Weight Loss Soup (Turkey Vegetable Soup)
A Weight Loss Soup recipe that is packed full of veggies! This homemade Turkey Vegetable soup is really low calorie because it’s basically a bunch of veggies, broth, and ground turkey. Ground turkey is a great way to bring in tons of flavor! So you will actually want to eat it! It’s really quite delicious, and the first meal I make whenever I kick off a diet!
Eric and I were sitting at the table working earlier today, when a truly terrible song started playing on the radio. I started making gagging sounds in the background, knowing it was likely a David Bowie song. (Eric been obsessed lately). Anyway, I stopped paying attention and then half a minute later I realized “hey, I like this part! This song is okay toward the end!” No, said Eric, I changed the song. This is the Strokes.
Well, so much for that. I thought maybe good ol David was growing on me. I think I’m just not cut out for extreme 80s music.
Eric has been on a HUGE David Bowie kick the last few months (no doubt started from this scene in the movie Frances Ha, a fabulous film by Greta Gerwig, the one who did the latest Little Women rendition.) He’s even reading a book all about David Bowie right now. Don’t get me wrong, I like all of his main hit songs, like the Modern Love song playing on that clip. It’s the obscure ones that make me want to claw my eyes out.
What is Weight Loss Soup?
Have you heard of Weight Loss Soup? It’s from one of those diet trends from the 80s (the 80s: a strange era indeed). I told my brother I was making Weight Loss Soup and he said, oh, like the Celery Soup mom used to always make when she was on a diet? I don’t remember any celery soup and quite frankly it sounds disgusting, unless there is a lot a cream involved, which would definitely make it not-so-diet. (Mom? Celery Soup?? Tell us more.)
Basically the idea behind this diet (called the GM Diet) was to make a really basic soup, mostly cabbage and broth, that you can eat anytime during the diet because it’s super low calorie. The first day you eat all fruit. The second day you eat all veggies. Day four of the diet says, “Consume only bananas and milk.” That’s where they lost me. I’m no nutritionist, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster!! Bananas and milk?? Wth?
The 80s were weird guys. (Just try listening to some obscure David Bowie songs.) But they were onto something with the Weight Loss Soup. Broth and a ton of vegetables really is a super low calorie, delicious meal option if you are trying to lose some weight. I’m not a doctor; don’t take diet advice from me! This soup is delicious and low calorie, and it’s the first thing I make every time I kick off a new healthy eating plan. I turn to it when I get bored with salad. It has about 250 calories per serving, if you divide it into 12 servings.
I’ve rounded the soup out with some ground turkey to make it nice and hearty. Yes, of course this adds more calories! But it will keep you full longer, and it adds a ton of flavor, making your soup taste restaurant quality (yes, really!) I got the turkey tip from Des and Kadee over at Oh So Delicioso, their recipe inspired today’s version! If you are not following them, you should, they have amazing recipes! Love following them on Instagram too, OhSoDelicioso.
How to make Weight Loss Soup
Here are the main ingredients you will need for Weight Loss Soup! Basically the entire produce section at the store.
These veggies are mostly suggestions. You can replace ones you don’t like, or omit them entirely and add a little extra of the other ones. No soup nazis around here! Yes soup for you!
This recipe calls for 2 pounds of turkey, but you can use 1 pound or 1 and 1/2 pounds and it will still be really great. Drain the turkey fat and add in some garlic and spices. This brings in tons of flavor and is basically calorie free!
Next add in a heck-ton of broth. I like to use either chicken broth or turkey broth, or a combination! This time I used 8 cups chicken broth that I had on hand, then another 4 cups of water with 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base. I LOVE this turkey base, it brings so much amazing flavor. You can use all chicken broth if that’s what you have, or use water and either chicken/turkey base. 1 cup of water + 1 teaspoon base = 1 cup broth. OR, if you happen to have a turkey carcass, use this Homemade Turkey Stock. (if you are throwing away your turkey carcass after Thanksgiving, you’re a criminal.)
Next chop up all your veggies and add them in, adding the hardest vegetables first so they start cooking right away.
