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Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe

Indulge in the heartwarming flavors of this Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo. It's a comforting dish that brings together tender turkey meatballs, nutritious spinach, and delectable orzo pasta in a savory chicken broth. It's a perfect meal for any day of the week.

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe
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The ingredients for this recipe are generally common pantry items. However, orzo might not be readily available in some homes. It's a type of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. When shopping, check the pasta aisle for orzo. If unavailable, you can substitute it with any small pasta like ditalini or macaroni.

Ingredients for Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Bread: Used as a binder in the meatball mixture to help it hold its shape.

Milk: Adds moisture and richness to the meatballs.

Egg: Acts as a binding agent in the meatballs.

Parmesan cheese: Gives an extra umami flavor to both the meatballs and the soup.

Ground turkey: The main protein source in this soup. Ground turkey makes for tender, flavorful meatballs.

Olive oil: Used for browning the meatballs and sautéing the veggies in the soup.

Celery and carrots: Aromatics that add depth of flavor to the soup.

Chicken stock: The base of the soup. It brings all the flavors together.

Orzo pasta: Adds texture and heartiness to the soup.

Baby spinach: Adds a pop of color and a boost of nutrients to the soup.

One reader, Clemmie Boyle says:

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This turkey meatball soup with spinach and orzo recipe is a game-changer! The meatballs are juicy and flavorful, and the orzo adds a delightful texture. The spinach brings a fresh, vibrant touch. It's a comforting and satisfying meal that's perfect for chilly evenings. Highly recommend trying it out!

Clemmie Boyle

Techniques Required

How to make the meatball mixture: Combine the bread or roll, milk, egg, parmesan, ground turkey, salt, pepper, and parsley in a bowl. Work the mixture with clean hands until well blended.

How to shape meatballs: With wet hands, shape 2 teaspoons of the mixture into small walnut-sized meatballs (1 1/2-inches across). Repeat to make 30 to 34 meatballs in total.

How to brown the meatballs (optional): Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of the meatballs for 3 minutes until browned on the bottom, then turn and cook for 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

How to make the soup: Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Add the stock, bring to a boil, then add the meatballs and orzo. Simmer for 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the orzo is tender.

How to cook the spinach: Add the spinach to the soup and cook for 2 minutes, or just until it wilts.

How to serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan.

How To Make Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Thanks to the ground turkey, this meatball soup is heavy on flavor but light on calories. It’s made more filling by some fresh spinach and orzo pasta.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



For Meatballs:

  • 2sliceswhite bread,or 1 soft dinner roll, about 3 inches across, left out overnight
  • ¼cupwhole milk,or reduced fat milk
  • 1largeegg
  • ¼cupParmesan cheese,grated
  • 1lbground turkey,(preferably dark meat or at least 85% lean)
  • 1tspsalt
  • ½tspblack pepper
  • 2tbspfresh parsley,chopped
  • 2tbspolive oil

For Soup:

  • 2tbspolive oil
  • 2stalkscelery,halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3mediumcarrots,thinly sliced
  • ½tspsalt
  • ¼tspground pepper
  • 8cupschicken stock
  • ½cuporzo pasta
  • 5ozbaby spinach,(with any long stems removed)
  • 1cupparmesan,grated, for serving


  1. Shred the bread or roll with fingers into half-inch pieces. In a bowl, combine the bread or roll, milk, egg, Parmesan, turkey, salt, pepper, and parsley. With a clean hand, work the mixture until it is well blended.

  2. With wet hands, shape 2 teaspoons of the mixture into a small walnut-sized meatball. Repeat, making 30 to 34 meatballs total.

  3. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When it is hot, add half the meatballs and cook for 3 minutes, or until they are browned on the bottom.

  4. Turn and cook 2 minutes more, until browned on the other side. Remove from the pan. (The meatballs will not be cooked through.)

  5. Cook the remaining meatballs in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same way.

  6. In a soup pot, heat the oil. Add the celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and orzo. Return the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan.

  7. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the meatballs are cooked through and the orzo is tender (cut the meatballs in half to check them; taste the orzo).

