Whether it is right after Thanksgiving or Christmas, chances are that you have some cooked turkey leftovers. If you’re looking for leftover turkey recipes that you can make in a slow cooker, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a recipe for hearty turkey wild rice soup that’s sure to please.
Ingredients in this Healthy Turkey Soup
Oh yeah, if you came here looking for a hearty soup recipe, you’ve come to the right place. This is not the turkey soup recipe with wild rice that you’d expect. Sure you’ll find succulent chunks of cooked turkey, sweet carrots, celery, mushrooms and herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley and sage.
While this recipe calls for fresh herbs, you can substitute dry herbs if you wish. The ratio is one tablespoon fresh herbs to one teaspoon of dry.
About the Turkey
I bought my turkey online this year. It was easy to get what I needed directly from Perdue Farms. Their turkey contains no hormones or steroids, are fed an all vegetarian diet and include the giblets, which is perfect for making gravy and stocks.
I highly recommend roasting your holiday turkey. Starting with a roasted turkey meat will really compound the flavor in this healthy turkey soup.
In addition, when roasting the turkey, it’s a good idea to save any leftover oils, juices and uses the leftover carcass for preparing stock. Trust me on this and thank me later.
As far as the wild rice goes, so many people mix up wild rice blends with wild rice. Wild rice blends contain both traditional long or short-grained, white or brown rice in addition to wild rice.
Although wild rice has the name “rice”, it’s actually not rice at all. Wild rice is a grass and not actually related to rice. Because of this, cooked wild rice is a healthier choice with more vitamins, nutrients, less calories, more fiber, potassium and more, even when compared to brown varieties.
Slow Cooker Soup Recipe
So here’s the thing, while this is a slow cooker turkey wild rice soup, I prefer sautéing the vegetables and aromatics like celery, carrots, onions, garlic in a large pot with a little oil first to get the flavors going.
After that, add mushrooms, thyme, oregano and sage. It’s 30 minutes of stove top cooking time that you won’t regret. After that the recipe is pretty much a set it and forget it type of meal. Just add the cooked veggies to the slow cooker and add turkey, wild rice, seasonings and stock and you’re good to go.
Don’t add the parsley just yet though. That’s added at the very end (the last 10 minutes of cooking).
As far as cooking time goes, this turkey wild rice soup should cook on the low slow cooker setting for 4 hours. I wouldn’t recommend cooking it any longer than that as it affects the texture of the wild rice. Basically, it could get too soft and no one wants mushy wild rice in their soup.
The official printable recipe is down below.
Can I Use Brown or White Rice?
Ahh…now there’s a question. I write and cook recipes for holistic healthy living as well as flavor. As a result, traditional rice would not be my first preference for health reasons. But if that’s what you have on hand, just don’t use quick cooking rice because it will turn out mushy.
And if you’re insistent on using traditional rice in this recipe, brown rice would be a better option (nutritionally) than white.
Can I Use Chicken?
Whether you prefer chicken or just can’t get your hands on turkey right now, it’s an easy swap to use chicken instead of turkey in this recipe. Leftover whole chicken, chicken breast and dark chicken meat are all great swaps.
Save 15% on whole chicken, breasts, thighs and more.
How to Cook Turkey Wild Rice Soup on the Stove
I thought you’d never ask. What’s great about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable for cooking on the stove and you can do that in just two hours.
- In a large stock pot, place 2 tbsp of oil (can use leftover fat from cooked turkey).
- Heat oil to medium-low heat and add celery, carrots, onions and garlic.
- Cook low and slow for 15 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, thyme, oregano and sage.
- Cook for 15 minutes more.
- Add wild rice and let cook (without liquid) for an additional 10 minutes. This will help the wild rice to absorb the flavor.
- To pot, add turkey or chicken stock, salt, pepper and other seasonings (reserving parsley for last ten minutes of cooking)
- Simmer covered on medium-low heat for 1.5 hours.
- Stir in dried parsley during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Some Important Notes About Cooking Healthy Turkey Soup
After cooking this soup a few times, I’ve noticed that there is more of a textural contrast in the final product when cooking this soup on the stove. In other words, the wild rice has a little more of a bite, and the vegetables are slightly more firm in texture than in the slow cooker version. If you’re a “texture person”, then this is how you should cook the turkey and wild rice soup.
If you like the convenience of cooking your food in a slow cooker, then follow the recipe below.
- 4 cups cooked turkey (chopped; white and dark)
- 3 cups carrots (chopped)
- 2 cups celery (chopped)
- 1 cup wild rice
- 8 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 2 tbsp reserved turkey fat (or vegetable oil)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh sage
- 1 tbsp dry parsley
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Adobe or poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- In a large stock pot, place two tablespoons of oil.
- Heat to medium heat.
- Add celery, carrots, onions and garlic.
- Cook down for 15 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes more.
- Mix in thyme, oregano, and sage (rub between fingers first).
- Remove from heat.
- To the slow cooker, add sautéed vegetables with herbs, wild rice and broth (reserving parsley for last 10 minutes of cooking).
- Cook on low in slow cooker for 4 hours.
- Stir in the dry parsley within the last ten minutes of cooking before serving.
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