White Bean & Roasted Turkey Soup

Heirloom beans, roasted Thanksgiving turkey, aromatics and sage = one delicious soup.

Are you as tired of turkey as I am? While I do love the big bird, seven days straight and my body is screaming for a green salad, crisp, crunchy vegetables and anything-but-meat. So what do I do? Make soup, of course.  Hear me out – it makes more sense than you think.  I didn’t make it to the market last weekend, since we had so much food leftover from Thanksgiving there seemed little need. It’s probably a little late in the season for cold-frame lettuce, and a little early for greenhouse lettuce, anyway, so no crisp greens for this local girl. But I did have plenty of aromatic vegetables on hand: carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, as well as a good supply of dried beans and a variety of potatoes. And, of course, turkey.  Simply because I’m tired of turkey doesn’t mean that I can allow it to go to waste (lest my Yankee forebears rise up from their graves and haunt me for my wanton ways). I had already made turkey stock from the carcass and bones of our Thanksgiving bird: soup seemed the obvious answer.

But, what’s great about this soup? Turkey is a bit player here; the beans steal the show.  This is a bean soup, first and foremost, with the turkey lending a boost of protein and umami flavor, without proclaiming that dinner is “Turkey, yet again!” The aromatic veg, the fantastic Yellow Eye beans and the sage all make this a kick-ass winter soup (in fact, I think this would work well as a vegan dish, sans turkey and with vegetable stock): the turkey sends it over the top in terms of satisfying and delicious. I may well make this one again before the (seemingly) never-ending supply of turkey runs out.

Adapted from Yellow Eye Chowder with Smoked Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and Sage in Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando


White Bean & Roasted Turkey Soup


  • 1 lb dried white beans (I used Yellow Eye beans from Rancho Gordo)
  • filtered water
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease (or olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled & diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 3/4 lb potatoes, peeled & diced (I used purple potatoes from Holbrook Farm)
  • 1/2 lb roasted turkey, skinned, chopped (I used a mix of dark & white meat)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste


  1. Soak the beans in cool, filtered water, to cover by 2 inches, overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Heat the bacon grease in a medium stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it is shimmering, but not smoking.  Add onions, carrots, parsnip and garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until vegetables have softened and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add beans + their soaking water, turkey stock, and additional cool water to cover by 1 inch (if necessary). Simmer, covered, until beans are just starting to get tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Add potatoes, roasted turkey, sage, salt and pepper.  Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender and flavors blend, about 20 – 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot, garnished with additional sage leaves, chopped parsley, or a little dollop of sage pesto.

Serves 6.


  1. I made a lot of changes to the original recipe which included celery, sweet potatoes, and smoked chicken. Like all soups, this recipe is quite adaptable to what you have on hand.
  2. With a few more veggies, this soup would be hearty and delicious as a vegetarian/vegan version; omit turkey, use olive oil and roasted vegetable stock, and maybe some celery and mushrooms for flavor.
  3. With navy beans from Cayuga Pure Organics, this soup could be 100% local.


Refrigerated, up to 5 days. I’m not very fond of frozen/thawed beans; I think they suffer in texture, so I don’t recommend freezing this soup.


Fall into winter.


  1. How funny! (and yummy) I made a roast turkey and white bean soup with sage last night too. It will be my first Dark Days post whenever I get around to writing it up. Of course, my photos (and my recipe) will not be nearly as lovely as yours.

  2. It looks great and it’s amazing how much beans can add to soup. Thanks for the recipe. We are still putting up soup like crazy with all of our veggies…and, I should be tried of it but I’m not. Isn’t it a great day to make soup?

  3. I never get tired of soup. And I eat it all summer long. I’m wacky that way. 🙂

    Andrea, I did think of the Dark Days challenge for this one, but I didn’t have any of the Cayuga navy beans; the Yellow Eyes might possibly have been ones that I brought home from San Francisco last May but… I’m sure I’ll find another DD-worthy meal in the next 2 weeks.

  4. Pingback: Friday Menu #4. - The Elliott Homestead

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