Turkey meatball soup recipe is a hearty and healthy meal! Protein-packed quinoa, beans & vegetables give more nutrients to your daily dishes.
Meatballs are the ultimate comfort food, and they are a big hit in our home. I typically simmer them in a huge pot of marinara sauce and make a traditional Italian meatball recipe. However, now that temperatures are starting to cool down, I thought I would incorporate them into a big bowl of soup!
I wanted to try something different and healthier. This lean turkey meatball soup packs tons of protein from the poultry, beans, and quinoa. I also use a fool-proof technique called a panade to make the meatballs extra tender and juicy.
A one pot meal that is delicious and good for you, yes please!
Hey, it’s a yummy turkey meatball army waiting to jump into your belly! These cuties are made into smaller bites than I would usually form, about 1 tablespoon in size. The mixture consists of ground turkey, garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and lemon zest.
The lemon zest gives a bright citrus taste that complements a lightened up soup. A panade made from panko breadcrumbs and milk is also added to ensure each meatball stays juicy and has a nice meaty texture.
The tender meatballs sit in a chicken broth with red kidney and cannellini beans along with aromatic herbs. Simmering these miniature meatballs in soup broth allows them to infuse the flavors of the liquid quickly and are easier to bite with each spoonful.
I like to make this recipe in my Le Creuset Cassadou pan. It can hold 3 and 3/4-quarts, so it’s large enough to saute, braise and make soups all in one beautiful pot. It is the perfect size to feed a crowd.
Each bowl of turkey meatball soup is packed with nutrients so that you can enjoy each spoonful without guilt. The quinoa gives an extra boost of protein, plus fiber from the beans, and iron from the spinach.
You can also use these turkey meatballs for other dishes like a traditional tomato sauce with pasta, or try in a spicy Asian sriracha sauce, or even in a tomato tortellini soup. The meatballs are versatile so you can switch any spices and flavoring ingredients you like to fit the dish.
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How do you achieve healthy yet tender turkey meatballs?
A tender meatball always needs a base of ground meat, breadcrumbs, and eggs. I found using a ratio of 1 pound of lean ground turkey, 1/2 cup panade mixture, and 1 large egg works well. I then add other ingredients like Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and seasonings to help flavor the meatballs.
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Turkey Meatball Soup with Quinoa
- ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onions, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups unsalted chicken broth, or stock, plus more as needed
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 15 ounces cannellini beans, canned and rinsed
- 15 ounces dark red kidney beans, canned and rinsed
- 3 cups spinach leaves
- kosher salt, to season soup
- black pepper, to season soup
- Add rinsed quinoa and water to a pot. Bring water to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Line a large sheet pan with foil and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray. Lightly spray a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- To make a panade, in a small bowl combine panko bread crumbs and milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then use a fork to mix together to create a paste.
- In a bowl, combine the ground turkey, panade, garlic, onion, cheese, egg, parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Form turkey mixture into 1 tablespoon-sized small meatballs (about 30) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add cooked meatballs, chicken broth, thyme and rosemary. Bring broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa, cannelini beans, kidney beans, and spinach and cook just until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
- Add more chicken broth if desired. Season the soup salt and pepper to taste.
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