After a big holiday like Thanksgiving, I find soup is a great, easy way to put leftovers to use that might otherwise go to waste. And let’s face it—I love a day or two of turkey and sides, but after that, I’d prefer something different, like my Turkey Vegetable Soup! 🙂
Made with a rich tomato broth that’s full of vegetables, this hearty soup is amazing. And honestly, it really doesn’t take much time to pull together.
Also, feel free to adjust it to your tastes or what you have on hand. Soup is a great dish to experiment with, so don’t feel trapped by the recipe. If you’ve got some extra green beans or cabbage, throw it in. And if you don’t like mushrooms, don’t add them and increase the other veggies instead.
Finally, I think you’ll love this soup so much that you’ll want it more often than just after Thanksgiving. Does that mean you need to cook up a turkey? No, just use leftover chicken instead. The flavor will be a little bit different, but it’s still seriously delicious!
Of course, I’d love to hear how you cook up variations of this soup, or your favorite way to make use of turkey leftovers. Just share them in the comments below. And if you haven’t checked out my recipe for Turkey a la King, please try it! It’s another one of our family’s post turkey day favorites!
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2-3 carrots, sliced (about 2 cups)
- 4 celery stalks, sliced (about 1½ cups)
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (3+ cups)
- 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 cups turkey or chicken broth
- ¾ cups whole grain barley or brown rice, rinsed (see notes)
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- 4 cups turkey meat, cooked, chopped, boneless
- 1-2 tablespoons cooking sherry
- ¾ cup cream, milk, or your dairy-free milk of choice
- In a 6 or 8 quart pot, heat oil. Add onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook until softened and onions become translucent. Add tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 more minutes then add stock and rinsed barley/brown rice into the pot. When soup comes to a boil, turn it down to simmer. Cook uncovered for about 1 hour or until barley/rice is tender.
- Add turkey, lemon juice/vinegar, sherry (optional), and milk/cream (optional). Continue to simmer until the soup and turkey are heated through. Serve and enjoy!
If using barley, we recommend choosing hulled (also called dehulled) and hulless barley since both are whole grains. Pearled barley is not a whole grain since it has been "polished" or "pearled" to remove some or all of the outer bran layer along with the hull. Most barley is supermarkets and grocery stores are of the pearled variety. If you can't find hulled/dehulled/hulless barley, don't fret. Although technically a refined grain, pearled barley typically (especially if it's more tan in color) retains some of the hull and the fiber content of barley is spread more throughout the kernel than in other grains.
If you're not a mushroom fan, swap them out for 2 cups of green beans or increase the other vegetables by 50%.
If you're interested in making your own turkey broth, check out my recipe for chicken broth and substitute turkey. It's not hard at all, and it tastes delicious!
If you prefer a creamy version of this soup, try adding some milk, cream, or your preferred dairy-free choice.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- A great kitchen ladle is a must for any soup or chili recipe. I recently realized the ladle I had been using was old and plastic … which got me wondering what sort of plastic it was made of and then thinking there might be BPA in it. So I decided it was time to replace the old one with something that I didn’t have to worry about, like this stainless steel ladle from ChefLand.
- A non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the vegetables for your soup. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards over a year ago, and I’ve been really pleased with them.
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!