Cozy and nourishing turkey rice soup is the perfect recipe to make with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving – but you can also make it anytime, and even use rotisserie chicken instead! This easy stovetop soup with wild rice is packed with veggies and savory flavor, and is so simple to prepare.
Basically, you quickly saute some vegetables in a large pot, throw everything else in, and let it simmer on the stove! It’s a nutritious and comforting weeknight meal to keep you warm all winter long.
Wild Rice Soup with Turkey
Whenever cold weather hits, I immediately start craving warm soups, stews, and chili. There’s something so satisfying about veggie-packed, savory soup during the fall and winter months.
Plus, one of my favorite things about soup is that it’s usually uncomplicated and the measurements don’t have to be perfect/exact. The hardest part is just prepping the ingredients, and it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there. 🙂
This turkey rice soup is one of my favorites, not only because it’s a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey (or leftover cooked chicken), but it also features wild rice. Wild rice is especially perfect in soups, thanks to its nutty flavor and sturdier, chewy texture (that keeps it from getting soggy in the broth).
If you love comfort food that’s also nutritious (like I do), this soup is a must-try!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this comforting turkey and rice soup:
- olive oil: For cooking the turkey and diced vegetables.
- turkey: You can cook turkey breast or tenderloin from scratch (don’t worry, it’s easy!), or you can use pre-cooked leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. You can even use rotisserie turkey, rotisserie chicken, or chicken breast in place of the turkey if you prefer!
- onion, carrots & celery: Diced vegetables add nutrition and flavor, plus texture.
- garlic: Garlic acts as a flavor booster and an aromatic.
- wild rice: I love wild rice here for its earthy flavor, plus it keeps its structure better in soups. Any type of rice should work, though, but certain types – such as white rice or brown rice – don’t take as long to cook as wild rice. Be sure to read the package and follow what it says!
- chickpeas: Chickpeas are optional, but they boost the nutrients, flavor, and texture of the soup.
- lemon: Adds a brightness to the dish.
- seasonings: The addition of turmeric here is so comforting and delicious, not to mention a nice anti-inflammatory and antioxidant boost! The recipe also calls for dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
- broth: Chicken broth or vegetable broth both work as the base for this turkey soup recipe. (I prefer using low sodium chicken broth so I can more easily control the sodium level.)
- spinach: Leafy greens are always a welcome addition in my soup recipes!
How to Make Leftover Turkey Rice Soup
First, if you’re not using leftover turkey meat, you’ll need to cook your turkey breast or turkey tenderloin. (You can skip this step if you’re using pre-cooked turkey or chicken!)
Start by dicing the turkey into bite-sized pieces. Next, in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, brown turkey pieces with a drizzle of olive oil. Remove from the pan and set aside. (They will finish cooking later).
Then, sauté diced onion until translucent. Add carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook for five more minutes until softened.
Add browned turkey back into the pot, along with wild rice, chickpeas, lemon quarters, turmeric, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth.
Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the soup to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes (stirring occasionally).
Once the rice is tender, remove and discard the lemon. Stir in spinach until just wilted. Then, serve and enjoy!
I love this soup with warm, crusty bread – so comforting. 🙂
Can I make this with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving?
Absolutely! You can use two to three cups of leftover Thanksgiving turkey, rotisserie turkey, or cooked chicken in place of the turkey tenderloin.
Cut pre-cooked turkey or chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the soup at the same time as the spinach. It should be warmed through by the time the spinach wilts.
Quick Preparation Tips
Here are some ways to save some time when making this turkey wild rice soup:
- Use leftover turkey or rotisserie chicken
- Skip peeling the carrots (it’s not necessary!)
- Use pre-diced celery and onions (these can be found in many grocery stores)
- Buy a jar of pre-minced garlic (this is helpful for tons of different recipes!)
Also, be sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas, and rinse the wild rice before adding it to the soup.
How do you add rice to soup without it getting mushy or soggy?
Sometimes, when you add rice to soup, it can get soggy from soaking up too much broth. This is why I recommend using wild rice in this recipe, as opposed to other types of rice.
Wild rice has a sturdier structure, and doesn’t get as easily overcooked as white rice in particular.
Additionally, to avoid soggy rice, be sure to follow the recommended cooking time on the rice package. Test the rice for doneness and remove the soup from heat right away once it’s finished, so it doesn’t get overcooked.
Another tip when making soup with rice is that if you plan to wait and eat the soup later, or to freeze it for another time, you may want to make the rice separately and add it in right before serving so it doesn’t get mushy.
To store, let the soup cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Is this turkey rice soup gluten free?
Yes! All natural forms of rice, including wild rice, are gluten-free. None of the other ingredients in the recipe should contain gluten, either.
I hope you get a chance to try this delicious and savory leftover turkey soup recipe! You’ll find the full recipe details at the end of this post. Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb turkey tenderloin or breast (or leftover turkey, or rotisserie chicken)*
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup wild rice (rinsed and drained)
- 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 1 lemon quartered, seeded
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cups of fresh spinach
- Dice turkey tenderloin into bite-size pieces. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven heat olive oil and brown turkey pieces. Once they are browned, remove from the pan and set aside. They will finish cooking in the soup. (If using leftover or pre-cooked meat, skip this step).
- Next, add onion and sauté until they become translucent, about 4 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for 4 - 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a spatula to get any turkey bits off the bottom of the pan.
- To vegetable mixture add browned turkey, rinsed and drained wild rice, chickpeas, quartered lemon, turmeric, salt, pepper, and broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low heat, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When rice is cooked through and tender, remove lemon quarters and discard. Add the fresh spinach and stir until it has wilted.
- Serve immediately with warm crusty bread.
- *2 to 3 cups of leftover Thanksgiving turkey or rotisserie turkey or chicken can be used in place of the turkey tenderloin. Cut precooked turkey or chicken into bite size pieces and add at the same time as the spinach. It should be warmed through by the time the spinach wilts.
- It's not necessary to peel the carrots.
- Be sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas and rinse the wild rice.
- Be sure to remove the seeds in the lemon before adding to the soup, and don't forget to remove the lemon rinds before serving the soup!