Mexican Chicken Soup (with Vegetarian option)

In my college years, I fell in love with tortilla soup. Not the watery kind, with random bits of soggy tortilla floating in a broth, but the kind where the tortillas completely dissolve, creating a thick and uniform texture throughout.

However, when I actually attempted to make a similar tortilla soup at home, I realized that it’s probably not the healthiest thing to be consuming on a regular basis. I needed to use a LOT of corn tortillas to recreate that texture!

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Fortunately, I’ve discovered a soup that I love just as much–> without the need for any corn tortillas.

This soup is loaded with vegetables and Mexican-inspired spices, and gets its thick texture by simply using an immersion blender! This version is just as hearty and delicious as any traditional tortilla soup, while being much easier on the digestive system. It’s become a regular weeknight meal for us!

This soup can be made with or without chicken, with fantastic results. Austin and I fell in love with tortilla soup back when we were vegetarians, so that’s still the way we make it the most often, with the addition of cooked quinoa or black beans, instead of chicken. Either way, this soup is sure to be a hit!

Mexican Chicken Soup (with vegetarian option)
serves 6-8

Adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon grass-fed butter
1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, chopped (seeds removed)
2 1/2 cups water
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 lb organic chicken breast or thighs, chopped into 1″ cubes

*Vegetarian option: Replace chicken with 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa or wild rice, or 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat, and saute the onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and chopped chicken (if using), and saute for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly cooked through. Add the water, diced tomatoes with juice, jalapenos, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and chopped cilantro, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the temperature and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.

blend soup

Use an immersion blender to gently puree the soup to your desired texture. You can make it as chunky or blended as you like! I was actually surprised how well the immersion blender shredded the chicken, too.

*If using a vegetarian option, such as quinoa or black beans, I prefer to add them in after using the immersion blender, for texture. You’ll just need an extra minute or so of cooking time after adding them in, to make sure everything is heated through.

Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve warm!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Mexican Chicken Soup (with vegetarian option)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
This soup is loaded with vegetables and Mexican-inspired spices, and gets its thick texture by simply using an immersion blender!
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon grass-fed butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped (seeds removed)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lb organic chicken breast or thighs, chopped into 1" cubes
Vegetarian option: Replace chicken with 1½ cups of cooked quinoa or wild rice, or 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat, and saute the onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. Add the garlic and chopped chicken (if using), and saute for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is nearly cooked through.
  3. Add the water, diced tomatoes with juice, jalapenos, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and chopped cilantro, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the temperature and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to gently puree the soup to your desired texture. You can make it as chunky or blended as you like! I was actually surprised how well the immersion blender shredded the chicken, too.
  5. *If using a vegetarian option, such as quinoa or black beans, I prefer to add them in after using the immersion blender, for texture. You'll just need an extra minute or so of cooking time after adding them in, to make sure everything is heated through.
  6. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve warm!

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of tortilla soup? If so, do you prefer the chicken or vegetarian version?

Comments

  1. Abbra says

    I love chicken tortilla soup with black beans. Also, I use corn flour as a thickner instead of tortillas and I serve it with crumbled corn chips along with other toppings like avocado

  2. Amanda Jewell says

    This looks delicious! If you don’t have an immersion blender, what would you recommend using? A regular blender using the stir/mix or pulse option?

  3. Sue says

    How spicy is it even with the jalapeno seeds removed? I have a very sensitive stomach. The recipe sounds great and I would love to try the vegetarian option.

  4. Dianne says

    I am leaving in a week on a weeklong camping trip. I will be in a trailer so I will have frog and freezer space. I am trying to get all my cooking done early to leave more time for fun. How’s this recipe after frozen any other suggested recipes greatly appreciated!

    • says

      I haven’t frozen this soup recipe in particular, but I’ve had pretty good luck with freezing/thawing almost any recipe I try. I’m sure it would work!

  5. Maureen says

    Just made this today and it is fantastic. I will be taking it to work this week for lunch. I did use chicken stock, but followed the recipe otherwise. We crumbled a few tortilla chips (2-3 is all you need). Only sorry that my avocado isn’t ripe enough yet to add to it!

  6. Jen says

    Really yummy soup! Thanks for the recipe and for a no-tortilla mexican tortilla soup. I didn’t have celery so I put in a little kale. I only had two chicken thighs and thought I would add some black beans, but it turned out so well, I didn’t want to add beans. I also used about 2 cups of homemade chicken stock and one cup + of water. I really enjoy your website and recipes! Also I just used a regular blender (kitchen aide) and it worked well. Lighter and healthier soup — yum! :)

  7. Rochelle Anderson says

    Tried this recipe for dinner on Friday night. My husband’s response was, “this one is a keeper.” Please make it again. I did have some ripe avocado on hand so I cubed it and floated it on the top. Thanks for another grain-free alternative that, as always, is fantastic!

  8. Amie says

    Like many of your recipes, this was simple and delicious! For those without an immersion blender, I pulsed mine in a blender in a few parts since it wouldn’t fit all at once and I only wanted to pulse it instead of fully liquifying it. It worked great!

  9. Carolyna says

    Hi Megan! This is my first time ever writing a comment on someone’s blog, but after the dinner I had last night, I was compelled to let you know how AMAZING it was! I made this soup almost as written, but I didn’t have jalapenos on hand. Instead I used Organic fire roasted diced tomatoes from Trader Joe’s. MAN was it good! My husband couldn’t stop raving about it and my five year old, who it normally takes pulling teeth to get him to finish his meal, had his bowl in his hands, sucking down every last drop he could get! It was fantastic. I’ve been looking around your site for days and finally had all the ingredients to make this soup! I’m so glad that I did and I can’t wait to try all of your other amazing dishes! THANK YOU!

  10. Christie says

    Thanks! Another great recipe from you, and i loved it. Made it again to use up some baked chicken we had left, blended before i put in chicken and added a bit more heat. super good.

  11. Karen says

    I finally made this tonight after wanting to for quite some time. It was so delicious! My husband kept saying how good it was, too. It’s a definite keeper.

  12. Betty says

    This recipe is very similar to the one I got from Vitamix – that is after I make some adjustments…. no squash, mushrooms, etc.
    AND I just throw it all in my 5200 Vitamix and ‘cook’ it.

    It is really good – so I know this recipe is also really good. I think I’ll use your recipe next time – At least with this one I don’t have to think about – don’t add this or that LOL
    I also add more jalepenos to taste & I don’t remove the seeds – sometimes hotter than other times.

    Thank you for having such a great website.

  13. Amy says

    Heaven’s To Betsy’s! Delicioso! This “Mexican Chicken Soup” took me over the moon! I live in Tucson, AZ. and am a private integrative nurse. We are surrounded by Southwest cuisine. I made this and served to client and it was THE BEST SOUP EVER!!! Muchos Gracias!!!

  14. Lisa says

    We just made this recipe for lunch today and it was great! All 4 of my kids even loved it (but I did leave out the jalapeños for their sakes). I also didn’t have cilantro on hand, so I used Italian flat-leaf parsley. I used already cooked and shredded frozen chicken, which made it come together even quicker. I love that you don’t need chicken broth for this recipe, since I don’t always have some homemade broth thawed. Thanks for a great recipe! :)

  15. Sandy says

    This looks delicious! Has anyone experimented with putting this into a slow cooker? I’m returning to a “normal,” 8-5 job and the slow cooker will be my best friend, I’m afraid. ;-)

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