For many of us, the holiday season is typically full of bustling activity and a veering away from our usual routines. We frequently indulge in too much food and drink, and we feel added pressure to attend social and family functions. Our sleep patterns sway, and we experience even more stress as we strain ourselves to spend beyond our limits.
Now that January has arrived, I trust (I hope!) that our collective holiday hangover is finally waning, and most of us are easing back into a more predictable and familiar routine.
During the weeks from mid-November to the start of the new year, I experience many of the added responsibilities that are common to most families. But on top of that, the holidays are also one of the busiest times I see all year long in my role as a personal chef. At a time when nature is encouraging us to rest and take care of ourselves, I frequently find myself doing just the opposite. This year, I made a promise to avoid any extra catering gigs outside of caring for my regular clients. I can happily report that this is an exercise I plan to enforce in the future as I felt more relaxed and focused throughout the season. Even though the holidays still took a toll on my system, affecting both my sleep and dietary regimen, I gratefully didn’t need to sleep for a week to recover once it was all over.
I can only handle so many days of sporadic sleep and disrupted eating routines. Come January, I’m always more than ready to embrace my old habits and get back to my health. One of the most nourishing ways I can do that is to load my body up with simple, broth-based soups that are full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from protein, healing collagen, and dark leafy greens. They’re easy to digest, and they make a lovely transition away from the heavier foods we indulge in over the season.
Something about simple, broth-based soups such as this one have held a special place in my heart ever since I was a child. Of course, back then I wasn’t all that aware of my wellbeing, but on some level I knew these simple soups were magic. They’ve always imbued me with a sense of home, security, and comfort.
And this Italian Wedding Soup is about as real as it gets: quick and uncomplicated, hearty but not heavy, and heavenly delicious. Like, I could eat an entire quart in one sitting.
With only a handful of economical ingredients and minimal prep time, this soup is a cost-effective and efficient way to get a tasty bowl of nutrition in under an hour.
There’s no need to wait for a wedding—or any other special occasion—to enjoy this soup. In fact, I consider the occasion of getting back to self-care as a special occasion in itself. So there’s that!
Here’s to a prosperous and vibrant New Year, full of health, happiness, and delicious food.
Italian Wedding Soup
This recipes makes quite a few meatballs. I ultimately use all of them in the soup (except for the meatballs I can’t stop eating before actually adding them to the broth). Should you have lots of extra meatballs on your hands, you can store the extras in the fridge or freezer for use in a different dish.
Prep time: 15–20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, pureed in food processor, or grated
½ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup ground almonds or fresh breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1¼ cups grated Parmesan cheese
For the soup:
3 quarts homemade chicken stock, or quality store-bought
1½ lbs. baby spinach, escarole, curly endive, roughly chopped
3 eggs, beaten
Freshly shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
- Prepare meatballs: Arrange oven racks on upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 400° Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands, thoroughly combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl until well-mixed. Shape into small balls, about 2 tablespoons apiece. Place on prepared baking sheets. Bake until just cooked through, about 15–20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare soup: Bring chicken stock to a gentle simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings for a nice, flavorful broth. Add meatballs and greens to soup. Simmer until wilted and heated through, about 2–3 minutes. Ladle some hot broth into the beaten eggs, then whisk to combine. Slowly add egg mixture back into soup, stirring constantly. Gently cook for a minute or two, until broth slightly thickens.
- Serve piping hot with lots of cracked pepper and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Image from Briana Goodall.