Turkey lentil soup is a perfect way to use up leftover cooked turkey. This soup requires minimal prep and delivers maximum flavor. Savory, herby and warming, quick cooking barley makes this one healthy and hearty.
This mellow soup filled with vegetables, lentils, barley and plenty of flavor is a perfect place to use some of that leftover turkey or even leftover Turkey Breast.
And if you’ve made your own stock from the turkey carcass, the flavor will be even richer. Canned chicken stock fills in nicely for this quick turkey lentil soup recipe.
Tip: if you’re using canned chicken broth, place a leftover turkey wing or turkey leg into the soup while simmering. The flavor from the skin, bones and meat will elevate the flavor. Remove the wing or leg before serving.
And no need to wait to reserve this as a Thanksgiving soup. Make this all season long using a rotisserie chicken.
Let’s take a look.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken Broth.
- Canned Tomatoes.
- Fresh Vegetables: Celery, carrots and onion.
- Turkey: This soup is perfect to use left over Thanksgiving turkey.
- Quick Cooking Barley.
- Seasonings: Basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
- Broth: If you’ve made turkey broth from your Thanksgiving turkey carcass, please us it. Vegetable broth also works well here.
- Lentils: If you can’t find Puy Lentils, choose any colored lentil from the bulk aisle section. Avoid red lentils as they cook too fast and will dissolve too quickly.
- Turkey: Substitute cooked chicken or use meat from a rotisserie chicken.
- Butter: Substitute olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Barley: This recipe calls for quick cooking barley. If you use regular barley, adjust cooking time per package instructions.
- Brown Rice: Brown rice is a good substitution for barley. Just adjust cooking time according to package instructions.
About French Puy Lentils. Lentilles de Puy are known for their small size and refined taste. They are prized by chefs not only for their peppery flavor, but they also have less starch which make they sturdy. They won’t get mushy as easily. If you can find them, I highly encourage you to use them in this soup.
How do you know if you’re getting official Puy lentils? Look for an AOP seal on the package, which certifies they’re truly Lentilles du Puy from France.
Step by Step Instructions … It’s Easy
- Step 1: Melt butter or heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sliced carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Add onion and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Step 2: Add Chicken Broth, tomatoes, water and spices. Stir until all is mixed together. Add lentils and cook according to package instructions.
- Step 3: 10 minutes before lentils are to be done, add quick cooking barley, and turkey or chicken. Simmer until barley and lentils are tender.
I like to use petite diced tomatoes. Simply because they’re smaller cut in size. However, any brand of chopped tomatoes will work for this recipe.
Yes, if you want to make ground turkey lentil soup rather than using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, purchase 1 pound of ground turkey. Add the ground turkey at the same time you add the vegetables. You can also use ground chicken or a rotisserie chicken.
No, barley is a grain that contains the protein gluten. If you’d like to make this gluten free, double the amount of lentils and omit the barley.
You don’t have to, but soaking them will reduce the cooking time for them to become tender. The recipe card for this recipe does not include Instructions for soaking. That decision is up to you.
Storage and Reheating
This recipe makes a large batch. Store any leftovers in an air tight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or up to 4 days if you’ve just cooked your turkey within the past day. You can freeze Turkey Lentil Soup up to three months.
TIP: Freeze soup in a freezer zip-lock type bag. That way you can easily squeeze out the air and store the bag flat in the freezer, which saves room.
To reheat, that in the refrigerator overnight and reheat stovetop or microwave.
Recipe for Turkey Lentil Soup
The lentils and barley give this turkey soup an earthy down home flavor. A true comfort food recipe that your family will love. Bright and healthy with big chunks of carrot and celery, your family will love this recipe.
Related Soup Recipes
And don’t miss my Soup Category, you’ll find lots of brothy goodness there. Including the most popular soup recipe on my site, Anthony Bourdain’s New Mexico Style Beef Chili.
Easy Turkey Lentil Soup
- 1/2 cup Lentils French, regular green or red lentils
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable/canola oil
- 2 carrots peeled and thick sliced
- 2 ribs celery sliced cross ways
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water 2 – 3 cups water, depending on how brothy you want the soup.
- 1 turkey wing or leg
- 16 ounce Canned chopped tomatoes undrained
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups Roasted Turkey or Chicken Cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup Quick Cooking Barley
- Rinse lentils in a colander before using.
- Melt butter or heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sliced carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Add onion and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add Chicken Broth, tomatoes, water and spices. Stir until all is mixed together.
- If you want, add a whole turkey wing or leg. The bone and remaining meat will add flavor to the broth. You'll remove it when ready to serve.
- Add lentils and cook according to package instructions. 10 minutes before lentils are to be done, add quick cooking barley, and turkey or chicken. Simmer until barley and lentils are tender.
- Serve and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Some grated Parmesan cheese is nice here. These are both optional.
Lentil Soup with Turkey … It’s what’s for Dinner
Sometimes the leftovers recipes are the best part of making Thanksgiving dinner. Your soup sounds delicious! Finding real Lentils du Puy is difficult nearby so I usually buy them online. So worth the effort!
Agness of Run Agness Run says
I’m definitely going to prepare this soup from a leftover turkey which always stays! Is it possible to use plain water instead of white wine, Lea?
John/Kitchen Riffs says
Love any and all lentils (red ones are particularly nice, although I agree the French ones are in a class of their own). We’re making a lot of soup at the moment, and I know I’ll be doing some sort of soup with leftover turkey — probably this one! Thanks so much.
Good looking bowl of soup LA. After our soup bar evening and eating the leftovers, I’m about souped out.