This is a go-to on a chilly night and takes advantage of all the leftover veggies in your fridge. I like to think of it as a kitchen sink soup so you can add lots of other ingredients to round out the flavors. When I’m full on #paleo or mid #whole30, I omit the dairy. When I’m #notpaleo, I sometimes add corn, tortilla chips, Monterrey Jack Cheese toasted under the broiler and it transports me back to Texas as it’s just like what they serve at Pappasitos, one of my favorite fancy TexMex places back home. That said, it’s tasty simply with avocado as well, so give this soup a go.

the best chicken tortilla soup

what you need

  • 1 package chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1tbsp garlic salt
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp coconut oil (or other cooking oil) 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, sliced and diced
  • 3 whole carrots, sliced and diced or cubed
  • 2 cans (or 1 box) of chicken stock
  • 1-2 poblano peppers (can also use serrano or jalapeno depending on the flavors you want)
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 2 yellow squash, cubed
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 lime
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • Monterrey jack cheese (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Tortilla chips (optional) Big pot
  • Skillet
  • Cookie Sheet

what you do

Preheat broiler

Add chicken breasts to big pot, season liberally with salt and pepper, dried oregano, garlic salt, cumin, paprika

Fill big pot with water. Just enough to fully cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and boil the chicken for ~15-20 minutes

When the oven is hot, add the poblano peppers to a cookie sheet and pop them under the broiler. You’re looking to roast these. Cook for 5-8 minutes, but keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to burn. Once one side gets hot and roasty, turn over and roast the other side. The other side takes way less time.

While the chicken is cooking, in the skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil, garlic and diced onions and carrots. Cover. Simmer until the carrots start to soften (but are still crunchy). About 10 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked through, pull it out and slice/dice/shred and return to the pot on med-high heat. Reserve the water (as you’ve now made chicken broth!).

When the peppers are roasty on both sides, remove from over and allow to cool a little bit. Once cool, transfer to a cutting board and gently remove the waxy skin. Once you’ve skinned them, slice them open, remove most of the seeds, and dice the flesh. Set aside.

While onions and carrots are cooking, add cubed zucchini and squash to pot with the chicken.

Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes. I like to add the tomato juice, but my sister doesn’t. Do whatever you think is right here.

Add onions and carrots mixture.

Add chicken broth from cans and homemade chicken broth that you reserved.

Add diced poblano peppers.

Cut lime in half and squeeze into soup.

Cover, lower heat a smidge and simmer for 30-45 minutes so flavors combine.

After about 20 minutes, I check the flavors. Liberally add salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t be shy. Add about a tbsp., stir, taste. More lime? Do it! Repeat until you its seasoned to your liking. Keep simmering.

Soup is ready when the carrots, zucchini and squash are soft and cooked through, but this soup only gets better the longer it simmers.

Two schools of thought on assembly:

  • For the #paleo and #whole30 version: slice half and avocado and add it to a bowl. Add soup. Enjoy.
  • For the #notpaleo version: preheat your broiler and bust out a cookie sheet. Make sure you’re using over safe bowls. Slice and add half that avocado to a bowl and top with soup. Then crumble tortilla chips atop soup and cover with thin layer of monterrey jack cheese and toast it under the boiler until the cheese is melty. Add sour cream if you’re so inclined. Enjoy.

Also when I’m #notpaleo, I sometimes add corn and black beans. Just rinse both before using and add them to the onions/carrots step to get them warm before using. Bonus points if you get the corn a little charred around the edges before you add it to the soup. It’ll help enhance the fire roasty flavor. You can also add bell or red peppers, fresh tomatoes, etc. Experiment and see what flavors you like best.

suggested sides

  • tequila
  • chips and guac

Inspired by: Rachel Ray and Pappasitos!