"Get Well" Chicken Soup

Spring is on the horizon; there is a slow shift from cold to warmer temperatures and an increase in fresh produce at the grocery stores. Although we're not technically out of the woods until March 20th, many states still have snow and everyone that I cross paths with is recovering from illness this winter season. 

Nothing says "get well" better than a bowl of chicken soup. It is one of the top requested foods to eat when sick. Comforting, warm and delicious, this chicken tortilla soup packs a lot more flavor and depth than your traditional chicken noodle soup. The salty broth and heat from the peppers help to open your nasal passages the minute the spoon hits your lips. Plus this nutrition-packed bowl assures that you are consuming the vitamins and minerals you need to fight (and prevent) illness. This soup is particularly high in foods that boost the immune system, such as garlic with its health compounds called "allicins" (known for their antibacterial and anti-fungal properties), tomatoes with their high vitamin C content and carrots with their vitamin A.

Standing around in the kitchen cooking isn't exactly a priority when you're feeling under the weather; however, this soup is easy to make. Have someone help you with the chopping and the rest is just dumping ingredients into the pot. Simple! The steam from the hot pot will help relieve congestion, too!

In addition to a great meal to eat when recovering from what ails you, this soup is ideal for a casual get-together with friends. Place all the toppings in separate bowls and let guests serve themselves. Get ready to say good-bye to winter with this delicious, flavorful and filling soup! 

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Serves 8

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion (1 small), chopped
  • 1 cup carrots (2 large), chopped
  • 1 cup celery (2 stalks), chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, diced (can substitute poblanos)
  • 3 cups shredded chicken (see note below on how to cook the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (10 ounce) can reduced-sodium, condensed cream of chicken soup (can substitute 2 cups additional chicken broth for a dairy-free meal)
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 corn tortillas, cut in half and then cut into half-inch strips
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 large avocado 

Additional toppings: light sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook for 7 minutes until softened.

Add garlic and jalapenos and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add chicken through the next 8 ingredients (until you get to the tortillas). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, add corn tortillas and cilantro and simmer additional 15-20 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with sliced avocado, a dollop of light sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and additional cilantro if desired. 

COOK'S NOTE: You can use rotisserie chicken if you're in a time crunch although it will increase the sodium in the dish. To make chicken at home, buy 2 pound package of bone-in chicken with skin on. Place 2 breasts on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until done. Once cooled, remove skin, shred and set aside until ready to use. When purchasing the chicken broth and canned tomatoes, always compare brands and choose the one with the least amount of sodium.

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