My favorite use for leftover Thanksgiving turkey is making soup. Here is a hearty turkey bean soup recipe with lots of vegetables and rich flavor. It’s perfect for the day after Thanksgiving when you still have to feed your crew and want something easy and healthy. Grab some leftover turkey, canned white beans, veggies and broth to create this warm and satisfying soup. It even freezes well if you don’t eat it all.
Easy, Healthy, Hearty Turkey Bean Soup
When you’ve spent all day in the kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner, the last thing you want to do is spend more time cooking the day after. Even the cook needs a day off. While that sounds good, it doesn’t work in my house, so an easy recipe is welcome.
Chop onion, celery, carrots, fennel and herbs and saute in a little olive oil until soft. In the mean time, dice leftover turkey and rinse and drain 2 cans of white beans. When vegetables are soft, add the turkey and beans, then pour in broth. Simmer until hot and all flavors are combined. That’s all there is to it.
For beans, I use Cannellini beans. If you are not familiar with them, Cannellini’s are large white kidney beans. You could also use Great Northern beans or Navy beans. For canned beans, I buy Eden Organics. Their beans are packaged in BPA-free cans and you can choose no-salt versions for lower sodium.
For broth, I make a big batch of turkey broth before Thanksgiving for making gravy and soup. Extra turkey broth freezes beautifully. Alternatively you can use boxed or canned low sodium chicken broth, be sure to read the label first. I hope you will try making homemade broth, either turkey or chicken. It’s so good and good for you. Homemade always tastes best and is healthiest because you choose what goes into it
On herbs, I often use fresh. But if all you have is dried, use half to a third of the amount. Ultimately it depends on your taste preferences. And about wild fennel pollen. If you like the taste of fennel (which we love), you will find wild fennel pollen online or pick it up in a specialty spice shop. The flavor is fantastic. It is the most potent variety of fennel and has an amazing aromatic quality. If you want to learn more about wild fennel pollen read this.
Hearty Turkey Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion 1 medium onion
- 3/4 cup finely chopped celery 2-3 ribs
- 3/4 cup finely chopped carrot 2-3
- 1/2 of a fennel bulb save some fronds for garnish, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped sage
- 1 teaspoon wild fennel pollen or fennel seed optional
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3 garlic cloves minced fine
- 2 – 15 ounce cans white beans Cannellini, Navy, White or Great Northern, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 -2 cups chopped cooked turkey
- 4 cups broth – turkey or chicken preferably homemade
- In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and fennel, and herbs. Cook slowly until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the drained beans and turkey, then broth. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, then enjoy hot.