Italian Wedding Soup (with dairy-free, gluten-free options)

by brittany on November 6, 2012

I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am, specifically in regards to Gretta.  We adopted our Boston Terrier / Boxer mix a little over two years ago, and recently a volunteer from her rescue group emailed to check in on our little family.  When I sent a reply, the typing of the email prompted me to contemplate our good fortune and to recall our shared experiences in the past couple of years.

We’ve done so much together.  We hike, and Gretta’s my kind of hiker–she gets cranky after about six miles, so she starts pulling toward the car.  We visit my parents and their greyhounds, we take weekend mini-vacations in Long Beach, and we camped for the first time this past summer.  Gretta slept like a champ, and we learned that she will happily sleep through the night anywhere as long as she’s zipped in a sleeping bag between us.

I’m most grateful, though, for this.  This photo illustrates exactly what Gretta is doing right now, and what she does whenever I’m working in our office.  She’s curled up on her office bed, occasionally getting up to say hello or give warning barks to the menacing UPS truck.  We are so happy to have Gretta’s day-to-day companionship.

Gretta is a top-notch snuggler, she excels at movie night, and she makes sleeping-in an art form.  She drives us crazy by yanking the leash after cats and squirrels, she occasionally terrorizes dinnertime by racing in figure-8s through our living and dining rooms, and she violently hurls her toys against the wall.

One of Gretta’s favorite errands is walking to Laurelhurst Market to pick up meat because the butchers often sneak us a handful of ground beef for the pup.

On our last stop at the butcher’s, we bought ground beef for the humans, too.  Our CSA delivered escarole and I decided to make Italian wedding soup.  This is about as warming and comforting as you can get.  I’m a little biased because I love brothy soups and am not as fond of those containing noodles.  This one is mostly vegetables with just enough meatballs to give it flavor.  Make it for a casual soup supper with friends, as we did, or freeze some leftovers to make your future self happy.  Oh, and share a meatball with your pup.

Italian Wedding Soup  (adapted from thekitchn)

Note:  for a dairy-free soup, leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano.  Or, omit it from the meatballs and don’t add it with the egg, then let guests top their soup with the cheese if they like.


1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 cup bread crumbs (for gluten-free, pulverize potato chips or use gluten-free bread crumbs)

3 eggs

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 bunch of escarole, chopped–about 8 cups

2 teaspoons lemon juice.


Stir the ground beef, bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of the cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper until well combined.  Using your hands, shape the mixture into 3/4″ balls.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs and cook them, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove the meatballs and set them aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Sauté the onion until translucent, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté one more minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the escarole, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes.

Lightly beat the remaining eggs.  If you’re using the cheese, beat in the remaining cheese.  Slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup, stirring the soup constantly.  Let the soup cook just until the eggs are set.  Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kim Brown February 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Italian Wedding Soup


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