Published Nov 08, 2023, Updated Nov 21, 2023
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This turkey soup is packed with fresh vegetables, couscous and loads of herbs! It’s comforting, flavorful and the perfect recipe to make with leftover turkey.
Take your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and turn it into a cozy, comforting turkey soup that’s packed with vegetables, couscous and fresh herbs.
I love having leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, but I can only eat so many turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches, which is where this turkey soup recipe comes in!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Perfect for leftovers – This recipe is a great way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!
- Filling and flavorful – This soup is packed with veggies, protein-rich turkey, fresh herbs and couscous. It’s definitely a full meal on its own and loaded with tons of flavor!
- Customizable – Feel free to swap out veggies, use a different grain or adjust the herbs to your liking.
- Great for meal prep – One pot makes a lot of soup so you can meal prep the soup on Sunday and have a healthy dinner ready for a few nights!
- olive oil – for sautéing the veggies.
- vegetables – this soup has a mixture of chopped yellow onion, garlic, carrots, celery and peas.
- herbs – the herbs add an aromatic depth to this soup that is so delicious! We’re using bay leaves, dried oregano, fresh sage, thyme, rosemary and parsley.
- sea salt and pepper – for seasoning. Always adjust to your preference!
- broth – the base for our soup. Feel free to use veggie, chicken or turkey broth. Bone broth is another great option that will add more protein!
- pearl couscous – if you’re to couscous it’s a staple food in many North African and Mediterranean cuisines. It’s made from tiny balls of semolina flour, which is the same flour used to make pasta. The semolina is combined with water and rolled into small grains. Couscous is often mistaken for a grain, but it’s technically a type of pasta. Couscous has a mild, slightly nutty taste, making it versatile and an excellent base for a variety of dishes like this soup. There are a few different types of couscous, but we’re using pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) for this soup.
- turkey – leftover turkey meat is perfect for this recipe!
- fresh lemon juice – a squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds acidity to the soup which makes all of the flavors pop!
How to Make
Step 1: In a large pot or large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, giving them a good stir. Cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 more minutes.
Step 2: Add the bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir everything together to combine.
Step 3: Pour in the broth, bringing the mixture to a boil. Add the couscous, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the couscous is cooked.
Step 4: Add the cooked turkey, frozen peas, parsley and lemon juice. Let it all simmer together for a few more minutes, until the peas are tender.
Step 5: Remove the bay leaves, taste and adjust the seasoning or consistency if needed before serving. Scoop up the soup and serve it with your favorite crackers or a slice of crusty bread. Enjoy!
- Use the right couscous: Make sure to use pearl (aka Israeli) couscous and not Moroccan couscous as it is much smaller and won’t cook up the same.
- Adjust to taste: Before serving, give the soup a quick taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Sometimes a little extra salt, pepper, or even a splash more lemon juice can make all the difference.
- Serve hot: Soups are best enjoyed piping hot, especially on chilly days. Warm your bowls in the oven for a few minutes if you want to go the extra mile!
- Add more broth: The couscous will soak up more liquid as it sits, so when serving leftovers you might need to add more broth or water to the soup.
Substitutions & Notes
- Turkey: If you want to make this soup, but you can’t find a turkey, you can use shredded chicken instead! You can use leftover shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken for a short-cut.
- Veggies: Feel free to add in or take away some veggies depending on what you have on hand. Spinach, kale and zucchini would all be great options to add to this soup.
- Couscous: Don’t have couscous on hand? Try adding quinoa, white rice, brown rice, farro, egg noodles or barley instead.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs always provide the most vibrant flavors, but in a pinch, dried herbs will do the trick. Just remember, dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so use about a third of the recommended fresh amount.
- Vegan: Skip the turkey and use veggie broth. You can add chickpeas or white beans for a protein-packed alternative.
- Creamy: If you prefer a creamier soup, swirl in a bit of coconut milk or heavy cream at the end.
What to Serve with Turkey Soup
This soup is a filling meal on it’s own thanks to the turkey, veggies and couscous, but there are so many fun ways to serve it up! Here are some options:
- Bread: Serve your turkey soup with a side of fresh bread (like sourdough). The combination of warm soup ad crusty bread is a classic and comforting choice.
- Crackers: These almond flour crackers would be delicious served alongside this soup.
- Side salad: Serve your turkey soup with a simple side salad of mixed greens, dressed with a light vinaigrette. This balances the heartiness of the soup. My spinach salad or kale salad would be great options.
- Roasted veggies: While the soup already has its fair share of veggies, a side of roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus, or green beans can complement the soup beautifully.
How to Store Leftovers
In the refrigerator: After allowing the soup to cool to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
In the freezer: Turkey soup freezes well. If you plan on freezing, it’s a good idea to leave out the couscous as it can become mushy when reheated. To freeze, let the soup cool completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Label with the date and contents. It should stay fresh for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stove, adding cooked couscous at the end if desired.
Reheating: Pour the desired amount of soup into a pot and heat over medium heat until warmed through. You can also heat it in the microwave if you’re in a time crunch.
Note! The couscous will soak up more liquid as it sits, so when serving leftovers you might need to add more broth or water to the soup.
More Turkey Recipes
- Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- Spinach Turkey Meatballs
- Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
- Turkey Chili
- Leftover Turkey Salad
- Ground Turkey Pasta
More Soup Recipes
- Sweet Potato Soup
- Curried Pumpkin Soup
- Sausage Kale Soup
- Mexican Sweet Potato Chicken Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
Be sure to check out all of the soup recipes here on EBF!
Leftover Turkey Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2-3 fresh sage leaves , or ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 cups low sodium turkey, chicken or veggie broth
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- 4 cups shredded turkey, or chicken
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup fresh curly parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm. Add the onion, carrots and celery to Dutch oven and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add bay leaf, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to coat the veggies in the spices.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add couscous then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the couscous is cooked, but not mushy.
- Add shredded turkey, frozen peas, parsley and lemon juice.
- Cook 3-5 more minutes until peas are tender.
- Remove bay leaves, season to taste and add more liquid if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Pour soup into bowls and serve with crackers or bread, if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.