Recipe Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Spelt


This lightened-up version of classic Italian wedding soup trades pork meatballs for turkey and orzo pasta for spelt, without losing any of the flavor and homey comfort of the dish. Spelt, with its chewy, al dente texture, adds extra heartiness, as well as important nutrients.

Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Spelt


  • 1 cup Spelt, rinsed
  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • 8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly scrambled
  • 1/2 cup chopped Parsley, divided
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 head escarole (root end removed, chopped)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add Spelt to 2-1/2 cups water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 90 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine turkey, sausage, bread crumbs, eggs, 1/4 cup of parsley, milk, cheeses, nutmeg, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well incorporated. Form meatballs roughly 1 inch in diameter, and set on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake meatballs for 12 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.
  5. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add stock, and season with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Add turkey meatballs, Spelt, remaining parsley and escarole, and cook just until escarole wilts, about 2 minutes. Check seasoning, and adjust to taste.
  7. Ladle into serving bowls, and serve topped with more parmesan cheese.

Makes 10 servings