  8. Add the spinach to the soup and cook 2 minutes more, or just until it wilts.

  9. Taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.


  • Calories: 525.92kcal
  • Fat: 28.41g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.47g
  • Trans Fat: 0.08g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.23g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.94g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.57g
  • Fiber: 2.39g
  • Sugar: 8.39g
  • Protein: 38.67g
  • Cholesterol: 114.85mg
  • Sodium: 1259.44mg
  • Calcium: 463.99mg
  • Potassium: 881.27mg
  • Iron: 3.27mg
  • Vitamin A: 474.30µg
  • Vitamin C: 11.20mg

Technique Tip for Making Turkey Meatball Soup With Spinach and Orzo

When making the meatballs, it's important to not overwork the mixture. Overmixing can lead to tough, dense meatballs. Mix just until the ingredients are combined for tender, juicy results. Also, using wet hands to shape the meatballs prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands, making the process easier and cleaner.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Turkey Meatball Soup

Prep ahead: Prepare the meatball mixture and shape the meatballs the night before. Store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Use pre-made meatballs: If you're short on time, consider using pre-made turkey meatballs from the store to cut down on prep time.

Multi-task: While the soup is simmering, use that time to prepare the spinach or set the table to make the most of your time in the kitchen.

Invest in a food processor: Use a food processor to quickly chop the celery and carrots for the soup, saving time on prep work.

Organize ingredients: Before starting the recipe, gather and organize all the ingredients and kitchen tools you'll need to streamline the cooking process.

Opt for frozen spinach: Consider using frozen spinach instead of fresh to save time on washing and chopping the greens.

Substitute Ingredients For Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe

  • ground turkey - Substitute with ground chicken: Ground chicken can be used as a lean and flavorful alternative to ground turkey, providing a similar texture and taste in the meatballs.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino Romano: Pecorino Romano is a suitable substitute for parmesan cheese, offering a similar salty and tangy flavor profile that complements the meatballs and soup.

  • orzo pasta - Substitute with small pasta shells: Small pasta shells can be used as a substitute for orzo, providing a similar bite and texture in the soup while still absorbing the flavors of the broth and vegetables.

Best Way to Present Turkey Meatball Soup With Spinach and Orzo

  1. Elevate the meatball size: Instead of traditional small meatballs, create larger, more visually striking meatballs to add a touch of elegance to the dish.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the soup with freshly chopped parsley or chives to add a pop of color and freshness to the presentation.

  3. Incorporate edible flowers: Introduce delicate and colorful edible flowers to the soup for a visually stunning and sophisticated touch.

  4. Create a swirl of olive oil: Drizzle a small amount of high-quality olive oil in a decorative swirl pattern on the surface of the soup for a gourmet touch.

  5. Use fine china or elegant bowls: Present the soup in fine china or elegant, shallow bowls to enhance the visual appeal and elevate the dining experience.

  6. Add a sprinkle of parmesan: Instead of simply sprinkling parmesan on top, consider using a fine grater to create delicate, airy parmesan shavings for a more refined presentation.

  7. Serve with artisan bread: Accompany the soup with slices of freshly baked artisan bread or baguette to add a touch of sophistication to the overall presentation.

  8. Incorporate a drizzle of balsamic reduction: Use a small amount of balsamic reduction to create an artistic drizzle on the edge of the soup bowl for an added visual and flavor element.

  9. Use elegant plating techniques: Employ techniques such as carefully arranging the meatballs and spinach in an artful manner to create a visually appealing and professional presentation.

  10. Consider the use of soup tureens: For a more formal presentation, consider serving the soup in soup tureens at the table, allowing guests to be served individually for an elevated dining experience.

Essential Tools for Making This Delicious Soup

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting, slicing, and chopping ingredients.

  • Chef's knife: A versatile kitchen knife used for a variety of tasks such as chopping, slicing, and dicing.

  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for combining ingredients and mixing them thoroughly.

  • Skillet: A frying pan with a flat bottom and sloping sides, used for frying, searing, and browning ingredients.

  • Soup pot: A large, deep pot used for making soups, stews, and boiling liquids.

  • Wooden spoon: A kitchen utensil used for stirring, mixing, and tasting dishes.

  • Soup ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl, used for serving soups and stews.

  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Tools used for accurately measuring dry and liquid ingredients.

