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Melissa Clark, Genius Recipe Maker and Cook


This Lemon-y White Bean Soup with Turkey and Greens is a One Pot Meal

This wonderfully warming white bean soup is a cinch to prepare and oh-so-forgiving. You can make it a light broth or take it to a stew–whatever you feel at the moment. Either way, its flavors are an intoxicating mix of lemon and herbs–specifically cumin, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Its focus may be on vegetables but Melissa tossed in ground turkey. Chewing The Fat’s version doubled up on both cumin and turkey, heavied up the ginger, added some diced tomato, and used spinach as opposed to Melissa’s call for “sturdy greens, such as kale, broccoli rabe, mustard greens or collard greens”. Suit yourself. This is a wonderfully adaptable dish. But do not leave out the lemon! It gives the soup a character all its own.


Do not leave out the lemon!

If your taste runs to a thicker soup or stew, you can achieve the silky rich version you want easily.  Instead of leaving the beans intact, crush them with a spoon before you add them to the mix. They’ll release their starch as they cook.  For a thicker soup, crush  1/4 of the beans. For a stew, crush half the beans (1 -14.5 oz. can). If you overdo it, simply add more chicken stock to get to the exact thickness you want.  Amazingly, whether soup or stew, this soup is so flavorful, it doesn’t need to simmer very long. I got it on the table in about an hour. Finally, the keyword; Lemon-y!  Add the fresh lemon juice at the very end and add lots of it!  Stop when the broth has what Melissa calls “a lively zing”.


If you remember the phrase, it was used by the Campbell Soup Company from 1975 until 1982. And they knew a lot about soup. Soup itself is an ancient food traced back to archaeological findings. Soup in China dates back to at least 1000 CE. Ancient Romans often served soup as the first course of a meal.  In the Middle Ages, soup was made with ingredients like vegetables, grains, meat, and fish. In the Renaissance, soups became more elaborate: Spices, herbs, and exotic ingredients from the World–including the tomato and the potato– found their way into soup bowls. Colonial America soup was a staple. Recipes from Native Americans and Europe led to the development of regional soups like Clam Chowder and Brunswick Stew. As travel and immigration grew so grew the popularity of pho from Vietnam, Miso Soup from Japan, and Gazpacho from Spain. Today, soup continues to evolve. Today homemade soups are very popular, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and unique flavor combinations. Just like today’s White Bean Soup recipe. It is followed by some other soups you may enjoy.


Campbell’s soup has been sold in red and white cans since 1898?  Modified over the years, it became the subject of artist Andy Warhol in 1961. You can read all about it on Chewing The Fat. Just click here https://chewingthefat.us.com/2023/02/best-chicken-noodle-soup-recipe.html

Lemon-y White Bean Soup with Turkey and Greens

September 26, 2023
: 8
: 15 min
: 45 min
: 1 hr
: Easy Peasy

Bright with lemon, this highly adaptable soup can be either light and brothy or thick and stewlike, depending on your preference


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/8 inch slices
  • 1 small tomato, cut up
  • 2 Cups Baby Spinach (Or sturdy greens, such as kale, broccoli rabe, mustard greens or collard greens)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1.5 quarts chicken stock
  • 2(15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Step 1 Heat a large pot over medium-high for a minute or so to warm it up. Add the oil and heat until it thins out, about 30 seconds. Add onion and carrot, and sauté until very soft and brown at the edges, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 2 If using sturdy greens like kale, broccoli rabe, mustard greens or collard greens rinse them and pull the leaves off the stems. Tear or chop into bite-size pieces and set aside. If using baby spinach ignore this step
  • Step 3 When the onion is golden, add tomato paste, 2 tbsp. cumin and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the pot, and sauté until the paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add turkey, tomato, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté, breaking up the meat with your spoon, until turkey is browned in spots, 4 to 7 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add stock and beans, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the soup is thick and flavorful, adding more salt if needed, 15 to 25 minutes. If you like a thicker broth, you can smash some of the beans with the back of the spoon to release their starch. Or leave the beans whole for a brothier soup.
  • Step 5 Add the spinach or greens to the pot and simmer until they are very soft. This will take 2 minutes for spinach but will take 5 to 10 minutes for sturdier greens, but tough collard greens might take 15 minutes. (Add a little water if the broth gets too reduced.)
  • Step 6 Add the lemon juice to the pot, taste, and add more salt, cumin, and lemon until the broth is lively and bright-tasting. Serve with crusty bread if you like.

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