Slow Cooker Turkey Soup with Spinach and Lemon uses leftover turkey; replace the orzo with cauliflower rice if you want a lower-carb soup!
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I know there are a lot of turkey soup recipes in the world, but this Slow Cooker Turkey Soup with Spinach and Lemon was so delicious I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I gave some of the soup to my sister Pam, and everyone at her house pronounced it to be a keeper; in fact Pam asked when the recipe would be on the blog. The soup uses leftover turkey, but of course, if you don’t have leftover turkey, you can certainly make this with chicken instead.
This is a soup where you simmer the stock, vegetables, and dried herbs in the slow cooker for quite a while and then add the orzo (or cauliflower rice), diced cooked turkey (or chicken), and spinach at the end. The long simmering builds flavor, and you can simmer the soup all day, or do it for a shorter time on high, which is what I did. Adding the cooked turkey towards the end of the cooking time eliminates having the turkey meat shred apart, and I thought this was a fresher take on the traditional turkey soups you see this time of year.
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- homemade turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned chicken broth (affiliate link)
- Poultry Seasoning (affiliate link)
- Dried Thyme (affiliate link)
- fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Turkey Soup Base (affiliate link), optional but recommended
- carrots, preferably organic carrots that don’t need to be peeled
- whole wheat orzo
- diced cooked turkey or chicken
- spinach leaves
- fresh-squeezed lemon juice, I used my fresh-frozen lemon juice
How can you make a low-carb version of this soup?
If you’d like to make a low-carb version of this tasty soup just use a few less carrots and replace the orzo with Cauliflower Rice (affiliate link).
Want More Turkey Soup Ideas?
Check out Low-Carb and Keto Turkey Soup Recipes for lots more ideas for tasty soups with turkey, chicken, or ground turkey!
How to make this Slow Cooker Turkey Soup:
(This is just a summary; scroll down for complete printable recipe.)
- Cut up about 1 1/2 cups each of diced celery and onion. I kept the pieces fairly small.
- Cut up 1 1/2 cups carrots, or use less carrots and a bit more celery for low-carb version.
- Put the diced onion, diced celery, diced carrots, homemade turkey stock (or homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth in a can), poultry seasoning, dried thyme, and a little black pepper into the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours (or 8-9 hours on low if you’re not going to be home.)
- I like to add about one tablespoon of Penzeys Turkey Soup Base for extra flavor. (The soup base is on the salty side, so use homemade stock without lots of salt or low sodium canned chicken stock stock if you’re using this.) Just leave this out if you don’t want to use it.
- After the soup has simmered for 4 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low, it’s time to add the orzo. I use whole wheat orzo, which is great for soup. You might be tempted to add more orzo than 1/2 cup, but it expands quite a bit.
- If you want a low-carb soup, use about 1 cup of cauliflower rice instead.
- Add the orzo or cauliflower rice to the slow cooker; then chop 3-4 cups of diced turkey and add that.
- If you’ve been cooking on low turn the slow cooker to high and cook about 30 minutes, or until the orzo or fresh riced cauliflower is soft with still a tiny bit of bite. (For frozen cauliflower rice I would check after 20 minutes.)
- Then chop up a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves (next time I might use a little more.)
- Add the spinach to the slow cooker and cook until it’s no longer all floating on top (about 15-20 minutes.)
- Stir in the lemon juice, cook 5 minutes more, and serve.
Even More Tasty Soups with Leftover Turkey:
Turkey and Cannellini Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Creamy Mexican Turkey Soup ~ Recipe Girl
Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Turkey Soups ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
- 8 cups homemade turkey stock (see notes)
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 T Turkey Soup Base, optional (see notes)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (chopped small)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery (chopped small)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots, preferably organic carrots that don’t need to be peeled (see notes)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo (see notes)
- 4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken (cut a little larger than the vegetables)
- 3 large handfuls spinach leaves
- 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (see notes)
- Put the homemade turkey stock or homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker and turn it on to heat while you chop the onion, celery, and carrots.
- Add the chopped veggies to the slow cooker, as well as the Poultry Seasoning (affiliate link), Dried Thyme (affiliate link), fresh-ground black pepper, and Turkey Soup Base (affiliate link), if using.
- Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8-9 hours.
- After the stock and veggies has simmered, add the 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo or 1 cup cauliflower rice (and turn the slow cooker to HIGH if you have been cooking on low.)
- Chop the leftover turkey into pieces slightly larger than the vegetables, and add to the soup.
- Cook soup about 30 minutes for orzo or fresh rice cauliflower, or until the orzo or cauliflower rice is soft with still a slight bite to it. (If you use frozen cauliflower rice or pre-cooked cauliflower rice I’d check it after 20 minutes.)
- While the orzo (or cauliflower rice) and turkey simmers in the soup, pull stems off the spinach leaves (optional, but I don’t like having a bite of stem in my soup), wash spinach in salad spinner, and coarsely chop the spinach.
- When the orzo or cauliflower rice is nearly done, add the spinach and cook until it’s done. (At first all the spinach floats on top of the soup, but it’s done when it starts to sink down in.)
- Stir in the lemon juice and cook 5 minutes more.
- Serve hot. I’m guessing this freezes just fine, but we didn’t have any leftovers to try freezing it!
You can use homemade turkey stock or homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth in a can for this recipe.
I love Penzey’s Turkey Soup Base, but the soup base is fairly salty so it’s important to use low-sodium stock if you’re using it.
Use one cup cauliflower rice for low-carb version of this recipe. Use less carrots and more celery for low-carb version.
I used a Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot Slow Cooker (affiliate link).
Recipe created by Kalyn.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 371Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 523mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 6gSugar: 8gProtein: 34g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Slow Cooker Turkey Soup with Spinach and Lemon is loaded with healthful low-glycemic ingredients, and would be suitable for Phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet. If you want a lower-carb soup, replace the orzo with cauliflower rice.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest or Facebook to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click here for Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was posted in 2013. It was last updated with more information in 2021.
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