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Recipe for turkey soup with dark leafy greens

Turkey soup with dark leafy greens.

How can a woman be expected to name a favorite from among her children? Impossible, isn't it? And yet... and yet... I have to say that this turkey soup, packed with dark leafy greens, chewy fregula sarda and peppery Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, is my new favorite soup. It's a near-perfect balance of protein, pasta, vegetables and cheese -- the four food groups of soup! Substitute freely: ground beef, pork or chicken for turkey; kale or chard for escarole; Israeli couscous for fregula sarda; vegetable broth for chicken broth. Make a big batch and portion some out for the freezer, where you'll be glad to find it on a cold winter day.

Turkey soup with dark leafy greens, cheese, and pasta.

Turkey soup with dark leafy greens

From the pantry, you'll need: ground turkey, onion, garlic, mild red pepper flakes, chicken stock, fregula sarda (or orzo), Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, olive oil.

Serves 6.


2 tsp olive oil
1-1/4 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp mild red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 head escarole, trimmed, chopped and washed (do not dry)
8 oz fresh spinach leaves, washed (do not dry)
4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock or broth (I like Swanson 99% fat-free)
1 piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)
1/2 cup fregula sarda (or orzo, or couscous)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the turkey, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent, 2 minutes. Toss in the red pepper flakes.

Add the washed escarole, with any water that clings to it, into the pot, stirring to wilt the greens slightly. After the escarole is all in the pot, begin adding the spinach, in batches if necessary, and stir to let the heat wilt the greens.

Pour in the chicken stock plus 2 cups of water.

Add the cheese rind.

Raise the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer. Stir in the fregula sarda. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the fregula is cooked.

Stir in most of the grated cheese, reserving a little of the cheese for garnish. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary with kosher salt and fresh black pepper.

Serve hot. Can be made ahead and frozen.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More dark leafy greens for dark winter nights:
Slow cooker lentils with chicken sausage, spinach and feta
Saag aloo/potatoes with spiced spinach
Brussels and broccoli with maple mustard vinaigrette
Kale, mushroom and caramelized onion breakfast casserole
Turkey-escarole soup

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Tortellini soup with escarole and zucchini, from Soup Chick
White bean escarole soup with turkey meatballs, from Blue Kitchen
Wilted escarole salad with kohlrabi, radish, lemon, and parmesan, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Barley risotto with beans and greens, from Smitten Kitchen
Butternut squash salad with escarole, from Eclectic Recipes

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This sounds delicious! I think I may kick off my own personal soup season with this - it sounds satisfying on so many levels!

You are so funny.... but I can easily see how this can be a favorite. Bookmarked for winter. We don't eat enough greens and this is a fabulous way to get them...and nothing more comforting!

Judy, soup season is already underway here in Rhode Island! I'm making soup every Sunday, using whatever I find in the fridge from the weekend.

Jamie, I love eating dark leafy greens in soup. They mellow with long cooking, and lose that bitterness people tend to avoid. And the fregula makes this a meal-in-a-bowl.

You know I'm not really the type to say OMG, but I want to for this soup. It sounds just amazing!

Fregula sarda sounds like a medical term to me, and I hope the long term prognosis is good.
I think this would be easy to do with leftover Thanksgiving turkey--start with sautéing the onions and toss in the cooked cubed turkey with the greens.
Looks delicious--thanks!

Kalyn, I predict with absolute certainty that you will love this soup.

Kirsten, yes, of course, use leftover turkey, maybe leftover sauteed greens if you have them. Just don't forget the cheese!

Yes - it feels like soup season in my head, even though the temperature is disagreeing ... I too am off to look up fregula sarda.

TW, the temperature is dropping tonight, and now I'm in the mood for soup. Fregula is available at Italian markets.

This reminds me of the best thing on the menu at the Olive Garden - Zupa Tuscano I think they call it. SO happy you posted this - must make soon!

Lydia, I'm thinking of making this with lentils (and veggie broth) so that it's vegetarian. When in the cooking process would you add the lentils?


Donna, would you believe I've never eaten at an Olive Garden? Sounds like I should go and have soup!

Judy, I'm not sure I would recommend making this soup with lentils and fregula, as both will thicken the soup and you'll end up with something very different from the original in texture. The lentils will take 30 minutes or so to cook, so add them early in the cooking.

This soup is screaming for mini-sized turkey meatballs!

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