Comfort Food Turkey and Kale Soup

By Jan D’atri

You’re probably going to have leftover turkey this month, so I have just the recipe for you. How about a tummy-warming pot of turkey, baby kale and veggies in a flavorful chicken broth?

This soup is healthful and hearty and a great way to use up bread, veggies and turkey from your holiday feast. You can go with either white beans (like northern whites or cannellini beans) or pearl (Israeli) couscous. Also, I’ve just discovered a new variety of kale. It’s called baby kale and it’s sold in bags of soft, tender leaves minus the tough stems—perfect for this soothing soup! If you have leftover bread, you can grill it up with a little olive oil and serve on the side or make savory croutons for your soup. I know it’s not officially winter, but it’s getting cool enough to declare it soup weather and, frankly, I think all of our tummies could use a break right about now. This pot of comfort food will hit the spot.



– 2 tablespoons extra virgin oil

– 1 large sweet yellow onion, finely diced

– 1 large stalk celery, finely diced

– 1 cup leek, diced fine

– 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced

– 1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

– 4 heaping cups kale, stems removed,
cut into small pieces

– 4 cups cooked turkey pieces, shredded or chopped

– 6 cups chicken broth

– 1 can (15 ounces) white beans or 1 cup
pearl (Israeli) couscous

– 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine

– 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

– Salt and pepper to taste

For croutons:

– 4 cups bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

– 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

– 1 tablespoon butter, melted

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 teaspoon pepper

– 1 cup cheese (like pecorino Romano, Asiago or Parmesan) coarsely grated


In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery, leek and carrot until tender. Stir in tomatoes, kale, turkey and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in beans (with juice) or pearl couscous. Simmer for about 5 minutes (or until couscous is cooked). Meanwhile, make croutons. In a bowl, toss bread cubes with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Spread cubes on a baking sheet and place under broiler (about 375 degrees) tossing once or twice until golden brown. Remove from broiler but keep broiler on.

When soup is done, season soup with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Garnish with basil.

Option No. 1: Divide soup between four oven-safe soup bowls.

Top each bowl of soup with croutons. Sprinkle a 1/4 cup grated cheese over croutons for each bowl. Place bowls in a baking sheet and return to broiler.  Broil just until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Serve piping hot.

Option No. 2: Simply serve soup with grilled bread on the side.