Grandma’s Turkey and Rice Meatball Soup

This simple soup is a staple in our house. It’s easy to prepare, and oh so very delicious. It’s Ovi’s grandmother’s recipe, and she’s been making it for the family for years. The first time she made it for me i fell in love. The flavors are light, simple, perfection. It’s infinitely more interesting than chicken noodle soup with all of the same warm and cozy feelings attached. To me, this soup feels like a hug in a bowl.

We’re so close to spring time! I’m very excited about it. Sunshine, and warm weather, and sandals. Ahhh…my favorite time of year. This dish beautifully bridges the gap between that awkward sometimes cold, sometimes sunny weather we get here in Southern California. It’s light enough to be eaten on a warm sunny day, and comforting enough to fill your belly and take the frost off your toes (only me?)

I’ve had these photos sitting on my laptop for over a month now! Finally, I’ve gotten around to sharing them with you.

Ingredients (recipe serves 4):

For the meatballs:

This batch of ingredients will make enough raw meatballs for 8 servings. Only half are used for the soup, and the rest are frozen for a later date. Of course, you could always just double the soup ingredients and make a great big pot full!

  • 1.5 pounds ground turkey breast (24 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
For the soup base:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 quarts (6 cups) chicken stock (or water and bullion cubes)
  • 2/3 cup brown onion (chopped)
  • 2/3 cup celery (chopped // leafy bits included)
  • 2/3 cup carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (rough chopped)

Fresh chopped soup veggies. The usual suspects plus dill. The dill is the superstar in this recipe. It elevates an otherwise simple soup to a much more interesting level.

Mix, mix, mix – use a wooden spoon if you’re squeamish like me.

35 evenly sized meatballs waiting for their turn in the hot tub. I only used half of these for this batch of soup. The rest were frozen on the sheet pan and then transferred to a freezer bag. This is one of my favorite things to do with this recipe! The frozen meatballs can go straight into a bubbling pot of broth and veg for a super easy second batch of soup.


  • Prepare veggies (carrot, onion, celery and garlic)
  • Heat a soup pot (a 4 quart should be plenty big) to medium heat with olive oil
  • Saute carrots, onion and celery until onions turn translucent and carrots take on a bit of color
  • Add garlic and cook for one additional minute
  • Add stock and dill to the pot and bring to a rolling boil
  • Prepare meatballs while stock is heating
  • Add meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Form meatballs using a tablespoon measure (I use an old coffee scoop)
    • Using my coffee scoop I ended up with 35 uniform meatballs
  • Gently drop meatballs into boiling stock one at a time and reduce heat to a simmer
  • Simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes or until rice inside of meatballs is thoroughly cooked through
    • I always sacrifice 1 meatball for testing at the 20 minute mark. Depending on the age and type of rice you use, you may need to simmer for up to 35 minutes
  • Taste and adjust seasonings here. Add salt and pepper as desired
  • Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh dill and a sliced lemon if desired

Related Posts (aka more soup):


16 thoughts on “Grandma’s Turkey and Rice Meatball Soup

    • Actually, I think I’ve posted everything I own on the blog at this point =) It’s just that none of my dishes are matching. I’m a flea market addict! And anthropologie…I’m addicted to that store too. Clothes and quirky housewares together. It’s dangerous.

  1. Nice recipe, nice photography, very well presented. Yet another good use of left-overs. Like the comments abour dishes. We visit the local ‘rastros’ here in Valencia and collect glass plates. They are ideal for salads fruit.

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