from the rest of the spinach and add it to the soup.

Slowly add in the meatballs into the soup and voila!  The soup is done!

You can sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top when serving.  Enjoy!

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