This Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup recipe takes a classic Italian-American soup and adds a pack of protein. The cannellini beans add protein so you can use less meat in the recipe. And, by using store-bought meatballs and cooking the soup in an electric pressure cooker, this hearty soup can be prepared in a little over 30 minutes – perfect for a weeknight meal.
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What Is Italian Wedding Soup
I am not really sure how much “Italian” there is an Italian wedding soup. I love traditional Italian recipes, but also know that there is a lot of America in Italian recipes. I’ve written a book on regional Italian cuisine and I don’t know that this soup would be found in many places within the country.
Doing some research on the history, it appears to be a recipe from Naples, which might be the reason why it’s been so adopted in the US. Much of the early Italian American population came from southern Italy or Sicily.
Although Americans like to say this is a soup served at Italian weddings, it’s more likely that the Italian word that translates to marriage is more likely referring to a marriage of ingredients. In this case, the marriage of broth, leafy greens, and meat.
Check out some of our other Italian-inspired recipes:
Why Make Italian Wedding Soup In An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot was made for soup recipes. What could take hours on a stovetop is sped up to often take as little as 30 minutes. This is what makes Instant Pot recipes perfect for a weeknight meal. This recipe takes just about 30 minutes from start to finish.
We have the Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1. It has a six-quart capacity, which is more than enough to cook for two people or for a small group. There is also an 8-quart option for families. For this recipe, use the pressure cook function. In addition to the time set on the Instant Pot, it will take some time for the pressure cooker to build up the pressure, which does add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
Ingredients For Italian Wedding Soup
I use store-bought meatballs for this recipe. Of course, you can make your own. But, one of the reasons why I love using the Instant Pot for recipes is because it speeds things up. Making my own meatballs would just increase prep time.
Most grocery stores will have meatballs prepared in the meat section. You can also use frozen meatballs but defrost them ahead of time. You can also substitute chicken or turkey for the beef meatballs for this Italian soup.
If you prefer to make your own meatballs, check out this recipe for meatballs and mashed potatoes, but just skip the potatoes.
Other Ingredients For Italian Wedding Soup
The meatballs are cooked in a good douse of olive oil as well as onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. All of the vegetables should be diced or cut into bite-sized pieces.
The seasoning comes from dried oregano and dried basil. Or, if you have a generic Italian seasoning, use one teaspoon of the Italian seasoning instead of a half teaspoon of each of the oregano and basil. A touch of crushed red pepper will add a bit of heat. If you are sensitive to spice, then just skip it. Also, be sure to use salt and pepper to season the vegetables in the Instant Pot.
Adding a bay leaf is a great idea when making soup or stew because it tends to add an earthy flavor to the dish. Always remember how many bay leaves you add to a dish so that you can remove them before serving.
White beans, or cannellini beans, are one of the most versatile beans to cook with. I add them to so many recipes either as a replacement for meat or to cut back on the amount of meat. In this case, the recipe calls for only about a dozen small meatballs but the white beans stretch the recipe.
Pasta To Use For Italian Wedding Soup
The most traditional pasta shape to use for this soup is ditalini. You can find this small macaroni shape at most grocery stores and on Amazon here. Any small pasta or macaroni works though.
This recipe only calls for about a cup of dried pasta, though, so really using any small pasta you have left over in the pantry works fine.
All of these ingredients are cooked in the electric pressure cooker with chicken broth, although vegetable broth works fine too.
Finishing the Italian Wedding Soup
After the pressure cooking function is done, you need to finish the soup inside the Instant Pot. You can do this on the warm function or the sauté function. Here is where you add spinach or even kale, which adds extra fiber to this soup.
How To Make Instant Pot Italian Wedding Soup
Cooking The Meatballs
Turn the Instant Pot to the saute mode and add the olive oil. Once the olive oil warms add the meatballs, turning them periodically. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until they start to brown. They do not need to be cooked all the way through.
Turn the Instant Pot off by pressing the cancel button. Remove the meatballs from the Instant Pot and place them to the side. Use about a cup of chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pot to avoid sticking and a burn notice on the Instant Pot.
Preparing The Italian Wedding Soup
Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper and stir. Add the pasta and stir. Place the meatballs in the pot and add the remaining chicken broth. Add the white beans and the bay leaf. Close the Instant Pot and seal the lid. Pressure cook for 5 minutes.
Finishing The Soup In The Instant Pot
When the time is up use an oven mitt or towel to manually release the pressure. When the steam is released, carefully open the lid away from the face. Place the Instant Pot on the saute mode and stir in the spinach and cheese. Allow it to cook until the spinach wilts. Turn the Instant Pot off. Serve with crusty bread or garlic bread. You can also sprinkle the soup with grated parmesan cheese.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 12 small, bite-sized meatballs
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 medium-sized carrots, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup dried pasta (ditalini or small macaroni)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
- 2-3 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the olive oil. Once the olive oil warms add the meatballs, turning them periodically. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until they start to brown. They do not need to be cooked all the way through.
- Turn the Instant Pot off by pressing the cancel button. Remove the meatballs from the Instant Pot and use about a cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pot to avoid sticking and a burn notice on the Instant Pot.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper and stir. Add the pasta and stir.
- Place the meatballs in the pot and add the remaining chicken broth. Add the white beans and the bay leaf.
- Close the Instant Pot and seal the lid. Pressure cook for 5 minutes. When the time is up use an oven mitt or towel to manually release the pressure. When the steam is released, carefully open the lid away from the face.
- Place the Instant Pot on the saute mode and stir in the spinach and cheese. Allow it to cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Serve with crusty bread or garlic bread.
Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Total time includes 10 minutes of prep work, the time to cook the meatballs, and the time it takes for the pressure cooker to heat up. If you are unfamiliar with how to use a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, please follow the more detailed instructions above.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 1991mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 10gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.