This easy Italian Wedding Orzo with Turkey Meatballs incorporates all of the classic flavors of Italian wedding soup, only minus the broth. It features orzo pasta, spinach, parmesan cheese, mini turkey meatballs, and added red peppers for a burst of color (and extra vegetables).
Hey, hey! How was everyone’s Thanksgiving weekend? This year my husband and I spent it with his side of the family in northern Connecticut, and it was full of catching up and good eats. I can’t be the only one who thinks turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce should see the light of day more than once per year. I told Andrew I’m going to whip up a similar spread for meal prep again soon because why not?!
We did a little bit of holiday shopping coming Friday – certainly NOT in stores (I can’t handle those crowds these days) but from the comfort of my own living room while wearing sherpa-lined slippers. Much more my speed, ha! I’m super pumped to receive a new lens for my DSLR camera (affiliate link), and we also snagged some new teas from David’s Tea and a few other gifts. If you missed it, check out my 2017 Gift Guide for Foodies – I put together quite a few gift ideas for the cook, baker, or food-lover in your life.
On Saturday, I ran some errands and then encountered an unexpected flat tire on my car – whomp whomp. It’s going in for service today, so hopefully I’ll be back up and running soon. Fortunately, we salvaged the night with a date night out complete with brick oven pizza and some Malbec wine for me. Sunday was a little more uneventful and totally relaxing. It involved my usual meal prep – and lucky for you, I have a pretty fantastic recipe coming your way today.
I’ve been seeing a bunch of recipes for Italian wedding soup on Pinterest, other blogs, etc. lately, but for whatever reason I haven’t really been on the soup train yet. I think it’s because the weather here in Connecticut has been dipping into the low 30s and then bouncing right back up into the 40s/50s. Soup would certainly do, but I just haven’t been craving it. You know?
Then a genius idea struck me: what if I took all of the ingredients from Italian wedding soup and mixed them together, only minus the broth? I set out to give it a try, and you guys, it turned out awesome! I allowed myself a few creative tweaks: orzo instead of acini de pepe (the tiny small dot-shaped pasta) and spinach in place of traditional escarole. The flavor is ALL there, though, and the garlic, onion, and parmesan flavors really shine through.
The mini turkey meatballs (so cute!) are baked in the oven and then tossed in with the orzo mixture to create a complete meal. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese on top and now we’re talking. Hope you enjoy!
- 1 pound orzo
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 16-ounce bag baby spinach
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1.5 cups red bell pepper, chopped (about 2 medium peppers)
- ⅛ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated parmesan-romano cheese
- 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons onion powder
- 2.5 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Boil the orzo pasta for approximately 9 minutes or according to package instructions, stirring frequently. Add the baby spinach to the pasta water near the end and stir until wilted.
- While orzo is cooking, saute ¼ cup of the red onion in a medium pan for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 clove of the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the red pepper and saute 3-4 minutes.
- Strain the orzo/spinach and return to the pot. Add the onion/red pepper/garlic mixture and mix in the olive oil, ¼ cup parmesan-romano cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, 1.5 teaspoons sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, almond flour, ¼ cup red onion, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup parmesan-romano cheese, ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and and red pepper flakes. Roll into ¾" to 1" mini meatballs and add to a silicone or foil-lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Add meatballs to the orzo mixture, stir to combine, and enjoy. Sprinkle with additional parmesan-romano cheese if desired.
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