Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

by | Feb 14, 2019 | All, Soups + Salads

Fight the cold weather with a bowl of this simple, flavorful Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup!

Two bowls of Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup recipe garnished with baguette sliced and grated Parmesan cheese.

It’s February in Minnesota which can only mean one thing: it’s freezing.

Fortunately I’ve lived here long enough to know that the best way to fight the cold is to bring the heat – or hot soup, in this case. And this Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup simmers into soul-warming perfection all day long with no more than 10 minutes of effort on my end.

Homemade soup can feel intimidating. But this Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup ups the ante with minimal prep time and hands-free cooking in the slow cooker – two attributes that make it hard to resist.

I guarantee that if you like chicken noodle soup, you’re going to love this recipe.

What is Italian Wedding Soup? Where does it get its name?

My friends at Wikipedia tell me that Italian Wedding Soup is actually the result of a mistranslated Italian language phrase for “married soup”, which refers to the fact that green veggies and meats go well together.

I can’t speak to the validity of the translation, but I’ll definitely attest to its goodness!

One bowl of Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup garnished with bay leaves, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and baguette slices.

How to make Italian Wedding Soup in the slow cooker

No need to stand for hours by the stove to make homemade soup. This slow cooker version makes quick work of putting steaming bowls of delicious soup on the table with minimal effort.

And I do mean minimal when describing the effort involved here. Dump the first 10 ingredients in the slow cooker and let them simmer away all day. All that’s left to do is add the pasta and spinach about a half hour before serving.

I always serve this soup with a generous topping of salty Parmesan cheese and warm baguette slices, but both of these are completely optional.

What kind of pasta do I use in Italian Wedding Soup?

This recipe calls for Israeli (or pearl) couscous because it’s easy for me to find at the grocery store. You can also substitute in acini de pepe, ditalini or any other small pasta you have on hand.

Can you freeze Italian Wedding Soup?

You can easily freeze this soup! Most soups freeze very well, and this Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup is no exception.

I like to portion my soup individually before I freeze it to make it convenient for me to pull out just the amount I need. Remember when you freeze liquids they will expand when frozen, so leave a bit of head room at the top of your container to allow for that expansion.

For best flavor, plan to use this soup within four months of freezing it.

Tip: I found these adorable mini-meatballs in the frozen section at Target. I think they are aimed at little kids, but their small size is perfect in this soup. No worries if you can’t find them. Regular-sized frozen meatballs work just as well.

Stay toasty all month long with a variety of slow cooker soups!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup – Garnish with Lemon®

Slow Cooker Hamburger Minestrone – From Valerie’s Kitchen

Slow Cooker Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup – Garnish with Lemon®

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Kale Soup with Sweet Potatoes – Aggie’s Kitchen

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – Garnish with Lemon®

 

Collage picture of Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

Yield: 8 servings

Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

Take the chill off winter with this Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup recipe. A warm, hearty meal doesn’t get much easier than this!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mini meatballs
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Israeli or pearl couscous (or other small pasta)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  1. Place first 10 ingredients (meatballs through chicken broth) in a large slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breast from slow cooker and shred meat. Return chicken to slow cooker and add spinach and couscous. Cook for another 30-45 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Serve warm and top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 1194mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 16g

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34 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I SO cold here too here in the UK! So I definitely need to try this soup, it sounds so comforting and warming! Love the flavours!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks, Jess! Hope you warm up soon!

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    I adore this soup! How interesting about that name. 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar

      A quirky name for tasty soup. Works for me!

      Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks for the pin, Jeanette!

      Reply
    • Avatar

      Totally acceptable, Heather. 😉

      Reply
  3. Avatar

    What a great recipe. Being Italian I always thought this was called Italian wedding soup because it was the only soup served at Italian weddings when I was growing up.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’m glad we don’t have to limit the goodness to just weddings, Linda!

      Reply
  4. Avatar

    This looks so great! I love Italian Wedding Soup. I have not made it in awhile, and need to change that

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Definitely, Miranda!

      Reply
  5. Avatar

    Totally agree: put “soup” and “slow cooker” in the same sentence and I’m all in, too.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Makes life so much easier, doesn’t it? Thanks, Jameson!

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    This is absolutely one of my favorite soups! I love that you added couscous and made it in the slow cooker!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Why, thank you, Marye!

      Reply
  7. Avatar

    I love that you added both meatballs and chicken to the soup! I made a pot this weekend and think I’ll do a redo with your recipe 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Hope you enjoy it, Katie!

      Reply
  8. Avatar

    We’re cold here in the Chicago area too! Love soups in January. Italian Wedding Soup is one of my favorites and I can’t wait to try it in the slow cooker. YUM!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Should warm you right up, Christine!

      Reply
  9. Avatar

    I love Italian Wedding Soup–the idea of doing it in a slow cooker is great!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Yay for slow cooker love!

      Reply
  10. Avatar

    Ughhhh we’re in the midst of FREEZING cold as well, it’s awful. The only thing that’s keeping me warm is hot oatmeal in the morning, fires and lots and lots of soup. This is the perfect warm-me-from-the-inside soup — I NEED this!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      I’ll save you a bowl, Nicole. 😉

      Reply
  11. Avatar

    We are having the same arctic weather here. Bring on the hot comforting soup. This one sounds amazing and I know my kids would gobble it up!!! I’m all for cheating and using ready made meatballs 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar

      It’s not cheating, Jocelyn; it’s merely managing your time effectively. 😉

      Reply
  12. Avatar

    I love soup. I love this kind of soup. The slow cooker is my friend! Great recipe.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks, Carol! We loooooove our slow cooker, too. Especially when it cranks out some tasty soup!

      Reply
  13. Avatar

    This reminds me of Christmas dinner! We have it every year! Def my fav soup! Looks delish!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Love that it reminds you of a special time!

      Reply
  14. Avatar

    Making it today. I usually make Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding soup, but love that this can go in the slow cookies. Looking forward to dinner tonight 🙂

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Yay! Hope the family loves it as much as mine does!

      Reply
  15. Avatar

    Have you ever made this soup with turkey meatballs instead of beef, for those that don’t eat red meat?

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Hi Kathy, I have not made this soup with turkey meatballs, but I have no doubt that substitution would work beautifully. Enjoy!

      Reply

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