Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ground Turkey Soup Recipe with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash (Can Freeze, Gluten-Free)

I loved the flavors in this Ground Turkey Soup with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash.

Ground Turkey Soup Recipe with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash found on

For a while now I've been trying to develop a long-term relationship with ground turkey, which I think has the potential to be a bit boring.  I think I'm getting to know ground turkey a little better though, because this year I've had a couple of recipe success stories using it, and this Ground Turkey Soup with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash is definitely another winner.

If there's a secret to ground turkey recipe success, it's to use a lot of other flavorful ingredients with the turkey, and in addition to mushrooms, butternut squash, and kale, this soup has plenty of dried herbs and a generous amount of balsamic vinegar stirred in at the end.  I loved the soup; hope everyone else who's developing an appreciation for ground turkey will enjoy it too.

Finely chop some onion and celery and saute it with a little olive oil in the soup pot until the onions barely start to brown.  Then add dried thyme, poultry seasoning, and minced garlic and cook about a minute more.

Add 10 cups chicken stock and 2 generous tablespoons of vegetable soup base and start to simmer.

Heat a little olive oil in another pan and cook the turkey until it's nicely browned.

While the turkey browns, wash the mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Add the browned turkey and the mushrooms to the soup pot and simmer 20 minutes.

I used pre-cut butternut squash cubes (something I rarely buy, but they're great for soup.)  I cut each one in fourths to get small cubes for the soup.

Add squash to the soup and simmer 20 minutes more.

If you're using baby kale all you need to do is wash it.  (I like to break off the stems, but it's totally optional.)  If you have larger kale leaves, I'd coarsely chop the kale and add it to the soup a bit sooner.

I always have leftover rice in the freezer, so I just thawed some for this soup.  (Brown rice will work, but I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice which is also a low-glycemic rice.)

Add the rice and kale and simmer for a final 20-30 minutes.

It's done when the kale and butternut squash seems to have almost melted into the soup.  Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.

Ground Turkey Soup with Rice, Kale, Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

1/2 large onion, chopped small
4 stalks celery, chopped small
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic (or more)
10 cups homemade chicken stock (or use 6 cans chicken broth, but homemade stock is more flavorful)
2 T vegetable soup base (I use Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base.)
8 oz. brown Crimini mushrooms, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. lean ground turkey (I use turkey with 10% fat)
1 lb. small cubes butternut squash, almost 3 cups of cut squash cubes (I used half of a 2 lb. package of pre-cut squash cubes and cut them smaller)
1 1/2 cups baby kale leaves or chopped kale leaves
1 cup cooked rice or brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's Converted Rice.)
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Chop the onion and celery into small pieces.  Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in the bottom of the soup pot, add chopped vegetables, and saute until they're starting to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the dried thyme, Poultry Seasoning, and minced garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and vegetable soup base and start to simmer the soup.

While soup simmers heat 2 tsp. olive oil in another large non-stick frying pan and cook the turkey over medium-high heat, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.  Let the turkey get nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes.  While the turkey browns, wash the mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Add turkey and mushrooms to the soup and simmer 20 minutes before adding the squash.

Cut butternut squash into small cubes, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch square.  (It's good if they're not all the same size, because the smaller ones will dissolve into the soup more and the larger ones will create texture.)  Add the chopped butternut squash to the soup and simmer 20 minutes before adding the rice and kale.

Wash the kale (removing stems from baby kale if desired, or chopping larger kale leaves.)  When the soup has simmered 20 minutes with the butternut squash, add the rice and kale (and a tiny bit more water or stock if needed) and continue to simmer 20-30 minutes more. 

Taste soup and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar (I would start with 2 tablespoons and then see if you want the other tablespoon.)  Serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table as desired.

This soup will probably freeze pretty well, although the squash, rice, and kale will all break apart some from being frozen.  The soup will definitely keep in the fridge for at least a week.

