This Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs features a quick, flavorful broth filled with lightly spicy turkey meatballs and rice noodles.
Do you like to eat soup in the summer? I can't say it's the first meal I would reach for myself when the temperature is sweltering. But actually, in many countries that are hot year-round, soup is eaten often. Sometimes even for breakfast!
Many years ago, Mr. Dreamboat spent some time in Southeast Asia, and he reports that he ate pho for breakfast in Vietnam every single day. It was recommended to him by many of the locals he met there.
Eating soup actually raises your body temperature, which signals your body to cool itself down (by starting to sweat). This, in turn, makes you feel cooler for the rest of the day. I can't say for sure whether that works or not, but noodle soup for breakfast? Sign me up!
Vietnamese food is one of my favorite types of cuisine to eat at a restaurant. I often use the quality of their pho to determine the overall quality of the restaurant. If the pho is no good, chances are I won't be quick to go back.
Vietnamese pho is traditionally made with beef. While this Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs is inspired by pho, it is very different from what I would normally get in a high-quality Vietnamese restaurant.
However, it is delicious and satisfying nonetheless. The broth is flavorful - it's a chicken base, flavored with lots of garlic, ginger, shallots, fish sauce, and lime juice. The meatballs are slightly spicy and the noodles are slurpable.
How to make Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs:
Perhaps the best thing about this mouthwatering soup is that it's super easy to make. The broth simmers for minutes instead of hours, and the meatballs can easily be made ahead of time.
If you're into meal prep, you can even prepare 2 or 3 batches of the meatballs at once, and freeze them for use in future batches of soup. Once the meatballs are made, the only other prep work that's required is chopping and sauteeing some aromatics, then adding the chicken broth and simmering for a short time. The noodles and meatballs both cook very quickly.
Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs Ingredients:
- Ground turkey
- Fish sauce
- Chili garlic sauce
- Ground white pepper
- Canola oil (or other neutral-flavored cooking oil)
- Fresh ginger
- Reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime juice
- Dried dice noodles (If you can find fresh rice noodles instead of dried, use those as they are much better. However, they can be hard to find. I've had luck at H-Mart.)
- Bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapeno slices, lime wedges (Optional, for serving)
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Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs Nutrition Notes:
The nutrition information in the recipe below does not include any of the optional garnishes, though they will affect the nutrient content minimally.
Note that even with reduced-sodium chicken broth, the sodium content of this soup is quite high. If sodium is a concern for you, make sure to use no-salt-added chicken broth, and reduce the amount of fish sauce used in the meatballs.
Rice Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 4 Tablespoons fish sauce, divided
- 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 5 large shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 stalks lemongrass, tender bottom part only (about 5-6 inches), tough outer layers removed, and lightly crushed
- 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 8 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 8 ounces rice noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions, and rinsed with cold water
- Bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapeno slices, lime wedges (optional, to serve)
- In a large bowl, mix ground turkey with 2 Tablespoons of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, and the white pepper until completely combined (it's easiest to do this with your hands). Form into about 48 small meatballs and place them on a large plate. Refrigerate while you prepare the broth.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, lemongrass, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove lemongrass and add the meatballs. Stir gently, and simmer until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat at add the remaining 2 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, cilantro and lime juice.
- Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Pour the hot broth over the noodles, and divide the meatballs between the bowls. Garnish with bean sprouts, thai basil, jalapeno slices, or lime wedges if desired.