When you're craving classic Italian Wedding Soup but don't have the bandwidth to make homemade stock or all those tiny little meatballs, try Vegas Quickie Wedding Soup instead! Fast, easy, and ready in just 30 minutes!
Everyone in our family loves homemade Wedding Soup, to the point that we probably have it for dinner more often than any other single soup I make. But sometimes I just don't have the time (or energy) to simmer up a batch of homemade stock and make all those little meatballs. That's when I make this fast, easy version: I call it Vegas Quickie Wedding Soup!
Vegas Wedding Soup vs Classic Italian
My classic Italian Wedding Soup takes about 2 hours to make, if I have the chicken stock made ahead of time. (I usually keep some in the freezer.) It's deep comfort food; savory, delicious, and totally worth the time and effort. [Recipe coming asap]
By contrast, this Vegas Quickie Wedding Soup takes barely 30 minutes to make, and most of that time is spent waiting for the pot to simmer. Admittedly, it's not quite as rich as the Classic version, but it's pretty close, and it gets a tasty, satisfying dinner on the table fast. This quick soup hits the spot, and my family rarely notices the difference.
What Goes into Quick & Easy Wedding Soup
The ingredients for Vegas Wedding Soup are almost the same as my Classic Italian recipe; but there are a few note-worthy differences, all selected to speed up prep.
- Chicken broth: For most of the homemade soups I make, I prefer to use a rich homemade chicken stock (i.e., bone broth). However, this recipe assumes the maker going to be using a boxed broth. If you want to use a heartier homemade broth for this soup recipe, go for it!
- Precooked sausage links: Sausage slices take the place of the meatballs found in the Classic version. We recommend using good-quality, well-seasoned Italian sausage links. (We often use Aidells brand Italian Style precooked chicken sausage.)
- Onion: Use a yellow or sweet onion.
- Carrots: Carrots should be peeled and coarsely grated. Avoid using "baby carrots". They are usually bland, and often bitter.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic.
- Brown sugar: Use light brown sugar.
- Kosher salt
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Tabasco: Totally optional, but it does give the soup a little kick.
- Acini de Pepe: This tiny, ball-shaped pasta is called acini de pepe, which loosely translates to "seeds of pepper" (i.e., peppercorns), so named for its size and shape.
- If you are Italian, you know this as the traditional pasta used in Wedding Soup. If you are from 20th century U.S., you know this as the traditional pasta used in Frog Eye Salad.
- Spinach: For fast prep, use frozen spinach. Defrost the spinach, then squeeze it vigorously to drain off as much water as possible.
- Cheese: Use grated Parmesan and/or Romano, Asiago.
- Lemon zest: Use a ½ teaspoon of lemon zest, or a teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Nutmeg: Any time you use spinach in a dish, use a little freshly grated nutmeg to deepen the flavor.
- Olive oil: Use a mild, light-flavored olive oil.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make Shortcut Wedding Soup
Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Add the sliced sausage and allow it to brown for about 5 minutes. Use a metal spatula to turn the sausage coins occasionally.
Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
To the same pan, add the other tablespoon of oil to the drippings in the pan. (Only add more oil if it is necessary. If there are a lot of pan drippings you may not need any more.)
Sauté the chopped onions over medium heat until they soften and begin to brown; about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, grated carrots, garlic, brown sugar, salt, basil, oregano, nutmeg, and (opt) Tabasco sauce.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Add acini de pepe, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender.
Add spinach, cheese, and lemon zest and return to a simmer over low heat. Add a little extra broth or water if the soup is thicker than you like.
Serve soup with crusty bread.
As with most soups, Vegas Wedding Soup is always better the next day, after the flavors have had time to mingle and marry.
- Chicken broth: If you have the time (or have some frozen, ready to use), a rich homemade chicken stock (i.e., bone broth) is the best choice for almost any soup, including this one.
- Precooked sausage links: You can use any cooked or uncooked Italian sausage. If you use uncooked sausage, be sure it is fully cooked before moving onto the onion-browning step.
- Garlic: You can substitute teaspoon of garlic powder for the garlic cloves.
- Acini de Pepe: You can substitute orzo (tiny, rice-shaped pasta) or pearl couscous. You may have to adjust the time it takes to cook the pasta.
- Spinach: You can sub in 1 pound of fresh, chopped spinach. Add it when you would add the frozen spinach. It will take up a ridiculous amount of space, but will take only a minute or two to cook down into the soup stock.
- Olive oil: Sub in canola oil, or any neutral cooking oil.
Classic Italian Wedding Soup: (recipe coming soon) This is the soup made with full-strength homemade chicken stock, tiny meatballs, and a some mystical kitchen wizardry.
When making this easy wedding soup recipe, an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is the perfect pan for the job. A Dutch oven allows you to sauté and simmer on the stovetop, and the enameled (i.e., glass) surface won't react to ingredients.
A good Dutch oven promotes even heating and has great heat retention, goes from stovetop to oven to table with ease, and is an invaluable addition to your kitchen.
Vegas Wedding Soup can be refrigerated for 3-5 days. It should be covered and stored in an airtight container.
You can also freeze this soup for up to 3 months. (Note: Pasta doesn't usually freeze well once it's been fully cooked; however, acini de pepe seems to do better than most when frozen.)
Searing the precooked sausage isn't absolutely necessary, but it does add another layer of flavor, which makes a notable difference.
Wedding Soup is actually a misnomer. This classic soup was actually inspired by an ancient Neapolitan soup called Minestra Maritata, which translates to “married soup." One of the hallmarks of Wedding Soup is that it always contains both meat and greens. The marriage in question is not between people, but between the flavors of the meats and greens in the soup.
More 30-Minute Recipes
Vegas Quickie Wedding Soup
- 1 metal spatula
- 1 pound precooked Italian sausage links Sliced in ⅛-¼" coins
- 1 large sweet onion chopped small
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8-10 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup coarsely shredded carrots (2-3 medium)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½-1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce optional
- ¾ cup acini de pepe
- 10 ounces frozen spinach defrost and squeezed to drain
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano, Asiago
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 dash freshly ground nutmeg
- Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Add the sliced sausage and allow it to brown for about 5 minutes. Use a metal spatula to turn the sausage coins occasionally. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the other tablespoon of oil to the drippings in the pan. (Only add more oil if it is necessary. If there are a lot of pan drippings you may not need any more.)Sauté the chopped onions over medium heat until they soften and begin to brown; about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, grated carrots, garlic, brown sugar, salt, basil, oregano, nutmeg, and (opt) Tabasco sauce.Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Add acini de pepe, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until pasta is tender.
- Add spinach, cheese, and lemon zest and return to a simmer over low heat. Add a little extra broth or water if the soup is thicker than you like.
- Serve with crusty bread.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat.
- Always wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
- Store food in suitable, covered containers.
- This soup recipe can be cooked to near boiling temperature (212°F).
- To refrigerate soup, cool to 70°F within two hours, and then down to 41°F (fridge temp) or below within the next four hours.