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Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

A classic twist on Mexico City’s Soul Food Soup. Fresh, intense flavors combine with vegetables and pulled chicken – your go-to-healthy-soup for the winter season

Good-for-you ingredients in a spicy broth with cheddar cheese and crispy tortillas
Good-for-you ingredients in a spicy broth with cheddar cheese and crispy tortillas
Top the soup with grated sharp cheese, tortilla strips and fresh herbs
Top the soup with grated sharp cheese, tortilla strips and fresh herbs

Good-for-you ingredients in a spicy broth with cheddar cheese and crispy tortillas


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup onions, onions and leeks, ½” dice

1 cup red and yellow peppers, ½” dice

½ cup carrots, peeled, ½” dice

½ cup celery, peeled, ½” slice

1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut off cob

2 leaves of kale, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced (from 2 large cloves)

¾ cup diced tomatoes, strained

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon chipotle in adobe, chopped, more if you like very spicy

6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade (makes a difference)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

6 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese, grated thickly

3 fresh corn tortillas, cut into thin julienned strips*

6 tablespoons fresh parsley, cleaned & chopped

3 ½ pound fresh chicken, pull meat off the bones (see below)



In a heavy soup pot, add the olive oil with the onions, leeks, peppers, carrots and celery. Over medium heat sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes to give them a little color and roasted flavor (add the corn later.) Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, paprika and chipotles. Stir well and cook for 3 more minutes to combine the flavors and toast the seasonings.


Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add the fresh corn kernels and sliced kale (they will “cook” in the hot soup) and lime juice, stir – take off the stove to cool. In 15 minutes, add the shredded chicken and stir. Taste for salt and add up to 1 teaspoon (this will depend on the saltiness of the broth.)


To serve:
Ladle the warm soup into individual bowls, top each with cheddar cheese, tortillas and fresh parsley.


For Soup and Chicken:
A quick recipe – Add 1 1/2 cups of mirepoix (onions, celery and carrots) to a large soup pot.
Add 10 cups of water, bring to a boil. Add a 3 1/2 pound fresh whole chicken and cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer on lowest heat, covered, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the chicken starts to fall apart.
Ultimately – I also add to the water, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, a few crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves, a handful of parsley and a dash of tumeric, but the mirepoix will do too.


Remove the chicken from the pot with tongs and place in a bowl to hold. Cover with a damp paper towel, and cool.
Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the broth, stir. Use any extra broth for another recipe.


Remove the meat from the bones, and “pull” the chicken into 1/2″ wide strands.


*To make Tortilla Strips:
Heat 3 Tablespoons of neutral oil in a small 8″ skillet. When hot, add half of the cut tortillas and
stir-fry until crisp, stirring. Remove with tongs to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add the remaining tortillas, and an extra tablespoon of oil if needed and repeat. Toss immediately with a pinch of sea salt.
Will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.


Garnishing options:
Top soup with thin sliced and chopped Avocado.
Chopped Soft Herbs – such as Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, Chives or Oregano.
Fresh chopped Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped Red Onion, Sweet Onion or Scallions.
Mix Sour Cream with bit of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce – swirl a dollop on the center of the soup.

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer

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