Turkey Meatball Soup Recipe with pasta and vegetables is super easy to make and is healthy. Kids love anything with meatballs, so this soup should be a crowd pleaser.
I posted this turkey meatball soup a while back, but since then a Martha Stewart part of me grew up. This meatball soup with pasta and vegetables is great any time of the year! I have a vivid memory of my grandma making it during hot summer days.
We would play outside all morning, then she would call us for lunch. You come in the kitchen and here it is – a bowl homemade chicken noodle soup, buckwheat soup or borscht. Steam going up in the air, the smell of fresh herbs, with a piece of fresh and soft Ukrainian rye bread. Take me back!
My absolutely favourite part of this meatball vegetable soup is leftovers. I usually double the recipe and we eat it for a few days. Usually twice on the day I make it. Kids love this healthy soup and have some right away after school and later on for dinner.
Ingredients for Turkey Meatball Soup
- Meatballs: Meatballs are super versatile! You can use any ground meat like chicken, beef or pork to make meatballs. Onion adds flavor and makes meatballs juicy. And egg holds meatballs together.
- Veggies: Carrots, celery, potatoes.
- Pasta: Any short pasta works – white, whole wheat or gluten free. I love using brown rice pasta for when making a soup because I feel like kids are eating brown rice and not pasta.
- Broth: You can use chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or from cartons. I dilute organic low sodium bouillon cubes with water because they are cheap and convenient. Or learn how to make chicken broth – so easy! Grandma also always made soup with water.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh parsley or dill are my top two flavor boosters for broth based soups. They add another layer of flavor. Green onion is good too!
How to Make Turkey Meatball Soup
I am using 5-6 quart Dutch oven because it makes this soup one pot meal. Alternatively you can use skillet for frying and then large pot for soup.
Make meatballs: In a food processor or blender, puree onion, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, you can use grater to grate an onion. Then mix with ground turkey and fry meatballs for 1 minute per side in batches, removing onto a plate and setting aside.
- Saute carrots and celery: Add a bit more oil and saute veggies in the meat drippings, this will make them more flavorful.
- Deglaze pot with broth: Now we want to add broth and bring it to a boil. First of all, to incorporate delicious drippings and brown bits. Secondly, we always want to add veggies and pasta to a boiling liquid in order to cook properly.
- Add potatoes, meatballs and pasta: Once you add them to a boiling broth, you want to wait for mixture to boil again. Then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 12 minutes.
- Let soup rest and add fresh herbs: Turn off heat, so cooking slowly subsides. Let it rest for 10 minutes for flavours to marry each other and then add fresh parsley or dill.
- Spinach: Like with lentil spinach soup or chicken lentil soup recipe, you can throw in a few handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach at the end, stir and it will wilt. My kids are not fans and my grandma never had it on hand, that’s why I skipped this time.
- Orzo: You can use orzo pasta that will make this soup an Italian wedding soup. especially if you add spinach and Parmesan cheese.
- Skip browning meatballs: Original recipe I had posted for a while didn’t call for browning meatballs. You can totally skip it in a rush, I like a bit more flavor. In a step where broth is boiling with veggies, drop meatballs carefully as you roll them into boiling broth.
- Leftover cooked grain: Skip pasta and add about 3 cups of any leftover cooked grains you have in the fridge. Like quinoa, buckwheat, couscous or even cooked pasta.
Storing and Reheating
Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you have room in the fridge, store right in the pot. Pasta does get more soggy with time and soaks up liquids. You might have to add more broth or water and a bit more seasonings to taste to compensate for added liquid, when reheating.
Freezing? Because of soggy pasta, I do not recommend to freeze this soup. If you plan on freezing, you can cook pasta separately and add to individual bowls.
Reheating: Reheat desired amount of soup in a small pot by simmering on low for 5-7 minutes. Don’t let soup boil vigorously to disturb already delicate structure of potatoes and pasta.
More Favorite Soup Recipes
You may also love to browse these 45 ground turkey recipes!
Turkey Meatball Soup
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 large celery stalks chopped
- 2 cups potatoes 11 oz, cubed
- 8 cups water + bouillon cubes or vegetable/chicken stock low sodium
- 2 tsp oil for frying
- 2 cups short pasta like shells, elbows 6 oz, uncooked
- 3 bay leaves
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, dill or green onions finely chopped
- Make meatballs: In a food processor or blender, puree onion, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, you can use grater to grate onion and mix with other meatball ingredients.
- Transfer to a medium bowl along with ground turkey and mix well with your hands.
- Preheat 5-6 quart Dutch oven or skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Alternatively you can use skillet for frying and then large pot for soup. Dutch oven makes this soup one pot.
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon, form golf size meatballs and add in a single layer to the pot with oil, leaving some room between balls for easy flipping.
- Fry for a minute or so or until browned (happens fast), carefully flip with small silicone spatula, and fry for another minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat this step with remaining meat and adding more oil. Set meatballs aside.
- Make soup: Add 2 tsp oil, carrots and celery; saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add bouillon cubes + water or stock, cover and bring to a boil.
- Add potatoes, meatballs, pasta, bay leaves, 3/4 tsp salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to very low and cook for 12 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let soup sit for 10 minutes covered. Flavours will really "marry each other" and soup will thicken a bit and pasta "get there".
- Add parsley, stir and serve hot.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat desired amount by simmering on low heat while covered.
- Freeze: I do not recommend to freeze this soup because it contains pasta. If you plan on freezing, you can cook pasta separately and add to individual bowls.
- Spinach: If you like, you can throw in a few handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach at the end, stir and it will wilt.
- Other meat: You can also use ground chicken, beef or pork instead of turkey.
- Pasta: I used brown rice pasta this time. Any pasta works! Even long pasta like spaghetti can be broken and used. You can use orzo pasta that will make this soup an Italian wedding soup.
- Soup thickens with time: It is normal to see the soup thickening more in a few hours and next day. You can always add more broth to thin it out.
- Skip browning meatballs: Original recipe I had posted for a while didn’t call for browning meatballs. You can totally skip it in a rush, I like a bit more flavor.
- Leftover cooked grain: Skip pasta and add about 3 cups of any leftover cooked grains you have in the fridge.