Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup

This hearty, satisfying ground turkey soup is made with lean ground turkey, five kinds of vegetables, beans, and pasta in a tomato broth. Full of rich Mediterranean flavors from tomato, fennel, and basil, I could eat this soup all winter long.

Why This Recipe Works

This is one of my favorite vegetable soup recipes. Here's why it will become yours, too:

  • This recipe is fast (especially if you use a food processor to chop) and easy to make. You’ll have dinner on the table in less than an hour.
  • One of my favorite things about this soup is that it’s a filling and satisfying meal that can stand on its own. It’s high in protein from ground turkey and kidney beans and has lots of fiber and complex carbs from all of the vegetables, beans, and pasta.
  • Fresh fennel and fennel seeds are key ingredients, and they give this soup the most amazing flavor.
  • This recipe is flexible. You can add more or less of the ingredients depending on what you have on hand for vegetables, pasta, and beans.
  • Last but definitely not least, it freezes beautifully. This recipe makes about eight servings, so it’s enough to freeze half for a later meal.

Recipe Ingredients

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make this soup. I’ve listed a few substitutions and variations in the section below.

Be sure to check out the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients with measurements.

Ingredients needed to make ground turkey soup.

Ground turkey. Buy turkey breast for the leanest, highest-protein option. If your package doesn’t say “white meat” or “turkey breast,” it’s likely a mixture of dark meat and skin, which contributes more fat.

Fresh fennel. Fennel has a slight licorice scent and flavor, and it’s sometimes labeled as anise at the grocery store. You’ll only use the bulb (the bottom part), not the stems, so look for one with a large-sized, unblemished bulb.

Other vegetables. I use a mix of carrots, celery, onion, and kale for flavor, color, and variety. You can use more or less of any of these.

Fennel seed. Don’t skip this spice! It’s a key spice used in Italian sausage, so I promise you won’t taste licorice, just Italian-Mediterranean flavor. Look for fennel seeds in the dried spices section. 

Tomato juice. I prefer the slight sweetness of tomato juice in this soup, so I use it instead of canned tomatoes. Look for tomato juice with no sugar added. If it has sodium, you can add less salt to your soup.

Shell pasta. Make sure you buy the small shells. If you can’t find them, substitute small tubes (ditalini)

Substitutions and Variations

Do you have leftover roasted turkey from Thanksgiving? Use it instead of the ground turkey. Shred it and add it at the end with the pasta and beans.

You can easily vary the vegetables in this soup. Try these in addition to or instead of any of the vegetables in the recipe card:

  • Rainbow carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Peas
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage

If you don’t have kidney beans, use white cannellini or navy beans instead.

If you prefer canned tomatoes, you can use them instead of tomato juice. I recommend crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. 

Try using barley, brown rice, or farro instead of pasta shells. Note that these will take longer (30-40 minutes) to cook than pasta. 

How to Make Ground Turkey Soup

First, chop the vegetables. I recommend doing this in two batches, chopping the carrots, celery, and onion first. A food processor makes things fast and easy.

Second, chop the remaining vegetables (garlic, fennel, and kale leaves) next. Set the vegetables aside.

Steps 1 & 2 to make ground turkey soup.

Third, saute the turkey, breaking it up into small pieces.

Fourth, add the chopped vegetables to the pan with the turkey. Saute until the turkey and vegetables soften and develop brown spots.

Steps 3 & 4 to make ground turkey soup

Fifth, add the chicken stock, kidney beans, and spices to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Skim off any foam that forms on the top.

Sixth, add the pasta. Stir the soup, cover, and let it simmer for about 15 more minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the chopped fresh basil and adjust any salt and spices.

steps 5 & 6 to make ground turkey soup.

Expert Tips

If using a food processor to chop your vegetables, only pulse it about eight times so you get large chunks of vegetables. It’s better to leave a few large vegetable pieces (you can cut them smaller with a knife) than end up with minced vegetables. 

Don’t skimp on your sauteing. Let the turkey and vegetables saute over medium-high heat until they caramelize (develop brown areas) in spots. It really enhances the flavor.

Be careful not to overcook the pasta. Turn off the heat when it’s al dente (slightly firm when you bit into it). It will continue to cook as the soup cools.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator. The soup will thicken overnight from the pasta and bean starch. If it’s too thick, add more chicken stock or water to the desired consistency.

A white soup pot and bowl of ground turkey soup.

What to Serve With This Soup

A generous serving of this turkey vegetable soup really is a complete, filling meal. Serve it with a pitcher of fruited iced tea. You can also serve smaller soup portions and include:

Recipe FAQs

How long can you keep leftovers?

Store leftover soup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze it for up to four months.

Can you make this soup in a crock pot/slow cooker?

Yes, as long as it's large enough to hold at least 16 cups. This recipe makes about 12 cups of soup, and you need room to stir. I recommend sauteeing your vegetables and turkey in a separate saute pan before adding these to the slow cooker.

A photo of a mostly empty bowl of ground turkey soup. A spoon that says Crave Something Healthy sits in the bowl.

Other Related Vegetable Soup Recipes

Vegetable soups are one of the healthiest meals you can eat. And the easiest way to get lots of colorful vegetables into your diet. Try some of these other vegetable soup recipes.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating on the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

Recipe

A white soup pot and two white bowls with turkey vegetable soup.

Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup

A satisfying soup made with ground turkey, vegetables, and beans
4.84 from 12 votes
Print Pin
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Lower Carb, Heart Healthy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 263kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 4 large kale leaves
  • 4 cups low sodium tomato juice
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 15 ounces dark red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seed crushed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 cup small pasta shells (uncooked)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt or to taste
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves chopped

Instructions

  • Place the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, fennel bulb, and kale in batches into a food processor and pulse about eight times until they are chopped into small, bite-size pieces, about ½ inch. Set the vegetables aside.
  • Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat, and add the turkey breast. Stir to break up the turkey into small pieces, and cook until the turkey is no longer pink about 6 minutes.
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the stock pot with the turkey and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the turkey and vegetables start to caramelize in spots.
  • Add the tomato juice, chicken stock, kidney beans, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, and salt to the pot. 
  • Bring the soup to a boil,then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Skim any foam off of the top. a
  • Add the pasta and stir the soup well. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
  • Stir in the chopped basil. Taste and season with salt, additional fennel, or red pepper flakes as needed.

Notes

This recipe makes about 12 cups of soup.
This soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It will thicken as it cools, so if it seems too thick when reheating, add extra chicken stock or water (about 1 cup or more) as needed.
Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to four months.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 698mg | Potassium: 1059mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5403IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

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4.84 from 12 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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