  • Grater: A kitchen tool used for grating cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients.

  • Tongs: Kitchen utensils with two arms and a pivot used for picking up and manipulating food.

  • Soup bowls: Bowls used for serving individual portions of soup.

  • Soup ladle: A long-handled spoon with a deep bowl, used for serving soups and stews.

How To Store and Freeze Turkey Meatball Soup

  • Let the turkey meatball soup cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent the formation of harmful bacteria and ensure the best quality.

  • Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The orzo will continue to absorb liquid, so you may need to add more broth when reheating.

  • To freeze the soup, follow these steps:

    1. Transfer the cooled soup to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving about an inch of space at the top for expansion.
    2. Label the containers or bags with the date and contents.
    3. Place the containers or bags in the freezer, ensuring they lie flat for even freezing.
    4. Freeze the soup for up to 3 months for best quality.
  • When ready to enjoy the frozen soup, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.

  • Reheat the thawed or refrigerated soup in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. You may need to add more broth or water to achieve the desired consistency, as the orzo will have absorbed some liquid during storage.

  • If you plan to freeze the soup, consider cooking the orzo separately and adding it to the soup when reheating. This will prevent the orzo from becoming mushy during the freezing and reheating process.

  • Alternatively, you can freeze the meatballs and broth separately from the orzo and spinach. When ready to serve, thaw and reheat the meatballs and broth, then add freshly cooked orzo and spinach for a better texture.

How To Reheat Leftovers

  • Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches the desired temperature. This method allows you to control the heat and ensure that the meatballs, orzo, and vegetables are evenly heated through without overcooking or becoming mushy.

  • If you have stored the meatballs and orzo separately from the broth, reheat the broth first, then add the meatballs and orzo to the hot broth and simmer until heated through. This will help prevent the orzo from becoming overcooked and mushy.

  • For a quicker reheating method, you can use the microwave. Place the desired portion of soup in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the soup is heated through. Be careful not to overheat the soup, as this can cause the meatballs to become tough and the orzo to overcook.

  • If the soup has thickened after refrigeration, you can thin it out with a little extra chicken stock or water when reheating. This will help maintain the desired consistency of the soup.

  • To refresh the flavors of the soup after reheating, you can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, or some freshly chopped parsley. These additions will brighten up the taste of the reheated soup.

Random Fact About Turkey Meatball Soup With Spinach and Orzo

Turkey meatball soup with spinach and orzo is a comforting and nutritious dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. It's a great way to incorporate lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. This recipe is also versatile, allowing you to customize it with your favorite herbs and spices. Whether you're looking for a hearty meal or a light and healthy option, this soup has got you covered. Plus, it's a great way to sneak in some extra greens for picky eaters, as the spinach blends seamlessly into the flavorful broth. Enjoy!

Is This Soup Recipe Economical for Home Cooking?

The cost-effectiveness of this turkey meatball soup with spinach and orzo recipe is quite high. Ground turkey is an affordable and lean protein, while spinach and orzo are also budget-friendly. The use of simple, readily available ingredients makes this recipe cost-effective for a household. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-20, making it a budget-friendly option. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Is This Soup Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The turkey meatball soup with spinach and orzo recipe is a relatively healthy dish, offering a balance of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. The use of ground turkey instead of beef reduces the overall fat content, while the spinach and carrots provide essential vitamins and minerals. The orzo pasta adds a source of complex carbohydrates, which can provide sustained energy. However, there are a few aspects of the recipe that could be improved to enhance its nutritional value:

  • The recipe calls for white bread or a soft dinner roll, which are typically made from refined flour. Opting for whole grain bread or a whole wheat roll would increase the fiber content and provide more nutrients.
  • The amount of salt used in the recipe could be reduced to lower the sodium content. Instead, more herbs and spices could be added to enhance the flavor without relying on excess salt.
  • While olive oil is a healthier choice compared to other oils, the recipe uses a total of 4 tablespoons. Reducing the amount of oil used in cooking the meatballs and sautéing the vegetables could help lower the overall calorie count.

