Day 278: Turkey, Tortellini & Watercress Soup ◄

Ah, this soup struck the perfect note on a wintry Saturday afternoon.

If it looks like something you'd make right after Thanksgiving, no surprise:
November's broth-making and turkey-picking payoff was turkey broth and cooked turkey from the freezer and a wonderful soup that made up in just minutes.

The watercress added a bright note but spinach would suffice for the trademark 'pepper' of watercress was somehow lost in the rich broth and cheesy-salty tortellini.

NEXT TIME The tortellini definitely moved the soup from good to great. But it didn't take many: I allowed just five per bowl, which kept the soup in healthful low-cal and even low-carb territory.

LOW-CARB EATERS I suspect that this is a good way to limit carbs and still satisfy a pasta craving -- that is limiting the intake rather than eliminating a food entirely. With just five tortellini in the soup (as in the picture), net carbs are just 10 grams.

FROM THE ARCHIVES Do you still have Thanksgiving bounty in the freezer? Check for ideas here in the Recipe Box.

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Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Make 7 cups (the broth really evaporated)

4 cups turkey broth
4 cups canned chicken broth (see ALANNA's TIPS)
2 carrots, diced
3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
Tortellini -- a few per person (see ALANNA's TIPS and NUTRITION ESTIMATE)
8 ounces fresh watercress, coarse stems removed

Bring the broths to a boil. Add the carrots as they're prepped. Add the turkey and tortellini and cook for 5 - 7 minutes (or as long as the tortellini instructions say). Stir in the watercress, cook 1 minute. Serve and enjoy.

No Tortellini, Per Cup: 124 Cal (12% from Fat, 76% from Protein, 12% from Carb); 23 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 4 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb3; 24 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 1032 mg Sodium; 59 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

With 5 Tortellini per Cup of Soup: 170 Cal (14% from Fat, 60% from Protein, 27% from Carb); 25 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb10; 24 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 1091 mg Sodium; 63 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points

Using full 8-ounce package of tortellini added to soup, per Cup: 230 Cal (15% from Fat, 48% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 27 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb 20; 24 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 1167 mg Sodium; 69 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points

  • Add only enough tortellini as will be eaten right away. That way, there's no temptation to eat all the high-calorie and high-carb nuggets out of the pot -- plus, each time you reheat the leftover soup, add more for fresh-cooked pasta every time.

  • Awhile back, Cook's Illustrated did taste tests on commercial chicken broth and rated Swanson's Natural Goodness product the highest. Recently, I came upon updated results:
    • #1 Swanson Certified Organic -- clear favorite (I haven't found it yet)

    • #2 Better Than Bouillon chicken base -- very close second, favorite of several tasters

    • #3 Swanson Natural Goodness -- less expensive, more readily found

  • When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
Adapted from Gourmet 1991

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Sounds very good. I use Better Than Bouillon to enrich my homemade chicken stock all the time. Best of Both Worlds. Costco also has McCormick brand, which I think is a close second. Love the idea of limiting carbs by only having a few tortellini.

  2. I'm back! Just letting you know I'm linking to this recipe for a collection of after-Thanksgiving turkey soups I'm posting for South Beach Recipes of the Week. Happy Thanksgiving!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna