Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

Story by Natalie
Healthy Italian Wedding Soup
Tap any image to pin it.

Winner Winner Meatballs for Dinner

Guys, this recipe. I think we may have struck genius level with this gem. How often is healthy food so comforting and so delicious that you can’t say no to seconds and thirds? Better yet, when a spin on a classic tastes every bit as good, maybe even better than it’s not-so-healthy original? That pretty much sums up my feelings about this Whole30 approved riff on Italian Wedding Soup. “How can it be so good?” you ask. It’s all in those meatballs.

...the amount of flavor you can pack into one perfect little bite is unparalleled with meatballs.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again...I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t like (which explains why The Modern Proper makes them so often). They may just be my favorite food group. Here’s a look at some favorites from the past:

More Meatball Recipes

Shakshuka Meatballs

Turkey Curry Meatballs

Italian Grandma Style Meatballs

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

So what’s the cause of my meatball obsession? Maybe it started with Ikea meatballs or something (you all know you can’t say no to them), who knows? One thing is certain though: the amount of flavor you can pack into one perfect little bite is unparalleled with meatballs. In the case of the meatballs in this Italian Wedding Soup we packed flavor and nutrition and the results are ridiculously good.

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

How do you make meatballs without breadcrumbs?

Seriously glad you asked, because this was our first question when we were recipe testing. If you know Holly and I you know that we are super scientific recipe testers (NOT). Our trial went something like this…”what if you just formed a ball and dropped it in the broth instead of browning it first?” Guess what guys, it worked. Bonus: you get to skip a step and a few messy dishes. Another bonus: these meatballs (that are packed with shredded carrots, loads of garlic, fresh herbs and fennel) when poached in the broth add SO MUCH flavor to the enture dish.

At this point you might be sold on the meatballs, but you’re probably asking “where’s the orzo come in?” Well, sorry to say, but that teeny-tiny pasta didn’t make the cut in our version of Italian Wedding Soup. We are going for healthy here folks, and decided to go all in. So, instead we dropped in a couple handfuls of cauliflower rice (the most famous carb replacement in the health community) to finish the dish off. And guess what? We didn’t miss the pasta at all. In fact, I dare say it’s even better.

We didn’t stop there though. We finished off this already  hearty dish with our favorite green, kale. Kale holds its firmness beautifully in a bowl of brothy goodness making it the perfect addition to any soup. And there you have it folks: the ultimate healthy and equally delicious one-pot dinner.

So, if you’re wondering is Italian Wedding Soup good for me? Make it The Modern Proper way and you can confidently answer YES!

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

Serves 6


16 oz pork, ground
16 oz chicken, ground
1/2 cup carrots, grated
1/2 small onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper


12 cups chicken stock
1 bunch Italian kale, roughly chopped
parmesan cheese, optional


  1. In a large bowl use your hands to combine all ingredients for meatballs and set aside. If using your hands isn’t your thing, using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment is a great option. 
  2. In a large pot bring chicken stock to a boil. Use your hands to form golf ball sized meatballs and drop into the boiling broth on at a time. Due to the lack of breadcrumbs, they meatballs will be slightly messy, it’s ok. 
  3. Once all meatballs are added to the broth reduce to a simmer and allow soup to cook for 20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking process add the kale. After the cooking time is up test meatballs for doneness, once done add the cauliflower rice to the soup. Serve warm topped with optional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.