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Leftover Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Nov 23, 2019

It’s the day after Thanksgiving…time to find new use for holiday leftovers, especially leftover turkey.  While I love Thanksgiving Day turkey, I think the “day after” turkey is even better.  Why not transform your leftover turkey giving it new life in a new way by making a quick and flavorful meal?

Leftover turkey and wild rice soup is a perfect solution for putting it to good use. Just think how nice a warm bowl of soup will welcome you home after a long day at work or a day of shopping for Christmas gifts. Heart-healthy and brimming with antioxidant-rich veggies, this soup eats more like a meal. Add in additional leftover vegetables from your Thanksgiving feast for even more nutrient power.

Next, wild rice adds a nutty flavor plus extra protein and fiber in this creamy, hearty soup. I also added in farro, an ancient grain that’s been around for a long time – over 2,000 years! This hearty grain – a staple in the ancient Roman diet and still very popular in Italy today – can be used in any recipe that calls for brown rice or wheat berries.  It’s extremely nutritious as one cup provides 8 grams of fiber and 2 grams of muscle building protein and is a good source of iron.

Another important nutrient found in this rich-tasting, full-of-flavor soup is bone-building calcium, thanks to milk providing a creamier taste and texture.

Finally, let’s talk turkey…your Thanksgiving turkey provides a lot more than just protein. Here’s a nutritional breakdown of just how nutritious this bird really is: A three ounce portion of roasted turkey breast without the skin provides about 120 calories, 25 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of fat. Turkey also contains B vitamins and minerals, including a significant amount of selenium, which also acts as an antioxidant. And turkey supplies smaller amounts of zinc, magnesium, and potassium. For dark meat lovers, you’ll get more vitamins and minerals, but it’s also higher in calories and fat.

And for anyone who is not particularly crazy about turkey meat, cooked chicken breast is a perfect substitute you can use in place of turkey if you prefer.

Whether for quick a lunch or hearty supper, this soup is for you. Just add fresh bread, use up the rest of the cranberry sauce or sweet potato casserole as side dishes and you’re set for a cozy fall meal making good use of Thanksgiving leftovers.

Photo by Cheryl Mussatto

Leftover Turkey and Wild Rice Soup – Serving size – 1 ¾ cups; makes 6 servings

Nutrition per serving: Calories – 312; Total Fat – 9 grams; Protein – 24 grams; Carbohydrates  – 34 grams; Fiber – 4 grams; Sodium – 454 milligrams


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 medium stalks celery, chopped

8 ounces of white button mushrooms, chopped (about 3 cups)

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons flour

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 cup wild rice

1 cup farro

2 ½ cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; cook, stirring until the vegetables are coated and beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
  3. Add broth and water
  4. Add wild rice and farro and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.
  5. Add green beans; cover and continue cooking until the beans are soft and the rice and farro are tender, about 10 minutes more.
  6. Add turkey (or chicken), milk, lemon juice, and thyme. Cook, stirring until warmed through.

Inspired by Diabetic Living Magazine

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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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