Classic Italian soup is a favorite throughout the United States, and Italian Wedding Soup has increasingly gained popularity.

As temperatures continue to drop, soup is a healthful, budget-friendly meal. Just add a green salad and some whole-wheat toast, and you’ll have a hearty dinner.

While some believe this soup is meant for weddings, the dish actually got its name from the Italian phrase si sposono bene, which means two things are well married. Indeed, this soup’s unique marriage of flavors will have your taste buds celebrating.

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Turkey Italian Wedding Soup

Makes 14 servings

1/2 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 pound 93% lean ground sirloin
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, dried
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 cups low fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 pound whole-wheat pasta (miniature shells work best)
2 cups fresh spinach
4 cups fresh escarole, chopped

Combine meat, egg, 1/2 cup of cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix the ingredients well with your hands. Do not overmix. Form small meatballs, no larger than 1 inch in diameter.

Bring broth to a boil in a large pot, and then reduce to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the broth and cook until they are almost done, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size. Test them by removing one from the pot and cutting it open. Use a large spoon to scoop off any foam.

Add the pasta to the pot. Cook until pasta is tender, about 6 minutes. Add spinach and escarole, and cover for about 2 to 3 minutes, until greens are wilted.

Ladle into serving bowls and top each portion with a sprinkling of remaining cheese.

Per serving: 210 calories, 4 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 28 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 530 mg sodium.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research