To make the recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the soup by adding diced onions, garlic, or zucchini. This will boost the fiber, vitamin, and mineral content of the dish.
  • Use a low-sodium chicken stock to further reduce the sodium levels in the soup.
  • Experiment with different types of lean ground meat, such as chicken or lean pork, to vary the protein sources.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of fresh herbs like basil or thyme before serving to brighten the flavors without relying on additional salt.

Editor's Thoughts on This Hearty Soup Recipe

The turkey meatball soup with spinach and orzo recipe is a delightful and comforting dish. The combination of tender turkey meatballs, hearty orzo, and vibrant spinach creates a well-balanced and flavorful soup. The addition of parmesan adds a rich and savory depth to the dish. The recipe's step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow, making it accessible for home cooks of all skill levels. Overall, this soup is a perfect choice for a cozy family dinner or a warming meal on a chilly day.

Enhance Your Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli: Toss the broccoli with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese, then roast until crispy and golden brown.
Honey Glazed Carrots with Thyme: Cook the carrots in a honey and thyme glaze until they are tender and caramelized, then sprinkle with fresh herbs for a pop of color and flavor.
Mushroom Risotto Cakes: Form leftover risotto into patties, then pan-fry until crispy and golden on the outside and creamy on the inside. Serve with a dollop of marinara sauce for a delicious twist on traditional risotto.
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Toss the brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and roast until they are caramelized and tender, then sprinkle with crispy bacon for a savory and satisfying side dish.
Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked quinoa with dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutritious salad that pairs perfectly with the turkey meatball soup.

Other Delicious Soup Recipes Similar to This One

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Risotto: This creamy and flavorful risotto is a perfect comfort food for any occasion. The combination of tender chicken and earthy mushrooms creates a rich and satisfying dish.
Grilled Vegetable and Quinoa Salad: This healthy and colorful salad is packed with grilled vegetables and protein-rich quinoa. It's a great option for a light and refreshing meal, perfect for lunch or as a side dish for dinner.
Citrus Glazed Salmon with Roasted Asparagus: The tangy and sweet citrus glaze perfectly complements the tender and flaky salmon, while the roasted asparagus adds a delicious crunch. This dish is a great way to elevate your weeknight dinner.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Serve With Turkey Meatball Soup

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the rich and creamy filling, making it a crowd-pleasing option for any gathering.
Bruschetta: Elevate your appetizer game with bruschetta, a classic Italian dish featuring grilled bread topped with a vibrant mixture of tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. The combination of fresh ingredients creates a burst of flavor in every bite, making it a refreshing and satisfying start to any meal.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in a decadent, rich chocolate lava cake that oozes with molten chocolate when you cut into it. The warm, gooey center is the perfect contrast to the slightly crisp outer layer. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an extra touch of sweetness.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Delight in a creamy and luscious strawberry cheesecake topped with a vibrant strawberry glaze. The smooth, velvety texture of the cheesecake complements the sweet and tangy flavor of the strawberries. Each bite is a delightful combination of fruity and creamy goodness.

Why trust this Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of turkey meatballs, spinach, and orzo pasta, creating a wholesome and flavorful soup. The use of fresh parsley and parmesan cheese adds depth to the meatballs, while the addition of celery and carrots enhances the soup's nutritional value. The method of browning the meatballs before simmering them in the soup ensures a rich and savory flavor. With the careful balance of ingredients and cooking techniques, this recipe promises a satisfying and nourishing meal for all to enjoy.

Share your thoughts on this Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
Can I use a different type of meat for the meatballs?
Yes, you can use ground chicken or ground beef as a substitute for the ground turkey in the meatballs. The flavor and texture will be slightly different, but it will still work well in the recipe.
Can I use a different type of pasta instead of orzo?
Absolutely! You can use any small pasta shape such as ditalini, small shells, or even broken spaghetti in place of orzo. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions for the chosen pasta.
Can I make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them?
Yes, you can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. After shaping the meatballs, place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to use, you can cook them directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh?
Yes, you can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Thaw and drain the frozen spinach before adding it to the soup. You may need to adjust the quantity based on personal preference and the package instructions.
Can I make this soup vegetarian?
Certainly! You can make a vegetarian version of this soup by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and replacing the meatballs with vegetarian meatballs or adding extra vegetables like mushrooms or diced zucchini for added texture and flavor.

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