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! Originally published January 12, 2021.
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 has 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.
Turkey Vegetable Soup Ingredients
See the full recipe in the recipe card below!
- Ground turkey
- Seasonings (kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika, celery seed, basil, crushed red pepper, and dried thyme)
- Broth (chicken or turkey broth)
- Coleslaw mix (or fresh cabbage)
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Canned white beans
- Zucchini and yellow squash
- Garnishes (optional – chopped parsley, pesto, and parmesan cheese)
How to Make Weight Loss Vegetable 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 of 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.
How to Serve Ground Turkey Soup
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 or side dishes. It is hearty and will keep you full for hours so you don’t go a-snackin.
If you’re making this for deliciousness reasons instead of diet reasons, feel free to serve it alongside a pile of Instant Pot Brown Rice, a basket of Homemade Crescent Rolls, or a chunk of crusty buttered bread.
How to Store Diet Soup
Leftover weight loss vegetable soup will last in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then warm either in the microwave or on the stove.
Diet Soup Recipe FAQs
While that does depend on the type of soup you’re serving, soup in general is a great way to get tons of vitamins and nutrients in. A veggie-heavy, high-protein soup like this one is a great way to fill up in a healthy way.
This Ground Turkey Vegetable Soup is great for weight loss. It’s loaded with good-for-you vegetables, tons of lean protein thanks to the ground turkey, and tons of healthy seasonings. It’s filling, healthy, and so flavorful, so you won’t want to stop eating it on Day 2.
Totally! Well, maybe not just any soup. But this turkey vegetable soup definitely is. It’s such a simple, easy way to reach your everyday veggie needs. (To be clear, you shouldn’t eat ONLY soup. A healthy diet includes a wide variety of foods.)
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
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Turkey Vegetable 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-oz) can diced tomatoes , (I like fire roasted)
- 1 (14-oz) 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.
Girl, I have been making weight watchers soup for years, but never with turkey or this combo of spices, and I have to say this was the absolute best soup I made ever. Left off sweet potatoes (not a fan), but hands down, I will say it again, you knocked this one out of the park and I am forever a fan of this wonderful soup. And already look forward to having it again tomorrow :) I think the combination of these spices really elevated it to another level. My taste buds are totally satisfied and it still smells divine in my house. Now on to storing the leftovers.
It’s all about the spices right Wanda?? So glad this was a hit for you! I’m glad you could tweak it and make it your own. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave your feedback! You are awesome 🖤
Well here it is almost a month later and rather chilly here in the panhandle Florida, so started getting veggies prepped, etc. and proceeded to make it once again (cut in half since its just me and still plenty for leftovers). Already had previously browned some turkey, so just added it after sauteeing veggies, then added the rest. And tonight is when I fully realized that it is your combination of spices, etc. that really meld all these flavors together, I rarely even have to add salt since I use the reduced sodium broth (or no salt) because the herbs give it a plenty salty taste. Thanks again for a swell recipe :)
When I woke up this am I wasn’t feeling quite right. I was in the mood for soup and being on WW this looked perfect! While I was making it I took a home covid test and it was positive. Thank goodness I have not lost my sense of taste or smell as it is delicious! I used all fresh organic produce from our Farmer’s Market and followed the recipe to the letter. I have very mild symptoms and I know I will recover quickly noshing on this while in isolation. Thanks!
Hi! Thanks for the recipe. I’m new to cooking. Approximately how long should I cook the meat and herbs? Thanks for your help!
Hi Fallon! Good question! You want to cook it until the turkey is fully cooked, should take about 5-8 minutes. Just make sure it’s no longer pink and you’re good to go!
Made this soup today!! Amazing! I added black beans to the mix, absolutely love black beans.. This soup is very hearty and filling!! You will no be disappointed.!
Researching this recipe to possibly make for dinner tonight and just questioning the 169 kcal. Is it really 169 calories? Thanks!
Hi there, it’s mostly just veggies and turkey, so if you’re only eating a 1 cup serving, yes, it’s about 169! These numbers are estimates and I would encourage you to use your own calculations if you are really counting calories carefully right now. plug in the ingredients into any calorie calculator. Enjoy!
Even better than expected. Tasty and filling. The seasonings make the broth oh so good. I forgot the cabbage so I used cauliflower rice instead.
Cauliflower rice! That’s a great idea Bobbi. Thanks so much for coming back to comment! That helps me out so much!
This recipe is fantastic!! And so easy to make!
This was soooo tasty and filling! I added an extra can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and I think next time will add an additional onion. This recipe is a new favorite soup in our house!
What a great recipe. So flavorful and so many variations that can be made. Thank you.
Turkey vegetable soup was fantastic! Will make again and recommend the recipe to friends and family.
Turkey and bean soup was fantastic! Followed receipt and it was all perfect! Will definitely make again.
Could you use crushed tomatoes in place of diced? I like the flavor but don’t like chunks of tomatoes….
Hey Kristin yeah I think that would work great! Good idea, enjoy!
Looking for a recipe to make with ground turkey or ground chicken I found this recipe. Sounded good so I only made a half a batch. It was very tasty! As cabbage does not like me, I will probably make it again with spinach or kale.
What I appreciated the most was the way you wrote the recipe up! It was so easy to follow as you put the measurements of each ingredient in the instructions on how to make it. So many recipes you have to go back-and-forth to see when it is that you add next. Thank you very much for posting this recipe I will definitely make it again!
Loved this recipe! Thanks for sharing!
This looks delicious! But it does make a lot. Can this soup be frozen?
Hi Lynnette, yes it definitely can be frozen! Freeze in ziplocks for 3-4 months!
Made this delicious soup tonight. So much flavor! I will definitely be making it again. Thanks for the recipe