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South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions: 
This soup is loaded with healthy low-glycemic ingredients like ground turkey, mushrooms, kale, and converted rice, and would make a delicious meal for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. (Although it's permitted for Phase 2 or 3, butternut squash is a limited food, so use portion control if you're actively trying to lose weight.) If you're following a strict low-carb diet, this soup could be made lower in carbs by omitting the rice.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Healthy and Tasty Ideas with Ground Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Turkey and Escarole Soup ~ The Perfect Pantry

Turkey and Black Bean Mexican Cabbage Bowl with Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Thai Turkey Burgers with Peanut Sauce - Iowa Girl Eats

Thai-Inspired Ground Turkey Larb Salad with Sriracha, Mint, Cilantro, and Peanuts ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. This looks fantastic, but as it's hard to get ethically raised turkey in the UK except at Christmastime, I would make it with fresh sausage meat from my local butcher. He sells it flavored with herbs, and I have been using it for various soups in the past couple of weeks. Happy Halloween!

  2. Kalyn, I use ground turkey all the time in place of ground beef and pork. It's less expensive and leaner, and I find if I use it with stronger, deeper flavors, like soy sauce or tomato sauce, no one really can tell the difference. Mushrooms also add some beefy flavor so I use that with ground turkey in sauces a lot. Your soup sounds like a nice hearty lunch, all in one with protein and veggies.

  3. Catherine, that sounds good! I'm gearing up here for a night of handing out goodies to the kids.

    Jeanette, great ideas. I need to experiment more with turkey for Asian flavors!

  4. I had to laugh a bit when I read your post about ground turkey flavor,or lack of true. I like it best when mixed w/other things,it's great as the filling for stuffed peppers. I will try this soup,it looks/sounds wonderful. I wish I could find 'baby'kale here,as well as pre chopped squash. Thanks for all you do Kalyn.;o)

  5. Yes, it's true that the ground turkey needs some help in the flavor department. Sorry to hear you can't find the kale or pre-cut butternut. Those things do help speed it up.

  6. Great minds think alike: I just made an almost identical soup, before I read this post! I love using ground turkey in soups, and although mine was more of a "fridge dump", the combination of ingredients is the same and it works really well.

  7. Lydia how fun! And I'm not surprised to hear we like the same ingredients in soup.

  8. Do you think it would work well in a crock-pot? I have an older model that cooks low and slow!

  9. Susan, honestly I'm not sure, mainly because there are so many ingredients with different cooking times. If you're home to add the ingredients in order it might work, but I would reduce the amount of liquid for sure.

  10. Kalyn - I ended up putting all ingredients in the crockpot except for the rice. I put the kale in last and didn't stir it in. I left it on top. I stirred it in the last hour or so. I also added the rice (I had to cook some) right before serving. The soup was sooooo good! Definitely another keeper recipe from your wonderful site. I'm down 40 pounds in 6 months and I've done it with the help of your delicious recipes.

  11. Kalyn, I made this tonight & just had to come back to tell you how fabulous it is! I followed mostly,I didn't add rice(maybe next time but imo didn't need it) I also didn't add balsamic although I have it,I thought I'd test it out w/o first. I almost added a can of white beans to it,but made it pure as you have given us. I used all chick.broth,I have the vegg.broth but didn't use it this time. If I were there I would give you a big hug. I'm a soup person,and this is a winner,and healthy! I hope others if they read this rave,will make it as well..thanks again for all you do. hug.;o)

  12. Susan, thanks for reporting back, and huge congrats on the 40 pounds!

    Squid, glad you liked it. I think I'll try this without rice myself!

  13. Had to come back and rave about this soup. It's fabulous! I didn't add any rice,but followed everything else pretty close. It was my first time using butternut squash,so also need to thank you for introducing me to it…Thank you Kalyn, this soup is a winner.

  14. WOW! I heard about this soup from a client on Sunday. I bought the ingredients that I didn't have, and searched for the receipe yesterday. OH YUMMMM!! Was the best!

  15. Barbara, so glad you like it; this is one of my personal favorites too.


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