My Leftover Turkey Soup with orzo and spinach combines all the best Italian flavors in a belly-warming bowl of soup! This hearty and nutritious soup recipe is my favorite way of using leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
This homestyle turkey soup, brimming with Italian flair and a tangy tomato broth, is ideal for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. A staple after our family’s holiday gathering, it is the best comfort food. Packed with tender turkey, nutritious veggies, orzo, and herbs, it’s reminiscent of a Tuscan retreat in a bowl. Simple to love, this one-pot soup is hearty, flavorful, and ready in just 30 minutes, drawing inspiration from my easy and delicious Turkey Corn Chowder recipe.
Turkey Soup Ingredients
- Olive Oil and Butter: I use both when sautéing the veggies.
- Onion, Carrots, and Celery: Diced and sautéd with garlic for the soup’s flavor base.
- Fresh Parsley
- Salt and Pepper
- Turkey: You’ll need about four cups of cooked, shredded (or chopped) turkey meat.
- Tomato Paste & Diced Tomatoes
- Herbs: A combination of thyme, oregano, and rosemary, and throw in a bay leaf for flavor.
- Broth: Use your choice of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
- Orzo: This is a type of small pasta that looks a lot like long-grain rice.
- Spinach: Baby spinach is full of nutrients and softens up easily.
How to Make Leftover Turkey Soup
- Sauté: Warm up the olive oil and butter in a large pot. Stir in the diced onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add Turkey: Toss in your shredded leftover turkey to cook for a couple of minutes.
- Combine: Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and herbs. Add the broth, orzo pasta, and a bay leaf.
- Cook: Bring the soup to a boil, then leave it to simmer over low heat. It should take about 10 minutes for the orzo to become tender.
- Finish and Serve: Lastly, stir in the baby spinach and give your soup a final seasoning to taste. Fish out the bay leaf, ladle the soup into bowls, and dig in!
Recipe Tips And Variations
- Use up your veggies. I’ll frequently mix up the ingredients that go into this soup depending on what’s taking up space in my fridge, from adding diced bell peppers to chopped broccoli. Nothing is off-limits.
- Make chicken orzo soup instead. I make this soup year-round with shredded chicken, too! I’ll use leftover Easy Roast Chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Make it spicy. If you’re after a soup with a bit of spicy kick, toss in a pinch of crushed red chili flakes.
- Different pasta. If you don’t have orzo, other good pasta options are rotini, ditalini, fusilli, or rotelli.
Serve a bowl of zesty leftover turkey soup with a side of crusty Focaccia, Skillet Bread, or Naan to soak up that delicious broth. Other easy sides include a fresh green salad or Easy Butternut Squash Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash, Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Carrots.
Storing and Reheating Soup
Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat leftovers, stir a little extra broth or water into the soup, then warm the soup on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
- Leftover Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole
- Leftover Turkey Salad Sandwiches
- Turkey Corn Chowder
- Turkey Tetrazzini with Fetuccine
- Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
- Leftover Turkey Frittata
Leftover Turkey Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups cooked and shredded turkey meat
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (14-ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1½ cups orzo pasta
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 to 8 ounces baby spinach
- Heat the oil and melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a large stock pot set over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley; season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the turkey meat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the tomato paste and stir in the canned tomatoes; stir in thyme, oregano, and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, orzo, and bay leaf; stir to combine and bring the soup to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender.
- Stir in the baby spinach and cook for 1 more minute or until the spinach is wilted.
- Remove from heat and taste for seasonings. Adjust accordingly.
- Remove bay leaf and serve.
- Use up your vegetables and make this soup with anything from bell peppers to broccoli. It’s an excellent way to clear out your fridge.
- Try it with chicken. Substitute turkey with shredded roast or rotisserie chicken for year-round enjoyment.
- Add heat. For spiciness, include some crushed red chili flakes.
- Switch the pasta. No orzo? Use rotini, ditalini, fusilli, or rotelli instead.
- To Store: Transfer completely cooled turkey soup to an airtight container. Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. To reheat, add more liquid, stir, and reheat over medium heat on the stovetop.
- To Freeze: Make sure the soup is completely cooled. Transfer the soup to large, heavy-duty freezer bags (I divide it into two freezer bags), and freeze it for 3 to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.