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Turkey, red bean and cabbage soup

Make this turkey, red bean and cabbage soup ahead, and freeze it for your next soup swap. #glutenfree

Do you soup swap? Whether it's an informal trade with a neighbor, or a more organized Soup Swap party with a group of friends, making and sharing soup is as comforting as a pot of soup itself. The basic idea of soup swap is that you exchange quart-size containers of soup with general appeal (everyone does not love borscht, as it turns out), that can be frozen for enjoyment throughout the cool weather months. It's great fun to make something you know will nestle into a friend's freezer, to be pulled out and savored on a chilly evening.

For my next swap, I wanted to create a make-ahead-and-freeze bean soup with neither tomato nor hot pepper in any form. This turkey, red bean and cabbage soup isn't colorful or photogenic, but one taste will melt your heart. A bit of Dijon mustard brings the rest of the ingredients to life, and there's a sweet-and-vinegar finish to the earthy beans and cabbage (or coleslaw mix). I used a combination of homemade and store-bought chicken broths, because that's what I had on hand, so I didn't add any salt at the end of the cooking. Taste your soup, and season as needed. Happy swapping!

Turkey, red bean and cabbage soup: no tomatoes, no hot spices, lots of comforting goodness. Perfect for soup swap. #glutenfree

Turkey, red bean and cabbage soup {gluten-free}

From the pantry you'll need: Dijon mustard, chicken stock, onion, ground turkey, olive oil, agave nectar, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Serves 10-12; can be doubled for Soup Swap.


2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1 large onion, diced
8 oz sliced mushrooms (cremini or white)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
10 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought (gluten-free if needed)
2 cups kidney beans, cooked, or 4 cups canned kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
14-oz bag coleslaw mix, or 14 oz shredded green cabbage
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp fresh black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste


In a very large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the turkey in the oil until the meat is no longer pink, and use a wooden spoon to break up any large clumps.

Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and Dijon mustard, and give a swirl or two.

Pour in the chicken stock. Raise heat to high, and when the stock is warm (not yet boiling), add the beans and cole slaw mix. Stir for a few minutes, until the cabbage wilts. Season the soup with white balsamic vinegar and agave.

Then reduce heat to simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.

When the soup has reduced slightly, sprinkle in the parsley and black pepper. If you've used homemade stock, you might need to add as much as a teaspoon of kosher salt, or whatever tastes good to you. 

Some of the beans will have opened, and thickened the soup a bit. If you'd like, use the back of your wooden spoon to encourage a few more beans to open.

Serve hot. Can be made ahead, cooled and refrigerated, or frozen in airtight containers.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More bean soups:
Pasta e fagiole, from The Perfect Pantry
Black bean, tomato and sausage soup, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken and pinto bean soup with lime and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Rustic Tuscan-style sausage, white bean and kale soup, from Shared Appetite

Turkey, red bean and cabbage soup, perfect for your next Soup Swap. #glutenfree

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I can't wait to try this - love the sweet and sour idea. What an ingenious use of fresh, prep-free ingredients like ground turkey and coleslaw mix!

Judy, I love making soup with whatever I find in the house, and that almost always includes ground turkey. Because I've been trying to get more cabbage into our diet, I often have a bag of cole slaw mix instead of a large head of cabbage.

I love the idea of a touch of Dijon in this soup; sounds good! Thanks for featuring my Chicken and Pinto Bean Soup; I'm always in favor of some beans in most any soup!

Kalyn, I agree. Beans are always wonderful in soup, especially in winter soups.

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