This turkey quinoa soup combines fresh vegetables and quinoa with shredded turkey for a healthy lunch idea or light dinner. Packed with nutritious ingredients, it's full of flavour and very easy to make as a gluten free, dairy free and low histamine meal.
As the seasons change and we finally have some warm sunshine I'm moving away from heavy soups to those that are a bit lighter. I like to think of this soup, as well as my turmeric chicken soup, as more 'brothy' and so perfect for the spring or summer months.
Turkey is often neglected through the year, only making its food debut around Christmas and the holidays. Such a shame I think! I hope my other turkey recipes such as my spicy turkey stew and grilled herb turkey kabobs can tempt you year-round!
This shredded turkey soup works perfectly for a weekend lunch idea for all the family, or as a light dinner. It combines lots of fresh vegetables and herbs with quinoa, to make it both light and hearty at the same time (if that makes sense!). A comfort food dish that is easy to make and it looks so pretty too I think!
Why this recipe is so good
Enjoy year-round. Turkey isn't just for the holidays! This soup can be a proper 'meal' as we combine the turkey with quinoa and lots of vegetables and herbs for flavour.
Full of goodness. We have fresh vegetables, leafy greens, herbs and quinoa for a healthy gluten free turkey soup perfect for lunch.
Easy to make. Although it may seem as though there are a lot of ingredients and steps, I promise it's very simple to make!
While the ingredients list for this turkey kale quinoa soup may seem a little long, a lot are herbs and other pantry (or fridge!) staples. A few notes on some of them:
- Turkey - to keep the soup as fresh as possible, as well as better for a low histamine diet, we use turkey breast fillet in this recipe that we shred ourselves (see below for directions, it's super easy to do!) rather than leftover turkey. If using the latter works for you, then of course that's fine too!
- Quinoa - personally I like to use white quinoa in soup as it has a softer texture, but a tri-blend is always an option too. Make sure to cook it first!
- Kale - I like to use curly kale, making sure to remove the tough stems and shredding before adding to the soup.
- Chicken broth - if buying from the store rather than using homemade broth check ingredients if you are gluten free, as some brands aren't compliant.
Variations to the recipe
- If leftover turkey or turkey that has already been shredded works for you, then you can simply add this in with the quinoa towards the end of the cook time. You may need to cook for another ten minutes, as the turkey will need to be heated through thoroughly. If you follow a low histamine diet, see below for advice on leftovers.
- Change up the herbs to personal preference, or add a pinch of turmeric for a hint of spice.
Step by step instructions
Just a few steps to make the soup, and all are easy to do:
Cook your quinoa according to packet instructions. It usually takes around 15 minutes to do.
While the quinoa is cooking drizzle olive oil into your pot, and then fry the onion and garlic until softened. Tip in the celery, carrot, zucchini, herbs and bay leaf. Stir well to combine and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add the turkey fillets to the pot along with the broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a very light simmer. Cook for around 25 minutes (you can check the turkey is done by using a meat thermometer and having an internal temperature of 165F at its deepest point).
Remove the turkey from the pot (use tongs, definitely not fingers!) and then use two forks to shred (or a mixer if you have one).
Return the shredded turkey to the pot along with the cooked quinoa and kale. Stir well to combine, and cook for a further five minutes ensuring the turkey and quinoa are heated through. Remove the bay leaf, and then ladle into your bowls and enjoy!
How to shred turkey
Turkey can be shredded in two ways. The first is to use an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the relevant attachment. Place the turkey in a large bowl and shred with the mixer.
The second way (and the way I do it) is to place the turkey breasts on a plate and use two forks to shred. Hold the turkey with one fork and then use the other to pull the turkey away, so shredding it.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can use leftover turkey or already shredded turkey in soup if this is suitable for you. My low histamine readers will likely find it better to cook the turkey from scratch and then shred it themselves.
Yes, you can use any form of quinoa in the soup!
Yes, you can use most vegetables in turkey soup. If using root vegetables such as parsnips you may need to cook the soup for a little longer.
Large pot - to cook the soup in.
Tongs - to remove the turkey before shredding (definitely don't use fingers!).
Meat thermometer - to check the turkey is cooked through sufficiently.
Forks - to shred the turkey. If you have a Kitchen Aid or similar machine that has the relevant attachment, you can always use that too.
Ladle - to spoon the soup into your bowls.
A note for my low histamine readers
This recipe uses fresh turkey that we cook in the pot and then shred ourselves. This helps to prevent histamine formation. Often turkey soup recipes use pre-done shredded turkey or leftovers from a previous meal. Using leftovers that have been in the fridge for any length of time isn't usually recommended if you follow a low histamine diet (see the SIGHI advice of leftovers).
More soup recipes
Soups are always a favourite here on the blog, and you can find lots of tasty choices on my soups page. Some recent recipes to enjoy:
Turkey quinoa soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ white onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced or finely diced
- ½ lb turkey breast fillet
- ½ celery stick diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- ½ zucchini diced
- 1 cup kale stems removed, shredded
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup quinoa (dry weight)
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions.
- Fry the onion and garlic on a low to medium heat in olive oil in a large pot for 4-5 minutes until softened. Tip in the celery, carrot, zucchini, herbs and bay leaf. Stir well to combine and cook for 5-6 minutes to soften.
- Pour in the broth and add the turkey fillets to the pot (if on the larger size cut into smaller pieces beforehand). Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Remove the turkey and use two forks to shred. Check the turkey is thoroughly cooked through before shredding, and return to the pan and continue to cook if required (further cooking isn't likely to be necessary, but check using a meat thermometer for the corrent internal temperature of 165F).
- Return the turkey to the pot along with the cooked quinoa, kale, salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and add more broth if required. Cook for a further five minutes then remove the bay leaf. Ladle into your bowls. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Make sure the turkey has cooked through before shredding. You can check it is cooked through using a meat thermometer and looking for an internal temperature of 165F at its thickest point.
- Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!
- garlic, which scores 1. There is a note stating 'in small amounts, usually well tolerated after cooking'.
- kale is not rated on the SIGHI list.
- chicken or vegetable broth will depend upon ingredients used.
- black pepper, which scores 2.
- bay leaf has a ? and a note stating 'small amounts are well tolerated, for larger quantities lack of experience'.