This easy leftover turkey soup is the perfect Thanksgiving hack to help you use up turkey leftovers. This recipe is also packed with fibre and protein, and is ready in only 30 minutes!
Every year I look forward to a delicious roasted turkey dinner for Thanksgiving with all the fixings! But every year I get into a bit of a rut about what to do with the turkey leftovers. I mean, It’s just me, my hubby and our two little people at the table this year so you can imagine we have quite a bit of leftovers the next day.
While I am TOTALLY not complaining (because leftovers are life), there are only so many turkey sandwiches I can make before I get a little bored and have to freeze the rest. That’s where this easy leftover turkey soup comes in!
This leftover turkey soup is a flavourful and nutrient packed way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers. Not only is it jam packed with protein and fibre, but it only takes 30 minutes to make.
Table of contents
Frozen Butternut Squash – Using frozen chopped butternut squash is one of my favourite cooking hacks. Not only do you save tons of time peeling, chopping, and deseeding – but it cooks down in no time! If you can’t find frozen butternut squash at the store, you can opt for raw pre-chopped butternut squash instead, but it will require more time to cook.
Leftover Turkey – It’s not quite Thanksgiving without leftover turkey to enjoy the next day. I would argue that it even tastes better the days following, so you bet it’s going to add tons of flavour to this soup. If you don’t have leftover turkey but still want to make this soup, see my “expert tips” below for how you can make this soup using turkey breast.
Cannellini Beans – This is another one of my favourite cooking hacks because not only do cannellini beans add tons of extra fibre and protein, but they are a great way for adding creamy texture to soup without the need to add any cream!
Kale – While kale is personally not my first choice for raw salad greens because I just can’t get passed it’s rough bitter flavour, it is probably one of the most nutritionally dense salad greens out there! Which is why I love adding it into soups, pastas and sauces instead so I can reap the nutritional benefits. If you don’t have kale on hand, feel free to use spinach, arugula, or swiss chard.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute for a minute. Add the carrot and celery and saute until soft.
Step 2: Once the veggies begin to soften, add the garlic, pepper, thyme, and salt. Stir until the garlic is fragrant.
Step 3: Add 2.5 cups of the butternut squash and the chopped turkey and give everything stir. Add 5 cups of broth to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Step 4: Blend butternut squash, cannellini beans and broth in a blender. Pour the squash and bean mixture into the pot and stir everything together.
Step 5: Add remaining beans and the chopped kale. Simmer for 5-7 minutes uncovered, or until the soup thickens slightly and the kale is soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is super simple and comes together very quickly. Since the turkey is already cooked, it only needs to simmer for a few minutes for you to get a delicious hearty meal. The soup is elevated by blending the broth with some butternut squash and cannellini beans, which gives the broth more body.
If you want a thicker soup, you can add an additional half can of beans to this recipe. Blend these additional beans in with the squash mixture.
The salt content will depend on how salty your broth is. If you prefer, you can omit the salt and adjust the salt to taste after the soup is finished cooking.
If you want to make this recipe but don’t have a leftover turkey, you can roast half of a bone in turkey breast. Rub the turkey breast in butter or olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs like thyme or rosemary, and place it in a baking dish with a little broth at the bottom. Roast at 375 or 400 until the internal temperature reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the turkey and cube it, then toss the cubes in any juices in the pan.
Yes! This recipe is totally gluten free for all my celiac and gluten intolerant friends.
This leftover turkey soup lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge but can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
Allow the soup to cool down for about an hour and freeze in a freezer bag or container. I personally prefer freezer bags because you can lay them flat in the freezer to help preserve space.
I love throwing turkey leftovers into sandwiches or salads, but you can also use them to batch cook casseroles, pastas, chili’s, lasagnas etc!
Make sure you purchase canned cannellini beans and broth that are “no” or “low” sodium. You may also choose to omit adding salt to the soup and increasing the amount of thyme and pepper for more flavour.
More Soup Recipes You Might Like
What are you making with your turkey leftovers this year?
Easy Leftover Turkey Soup (Healthy Thanksgiving Hack!)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1.5 cups chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp.+ salt depending on salt content of broth
- 3.5 cups frozen cubed Butternut Squash
- 3.5 cups chopped leftover Roasted Turkey
- 6 cups Chicken or Turkey Broth
- 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans rinsed and drained
- 4 cups Chopped Kale
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute for a minute. Add the carrot and celery and saute until soft. Once the veggies begin to soften, add the garlic, pepper, thyme, and salt. Stir until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add 2.5 cups of the butternut squash and the chopped turkey and give everything stir. Add 5 cups of broth to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- While waiting for the soup to come up to temperature, blend the remaining butternut squash with ¾ cup of the cannellini beans and the remaining cup of broth in a blender or in a jar with an immersion blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the squash and bean mixture into the pot and stir everything together. When the soup is simmering, add the remaining beans and the chopped kale. Simmer for 5-7 minutes uncovered, or until the soup thickens slightly and the kale is soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with any fresh herbs you like and slices of lemon.
Have you made this leftover turkey soup? Let me know down in the comments below!
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.