Chicken tortilla soup is probably one of my favorite soups. The flavors are so fresh and vibrant (when done right!), and I think the tortilla chip, sour cream and avocado toppings just make it so irresistible. When I started developing this secret-ingredient healthy chicken tortilla soup recipe, I had enough “bad” chicken tortilla soups that I knew I needed a recipe that was the perfect amount of heat, acidity, creaminess and heartiness. There’s nothing worse than bland soup, but this one will knock your tastebuds off.
I’ll admit it, I’m one of those weirdos that can eat soup all year long. Guilty as charged! But don’t judge me until you try this healthy chicken tortilla soup, because I promise you’ll be wanting it, too. It’s fresh enough for summer, yet comforting enough for fall and winter.
This healthy chicken tortilla soup is easily one of my favorites. It’s sooo flavorful and satisfying but still really light.
The Healthy Secret Ingredient!
It also happens to have a secret ingredient that adds major yum-factor……SALSA! Yep, get a jar of your favorite salsa (I’ll link my favorite one in the ingredients) and add that to the soup for a major flavor bomb without having to dice and chop a ton of garlic and onion. Flavor & ease…that’s what I call a win-win :).
I like to buy a high-quality, organic salsa. It’s really fantastic because the ingredients are typically super clean (check those labels!) and it’s a great way to infuse tons of flavor because all of the ingredients have been intensifying while they’re in the salsa jar… almost like they’ve been fermenting together and are just a flavor bomb! It’s also an easy way to adjust the heat level. If you want it extra spicy, go for a spicy salsa, if you want mild, go for mild.
How to Choose a Broth
Another main component to consider when you’re making soup is of course, the broth. I find that buying a higher-quality broth gives soup such a more intense flavor rather than skimping on the broth and then not getting that delicious, umami broth that we all crave in a soup. I tend to buy organic, but either vegetable or chicken broth work great here. There’s an organic “hearty vegetable” broth from Trader Joe’s that I frequently buy, because I think it’s one of the most flavorful broths I’ve tried before!
Maybe it’s because I work for a spice company, but you’ll find that I heavily use seasonings in my recipes. I’m not sure how people cook without them! In my opinion, there’s no better way to healthfully add flavor to your cooking than using seasonings.
I have a lot of fun combining different spices and herbs to create my own mix to add to dishes, but the pre-made blends are awesome because they are already expertly blended and also sooo convenient!
For ease in this healthy chicken tortilla soup recipe, I used the Taco seasoning blend from Frontier Co-op. If you don’t have this on hand, I highly recommend buying it, but you can also just use 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp chili powder. The blend has other delicious spices in it that really make the flavor come together, though!
P.S., if you’re in the mood for more soup (me, always), check out my Classic Greek Lemon Chicken Soup!
Notes on the Secret-Ingredient Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
A couple things to note here! You can definitely omit the beans in this recipe if that’s what suits you. You could also make it more veggie-dense with finely chopped zucchini & bell peppers. I love soups because they’re so easy to just sneak in tons of veggies without really even being able to tell!
If you’re really wanting a spicy version that that salsa alone might not get you, an option would be to finely dice a jalapeño and add that in with your shallot. Or, you could add 1/2 tsp of cayenne powder for a real kick!
My Secret-Ingredient Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- large pot
- cutting board
- sharp knife
- can opener
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 8 oz. jar your favorite salsa
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 tsp salt
- Prep your ingredients (which luckily isn’t much in this recipe!). Drain & rinse the beans, chop shallot and get all of the other ingredients out & ready to be used.
- Add diced shallot and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Next, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Pinto beans, broth, salt, salsa and chicken breasts all go in!
- Turn heat down to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, use tongs to remove chicken breasts and place on a plate or in a bowl. Rest the chicken for a few minutes and then using forks, shred the chicken. Add shredded chicken back to the soup.
- Once chicken is back in the soup, serve immediately and garnish to your liking!