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Hearty Ground Turkey Soup

This Hearty Ground Turkey Soup is high in protein and fiber. It’s super flavorful and comforting because it’s a little bit creamy thanks to lentils and barley.

Ground turkey soup in a white bowl. Garnished with a thyme sprig. Side view.

Why This Recipe Works

This healthy soup will make a perfect addition to your weekly soup rotation in late fall and winter.

It’s delicious, satisfying, and will keep you full for hours. You can eat it as a meal for lunch and dinner. 

Here are a few more reasons to make it:

  • This recipe is very budget-friendly because barley and lentils are usually quite inexpensive.
  • The soup is made with plain, easy-to-find ingredients that most people have on hand in their fridge and pantry.
  • This recipe is pretty easy to make and is perfect for beginners.
  • This soup is great for meal-prep because you can cook it once on the weekend and then eat it a few times during the week. You can also freeze it in portions for later.

Soup in a large pot. Top view.

Ingredients Overview

Here is what you will need to make this Hearty Ground Turkey Soup:

  • Leeks: Leeks are just like onions but taste milder and sweeter. Make sure to wash them if needed because leeks can be very sandy. Always use only the white parts of leeks.
  • Bell peppers: Bell peppers are sweet and juicy. They add flavor and a touch of bright red color to the soup. Make sure to core the peppers and remove all the seeds because they can taste bitter.
  • Carrots: Carrots are a must in soups!  I like to grate them, but you can also just thinly slice them or cut them into small dice.
  • Turkey: Ground turkey makes a great protein base for soups. It has a mild taste and doesn’t overpower the dish.
  • Chicken stock: Use a mild-tasting homemade or commercially prepared chicken stock. It’s better to use a low-sodium or no-salt-added stock to avoid sodium overload.
  • Lentils: You can use any type of lentils in this soup. Red lentils will completely fall apart and you will end up with a creamier soup. Use red lentils if you want to disguise lentils from the lentil-haters in your family. Brown and green lentils will remain intact.
  • Barley: Barley makes this soup very filling. You can use pot or pearl barley in this recipe. Just keep in mind that pearl barley will become very soft.
  • Aromatics: To make this soup more flavorful, I added thyme, garlic powder, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

Ground turkey soup in a bowl on a marble background. Top view.

How to Adapt This Ground Turkey Soup Recipe

This recipe is very versatile. You can cook it as is or adapt it to your taste and dietary preferences. Take the recipe as a base and tweak it depending on what you have on hand.

Here are a few ideas:

  • This soup is made with barley, but you can use quinoa instead if you want to make it gluten-free. If you decide to use quinoa, I would increase the amount to one cup because quinoa doesn’t expand as much as barley.
  • You can also experiment with adding different vegetables. For example, zucchini, celery, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes would taste great in this soup.
  • This Ground Turkey Soup is made without tomatoes. But if you like tomatoes, you can add some fresh or canned diced tomatoes to it.
  • It’s also possible to experiment with different aromatics. You could add lime juice instead of lemon juice or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. You could also add fresh dill and/or parsley instead of thyme.
  • Leafy greens such as spinach or kale will also make great additions to this soup.

Close up of the soup being picked up by a tablespoon.

How to Store and Reheat This Ground Turkey Soup

Store this Ground Turkey Soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.

The soup can be easily reheated on the stovetop or in a microwave.


Close up of the ground turkey soup in a white bowl.

Hearty Ground Turkey Soup

Hearty Ground Turkey Soup

Yield: 6 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Lean protein and veggies make this soup a complete healthy meal that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4 cups chicken stock, low sodium or no-salt-added
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pot barley, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook stirring occasionally until the leeks start to caramelize, for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers and carrots and stir. Cover and cook until the vegetables start to soften, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure to stir from time to time.
  3. With a spatula, push the vegetables to the sides of the pot. Add the ground turkey to the middle and cook breaking into small pieces with a spatula.
  4. Once the turkey is cooked through, add the chicken stock, water, lentils, barley, garlic powder, thyme, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes.


You can use any type of lentils in this soup. Just keep in mind that red lentils will fall apart completely and the soup will be creamier. Green and brown lentils will stay intact.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1/6 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 372Total Fat 18.4gSaturated Fat 4.2gTrans Fat 0.2gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 80.6mgSodium 286.4mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 6gSugar 3.4gProtein 26g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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This recipe was first published on December 2, 2014. It was fully updated on December 11, 2020, to improve the flavor and the preparation method.

Ground turkey soup in a bowl. Garnished with red bell pepper and leeks slices.

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