Skinny Italian Wedding Soup

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Italian Wedding Soup is a soup with a lot of fans. It was a  big hit at my house!  Traditionally made with added pasta, I’ve swapped the pasta for fiber rich beans. It’s the perfect marriage of flavors and texture in each spoonful. Interestingly enough the term “wedding” was a mistake in translation of sorts. It was in reference to the flavors blending well, not that it was served at weddings. Each main course serving has just 202 calories, 3 grams of fat and 4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  Once you taste this, I bet you’ll be thinking, can’t wait for the leftovers!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients for Meatballs:

½ pound extra lean ground beef or turkey, see healthy benefits

¼ cup Panko crumbs or bread crumbs

½ cup onion, shredded or minced (about 1 small onion)

1 egg, I like Egg-land’s Best, see healthy benefits

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ teaspoon salt


Ingredients for Soup:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup onions, minced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

10 cups Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth or your favorite

½ cup white wine

1 teaspoon dry Italian seasonings

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans) rinsed and drained, see shopping tip

6 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Ingredients for Topping: Optional

8 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil. If using foil, coat with cooking spray.

2. To make the meatballs: Place beef, onions, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½  teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, small scoop or melon baller, shape into 1-inch meatballs and drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. They don’t have to be perfectly round. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

3. In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, wine, Italian seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes.  Add the beans and meatballs. Simmer for 2 minutes.  Stir in spinach and cook for about 1 minute, until spinach is wilted.  Add a little more black pepper, if desired, to taste.

4. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

5. This soup freezes great!

Serves 8 main course servings (1½ cups each)


Food Fact

The history of this Italian recipe originated in Spain where the heavier version contains more meats. It wasn’t until pasta became more affordable that it was added to Italian Wedding Soup. It’s popular in the United States, especially Youngstown, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it’s a staple in many local restaurants.


Healthy Benefits

Egg-Land Best eggs are better for you than regular eggs. They contain more vitamin E, 100 mg of Omega 3 and 25% less saturated fat than regular eggs. You’ll find them in most supermarkets.

Extra lean ground beef is a terrific, healthy choice. I used Trader Joe’s 96/4. It has 130 calories and 4 grams of fat for 4 ounces. Most supermarkets sell extra lean ground beef.


Shopping Tip

Cannellini beans are white Italian kidney beans. If you can’t find them you can use either great northern beans or navy beans.


Prep Tip

The meatballs can be prepped in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Or, they can also be baked in advanced and added to the soup the next day, if desired.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints 4
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 5

SKINNY FACTS: for 1½ cup serving (w/out cheese topping)
202 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 18g protein, 28g carbs, 9g fiber, 945mg sodium, 5g sugar
FACTS: for SmartPoints
173 calories, 1g sat. fat, 16g protein, 4g sugar