(This is an old soup recipe that was such a favorite that I updated the recipe into a lower-carb version with cauliflower rice, more mushrooms, and more kale. You can see that updated recipe here. I am leaving this printer-friendly recipe on the site for anyone who was a fan of the original version.)

(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

1/2 large onion, chopped small
4 stalks celery, chopped small
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Poultry Seasoning
1 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic (or more)
10 cups homemade chicken stock (or use 6 cans chicken broth, but homemade stock is more flavorful)
2 T vegetable soup base (I use Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base.)
8 oz. brown Crimini mushrooms, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb. lean ground turkey (I use turkey with 10% fat)
1 lb. small cubes butternut squash, almost 3 cups of cut squash cubes (I used half of a 2 lb. package of pre-cut squash cubes and cut them smaller)
1 1/2 cups baby kale leaves or chopped kale leaves
1 cup cooked rice or brown rice (I used Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice.)
2-3 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Chop the onion and celery into small pieces. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in the bottom of the soup pot, add chopped vegetables, and saute until they’re starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the dried thyme, Poultry Seasoning, and minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and vegetable soup base and start to simmer the soup.

While soup simmers heat 2 tsp. olive oil in another large non-stick frying pan and cook the turkey over medium-high heat, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks. Let the turkey get nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes. While the turkey browns, wash the mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add turkey and mushrooms to the soup and simmer 20 minutes before adding the squash.

Cut butternut squash into small cubes, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch square. (It’s good if they’re not all the same size, because the smaller ones will dissolve into the soup more and the larger ones will create texture.) Add the chopped butternut squash to the soup and simmer 20 minutes before adding the rice and kale.

Wash the kale (removing stems from baby kale if desired, or chopping larger kale leaves.) When the soup has simmered 20 minutes with the butternut squash, add the rice and kale (and a tiny bit more water or stock if needed) and continue to simmer 20-30 minutes more.

Taste soup and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in the balsamic vinegar (I would start with 2 tablespoons and then see if you want the other tablespoon.) Serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table as desired.

This soup will probably freeze pretty well, although the squash, rice, and kale will all break apart some from being frozen. The soup will definitely keep in the fridge for at least a week.

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