20140306_171556I bought a container of chicken tortilla soup at Whole Foods the other day thinking that it would probably be a healthier version and because I love really good chicken tortilla soup.

Then I got it home and looked at the nutrition label. And saw that one serving (a measly cup) had over 1,000mg of sodium! Not much different than your average canned soup. Um. Not eating that.

I knew I could do better so I created my own recipe that has way less salt and way more vegetables and lots of chicken chunks.  Plus, it couldn’t have been easier to make. You’ve got to love “chop everything and throw it into a pot” recipes, right? This recipe is included in my Flat & Happy Recipe Guide.

Makes 6 to 8 servings 


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, medium dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and medium dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, medium dice (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (use more if you like spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ to 1/2 teaspoon paprika (use more if you like spicy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (leave out if you don’t like spicy)
  • 4 cups (1 quart) stock or low-sodium chicken broth + water to cover veggies
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes (I like a chunkier soup, if you don’t, use crushed tomatoes instead)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea or Kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 4, 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

To finish:

  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (I used a whole roasted chicken I bought at the store, which lessened my prep time…you can also use chicken you’ve already roasted or baked)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • Sea or Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, water, tomatoes, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the tortilla pieces, and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated and the soup has thickened, about 1 hour.

To finish:

  • When the soup is ready, add the chicken and black beans and stir to combine. Simmer until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve the soup topped with fresh chopped cilantro and avocado slices.
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