This recipe for Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup is loaded with veggies and a healthy dose of flavor, yet cuts the carbs.  I can beat the afternoon energy crash if I stick to a mostly sugar-free and low-carb diet.  This soup recipe has been on fairly frequent rotation this winter because it’s easy to make, super filling and makes great leftovers.

italian meatball and fennel soup keto recipe

Bring on the Veggies

I  love fennel and use both the stalks and the fronds in this recipe.  The stalks get diced up and sautéed with the other aromatic vegetables.  The fronds make a fresh green garnish on top.  Don’t like fennel?  No worries!  You can easily substitute the fennel with diced celery to keep the added texture and bulk in the recipe.

The Meatballs

This is a weeknight recipe, so I keep it as simple as possible.  The meatballs are just ground beef, an egg, Italian seasonings, paprika and salt and pepper.  Like all other meatballs, the trick is to not over-work them.  Just mix until barely combined and then roll them.

keto italian meatball and fennel soup

The Game Changer

If you want to take this soup (or really any soup) to the next level, toss in a parmesan rind.  I am always hanging onto the rinds after I grate all of the cheese.  Keep them wrapped in plastic in the fridge until it’s time to make a soup.  The rind adds salt and that magical umami flavor profile that gives the final dish added richness.  If you don’t have a rind, just serve this topped with fresh grated parmesan.

keto italian meatball and fennel soup

The Greens

It’s important to add the spinach at the very end.  I kill the heat and then stir in the spinach.  This prevents it from becoming overcooked.  Spinach gets super stringy and sad in high temperatures.  The spinach should retain its vibrant green, bright flavor and deliver tons of nutrition when it’s properly cooked.

Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

keto italian meatball and fennel soup

Low Carb Italian Wedding Soup

  • Author: Joanie Simon
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 6 servings
  • Category: Soup


A low-carb version of Italian Wedding Soup loaded with fennel, spinach and savory meatballs.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you want spicy meatballs)
  • Small fennel bulb sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 parmesan rind or 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 2 cups baby spinach


  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Combine ground beef, salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, egg and red pepper flakes in a bowl and mix just until combined.
  • Take small pieces of meatball mix and roll into small balls (I go for a gumball size) and place on a baking sheet.
  • Once all meatballs are rolled, place the baking sheet in the oven at 400F for 8 minutes, then rotate and bake another 4 minutes to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  • In a soup pot, heat oil over medium high heat and once shimmering add in fennel, onion, red bell pepper, garlic and salt and sauté until vegetables are soft and fragrant.
  • Next, add the chicken broth to the vegetables and the cooked meatballs and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add in the parmesan rind and cover, simmering at least 10 minutes to infuse flavors.
  • Before you’re ready to serve the soup, turn the heat off and add the fresh spinach and stir until it is wilted.
  • Serve hot topped with grated parmesan cheese.