Food Hacks

Italian Wedding Soup Better Than Olive Garden's

January 3rd, 2019

People who have slow cookers swear by their convenience and efficiency. There’s a lot to be said for being able to toss some ingredients in a pot and find it ready and waiting at the end of the day! And there is no end to the thousands of slow cooker recipes you can find.

One blogger, Vanessa Beatty, says she’s found the perfect slow cooker recipe. And she’s laying some pretty big claims: she says her recipe for Italian wedding soup rivals the famous one at Olive Garden.

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Cooking Classy Source: Cooking Classy

You might think wedding soup earned its name from being at weddings, but that’s actually not the case.

In fact, it has a lot more to do with holidays like Easter and Christmas than weddings. The name is a bit of a mistranslation. In the original Italian language, it’s much closer to “married soup” and actually refers to the “marriage” of meat and greens, which supposedly makes an entire meal in one bowl. It’s a delicious soup with lots of flavors, and it’s a favorite of people all around the world.

There are lots of recipes for Italian wedding soup, but most of them have the same basic ingredients: dark green vegetables like kale, escarole, or cabbage, meat (usually pork or beef), and broth. It started out as a leftover dish for Italian peasants before becoming popular with people of all classes. Now, it’s seen as a classic of Italian cuisine and a delicious soup for all occasions.

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Tablespoon Source: Tablespoon

In the United States, Italian immigrants worked their own version of wedding soup with some new ingredients.

In the new country, wedding soup was made with meatballs instead of meat scraps, fewer vegetables, and rice or pasta. This could be bulgur, orzo, or a number of other grains. The added meat and starch give the soup more oomph than its European counterpart, which tends to be heavier on the vegetables.

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Homemakers Habitat Source: Homemakers Habitat

Blogger Vanessa Beatty’s version has a new spin on the classic dish.

She claims it’s more delicious than what you can find at her favorite Italian restaurant, Olive Garden. That’s a big claim. Olive Garden fans would be happy to take her to task for it, especially those that live for the restaurant chain’s soup and salad deals. Thankfully, Beatty supplied her recipe, so if any of them have a slow cooker, they’re welcome to try it.

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Food Network Source: Food Network

“I love the fact that it’s made in the slow cooker,” says Beatty.

“That means that I can busy myself with other things while my favorite soup cooks. I really do love my slow cooker and use it quite often when my weekdays are filled with appointments and other tasks.”

Beatty’s wedding soup includes chicken, broth, white onions, carrots, bulgur, Italian herbs, garlic, parsley, and seasonings. It’s easy enough to make — just throw all the ingredients in and cook for four hours. Well, there are a couple more steps than that but overall, it’s easy to make.

“If you love Olive Garden or just any Italian wedding soup, I promise you’re going to adore this recipe,” says Beatty. “It will be a wonderful dinner idea for those cool autumn evenings or cold winter days.”

Here’s Beatty’s recipe:

1 ½ cup of cooked chicken, shredded

7 cups of chicken broth

½ large white onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

⅔ cup of bulgur, rinsed

1 tbsp. of dried Italian herbs

1 garlic clove, minced

Chopped fresh parsley for serving

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place all of the ingredients into your slow cooker.
  2. Cover with the chicken broth.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or until bulgur and vegetables get soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
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Food Network Source: Food Network

Of course, Beatty isn’t the only one claiming she has a copycat recipe for Olive Garden’s famous wedding soup.

A more complicated recipe entitled “Copycat Olive Garden Italian Wedding Soup” includes everything from nutmeg to pastina to beef and pork. Suffice it to say that although Olive Garden’s version has a big base of dedicated fans, those fans don’t always agree on how to mimic the famous recipe.

If you’re curious about the name-brand soup, of course, you can always visit an Olive Garden location. Unfortunately, their wedding soup isn’t available for order. But the restaurant does offer gallon soups for events in four other signature recipes: chicken and gnocchi, pasta e fagiole, minestrone, and zuppa toscana.

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Olive Garden Source: Olive Garden

The restaurant began in Orlando, Florida, in 1982, and has since become a favorite of Italian-American cuisine.

Nowadays, the chain has a huge variety of low-carb, vegetarian, and allergy-sensitive options. They also offer pickup for family meals, which has become increasingly popular in the age of home meal delivery services.

But many people also like to try to recreate their famous recipes at home, so it’s no surprise that you can find dozens of recipes online attempting to mimic Olive Garden menu items. Beatty’s version is special because it uses a slow cooker, allowing for minimal effort. You can concentrate on other things and return for a delicious dinner ready and waiting.

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Source: DIYnCrafts, The Spruce Eats, Recipe 4 Living, Olive Garden