You can add as much cabbage as you want, really. The original Weight Loss Soup was mostly cabbage and broth because cabbage is super low calorie. (Ew.) This time I added about 2 cups, but I’ve definitely added the whole bag before. You can of course chop your own cabbage, I’m just lazy. The coleslaw bags are so convenient!
Wait until your carrots are almost tender before adding in the squash. They only take a few minutes to cook, we don’t want them getting mushy.
I love to garnish this soup with pesto! It is a powerhouse of flavor! Guess why, because it’s full of nuts and cheese and oil and other calorie-laden ingredients. Go figure! Leave it out if you are really counting calories. Parmesan is great on this soup too, but see above about calories. I also love to garnish with parsley, and that one is calorie free basically!
I promise though, this soup is so good, even without any garnishes. It is hearty and will keep you full for hours so you don’t go a-snackin. I know you. (I know me too!)
More healthy-ish soup recipes you are going to love!
- How to Make Turkey Stock from the Bones << if you happen to cook a turkey, use the broth to make today’s soup. YUM!
- Chicken, White Bean, and Kale Soup << this is another great healthy soup! No cream.
- Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles << this is a classic for a reason. So comforting!
- Creamy Golden Cauliflower Soup << this is another great low calorie soup! It has carrot juice and almond milk.
- Split Pea Soup with Smoked Gouda << one of my all time favorites.
- 10 Minute Wonton Soup << all you need are a few Asian pantry staples for this soup! It’s so fast and easy.
- Simple Asparagus Soup << when you find your expensive asparagus at the bottom of the produce drawer and you are 1 day too late, make this soup. It’s legit.
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup from Oh So Delicioso
- Hearty Pumpkin Soup from Best Friends for Frosting
- Easy Ham and Bean Soup from Seasons and Suppers
Turkey Weight Loss Soup
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced (at least 1 tablespoon)
- 2 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 10-12 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 4-5 large carrots, chopped
- 1 & 1/2 cups celery, chopped
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups coleslaw cabbage, or more to taste
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
- 1 14 ounce can white beans
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- chopped parsley, to garnish (optional; low calorie!)
- pesto, to garnish individual bowls (optional and not low calorie!)
- parmesan cheese to garnish, optional (not low cal!)
- In a very large soup pot (at least 6 quart capacity), add 2 pounds ground turkey and a chopped onion. Bring to a saute over medium high heat, crumbling the turkey.
- Turn off the heat and drain the fat. (I like to do this by lining a small bowl with foil, tilting the pot to the side, and removing the grease with a spoon to the bowl. Then I refrigerate it until the fat is hardened and throw it away.)
- Turn the heat back on to medium. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and all the spices: 2 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (add less if using table salt), 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme if using dried thyme. Cook the mixture until the spices and garlic are fragrant.
- Add 10-12 cups broth. I used 8 cups chicken broth that I had on hand, then another 4 cups of water with 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Turkey Base. I LOVE this turkey base, it brings so much amazing flavor. You can use all chicken broth if that's what you have, or use water and either chicken/turkey base. 1 cup of water + 1 teaspoon base = 1 cup broth.
- Turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Add all the vegetables except the squash. Start with the harder veggies and add them as you go: chop the carrots and add them in, then the celery, sweet potato, and 2 cups coleslaw cabbage. All of these veggie amounts can be adjusted. Don't like sweet potato? Leave it out and add more carrots. Soup is very forgiving. Add the thyme sprigs along with the broth if you are using fresh thyme.
- Add the can of diced tomatoes, including the juice. Drain the can of beans and add to the pot.
- Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to a medium simmer, so it's bubbling but nothing too wild. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the carrots and sweet potato are almost fork tender.
- Add the chopped zucchini and yellow squash. Continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes, until the squash is tender.
- If any foam has gathered on top of your soup, you can skim it off with a spoon. If using fresh thyme, remove the stems and discard.
- Serve the soup hot! I like to garnish each bowl with a spoonful of pesto and some shredded parmesan (although that does add extra calories). Parsley is a delicious garnish that is calorie free.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Follow instructions through step 3 (sauteing garlic and spices with turkey).
- Add mixture to a slow cooker, then add all the broth and veggies except the zucchini and yellow squash.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours, until the carrots are tender.
- Add the zucchini and squash and continue to cook for another half hour or so, until tender.
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