Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Cauliflower Rice

a white bowl filled with Italian wedding soup, broth, 3 turkey meatballs and wilted kale, with a pile of spoons and a small bowl of parmesan in the background

5 from 1 reviews

Adapted from a recipe in New York Times Cooking

A flavorful satisfying soup, brimming with meatballs and dark leafy greens. Substantial enough for dinner.



For the Soup:

  • 10 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes or crushed red pepper flakes

For The Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (see notes below)
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated good quality parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 3 cups (12 oz) riced cauliflower, store-bought or homemade (see notes below for how to make riced cauliflower)
  • 7-8 packed cups greens (10 ounces): baby kale, spinach or curly kale with the thick stems removed
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, slivered, optional topping


  1. Combine the chicken broth, 2 tablespoons oil, dried basil, onion powder, garlic powder and chili flakes in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer.
  2. Set an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and heat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly oil it. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Mix with hands until just combined. The mixture will be too loose to roll. Form the meatballs by gently squeezing and tossing the mixture from hand to hand. Place meatballs on prepared pan and broil for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes  12 medium (2-inch) or 20 small (1 1/2-inch) meatballs.
  3. Add the meatballs to the broth along with the cauliflower and simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are heated through and the cauliflower is tender.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the greens and lemon zest, and stir to wilt the greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide the soup among bowls. Drizzle each with a little olive oil, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top. Scatter slivered basil over the top, if using.


Tip for rolling the meatballs: If you have trouble forming the meatballs, put the mixture into the fridge for 20-30 minutes, to firm it up and make it easier to handle.

How to grate the zucchini: Hold the zucchini by the stem end and grate it on a box grater or hand-held cheese grater. Or you can use the shredding blade of a food processor.

How to make riced cauliflower: A 1-pound cauliflower should yield 3-4 cups of cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower into 4 or 5 chunks so that you can easily hold them in your hand. Shred them using a box grater or the shredding blade of your food processor. You can also pulse the cauliflower with the chopping blade of your food processor, but take care not to over process.

Keywords: meatball soup, gluten-free Italian wedding soup, wedding soup with turkey meatballs