Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach
posted by Kalyn Denny on February 21, 2013
If you enjoy barley in soup, you’ll love this soup with ground turkey, barley, mushrooms, and spinach, and this tasty soup is dairy-free, low-glycemic, and South Beach Diet Phase Two. Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
I’m on a quest to prove that ground turkey doesn’t have to be boring, and this comforting and flavorful Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach was the latest recipe where I experimented with lean ground turkey as an ingredient. The soup also has lots of brown Crimini mushrooms and chopped spinach, two ingredients I really like with barley.
The final ingredient that helps the ground turkey to shine is mushroom stock, which I made using Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base. (Another brand I love is Telma Mushroom Cubes, but lately I can’t find those in my stores.) If you don’t want to buy mushroom base, you can still make this using all vegetable stock, but bumping up the mushroom flavor makes a big difference. Jake and I both loved this definitely-not-boring ground turkey soup, and I shared the leftovers with my friend Robin, who also gave it two thumbs up.
I always like to give credit to other recipes that inspire me, but frequently I see an idea in a book or on a blog and then I change just about everything for the recipe I come up with. That’s what happened in this case, when I saw a recipe in the American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook for barley casserole and it turned into a soup with turkey and spinach, that was made on the stove! (I do like that cookbook a lot though if you’re looking for slow cooker ideas.)
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a heavy dutch-oven type pan and saute the onions about 5 minutes; then add the garlic, thyme, poultry seasoning, and Spike Seasoning (if using) and saute about 2 minutes more.
While the onions cook, wash the mushrooms and chop into medium-sized pieces.
If you’re going to use the mushroom base, mix with hot water to dissolve.
When you finish cooking the onion mixture, add the mushrooms, vegetable stock, mushroom stock (or more vegetable stock), and barley, and let the mixture start to simmer.
Heat the other 2 tsp. of oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the turkey, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
When the barley is starting to get tender (about 30 minutes) add the ground turkey and simmer about 20-30 minutes more. (You might want to add 1-2 cups of water as the barley cooks.)
When the barley is done, add the chopped spinach and cook just until it’s wilted (5-10 minutes.) Stir in the lemon juice and serve hot. This is good with freshly grated Parmesan if you want it.
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional)
8-12 oz. brown Crimini mushrooms, chopped in medium-sized pieces
4 cups vegetable stock (or use 2 14 oz. cans vegetable broth and 1/2 cup water)
4 cups mushroom stock (I used Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base mixed with water; if you don’t want to buy mushroom base, use 4 cups more vegetable stock)
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 lb. lean ground turkey
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chopped spinach (or more)
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional)
Heat 2 tsp. oil in heavy dutch-oven type pan. Add the chopped onions and saute over high heat until the onions are softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add garlic, thyme, poultry seasoning, and Spike Seasoning (if using) and saute 1-2 minutes more.
While the onions cook, wash and chop the mushrooms and combine the Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base with water according to instructions on the label to make 4 cups. When onion mixture is sauteed, add the chopped mushrooms, vegetable stock, mushroom stock (or more vegetable stock), and barley, turn the heat to medium low, and and let the mixture simmer about 30 minutes or until the barley is starting to get tender.
When barley is nearly tender, heat the other 2 tsp. oil in a large heavy frying pan and cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add the meat to the soup pot and continue to cook 20-30 minutes more, until the barley is done. (You may need to add a cup or two of water.)
Wash and chop the spinach. When the barley is tender, add the spinach and cook until it’s wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Barley is a wonderful grain for low-glycemic diets, and as long as you use lean ground turkey (less than 10% fat), this soup would be great for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. (You could replace barley with brown rice to make a gluten-free version of this recipe.) This wouldn’t be suitable for a traditional low-carb diet plan.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.