Chicken Tortilla Soup

Oct 29, 2015 | Entree, Recipe

Just a quick post here today (with a quick photo to match — because obviously eating this soup was much more important than taking pictures!)

Back when I lived in rural Arkansas, there was one good restaurant in town — a Mexican restaurant called El Rio Lindo. I only ever ordered one of two things there: chicken tacos, or chicken tortilla soup. The soup wasn’t even on their menu, but it was legendary for it’s deliciousness. And any time anyone mentioned feeling sick, they were immediately prescribed a bowl of chicken tortilla soup.

Since I can’t have Rio’s soup anymore, I decided I must make my own. Plus, it actually felt like fall here in Texas last week! Unfortunately, it was the nasty kind of fall weather — cold & rainy — but whatever. It was soup weather, so I was going to have soup.

Eating soup at any restaurant now is out of the question for me, since inevitably it’s full of garlic & onion (and a stomachache — definitely not the desired result when eating soup). But luckily for me and for you, this soup is incredibly easy & quick to make! Well I mean, if you wanted to, you could cook it for a long time and I’m sure it would taste even better. Or, you can throw everything in a pot until the chicken and pasta are cooked, declare it done, and devour it. Just saying…

So what are we waiting for? Let’s eat some soup!

Chicken Tortilla Soup | Go Messy or Go Hungry

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Course Entree
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 -4 servings


  • 1 clove garlic
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chicken broth concentrate
  • 1 medium carrot chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons each cumin, chill powder, & paprika
  • dash each cayenne, ginger, red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • ¼ - ½ jalapeño pepper
  • ½ - ¾ pounds chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • A couple handfuls gluten free pasta I’ a fan of Trader Joe’s Quinoa Fusilli; for this I used these Brown Rice Tinkyada shells which I found at Whole Foods.)
  • Lime juice
  • Avocado cut into slices
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla chips
  • Goat cheese crumbled


  1. In a medium to large pot, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Crush a head of garlic with the flat side of a knife, peel it, and add to the pot. Cut a medium carrot and cook it with the garlic until carrot is slightly soft and garlic is fragrant.
  2. Remove the garlic (the FODMAPs in garlic are not oil soluble but they are water soluble, so essentially you’re getting the garlic flavor without the stomachache here). Add water (start with less and add more if you need) and the chicken broth if using. Add the spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, ginger, pepper flakes, salt & pepper), and the jalapeño. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Cut the chicken into cubes and add to the soup, along with pasta. Taste the broth and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Boil the soup on medium until chicken is cooked and pasta is soft, 15-20 minutes. Taste again and adjust seasonings.
  5. Divide into bowls and top with a squirt of lime juice, a few slices of avocado, cilantro leaves, crumbled goat cheese, and tortilla chips.
  6. Devour!

Recipe Notes

I didn’t actually measure anything when I made the recipe, so take the amounts below as guidelines. Taste the soup broth throughout the process and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Most of the time, if the broth tastes too bland, it just needs a few more shakes of salt to bring out all the flavors.

I once read the ingredient list of every soup broth concentrate in Whole Foods, and managed to find this Better than Bouillon Kosher chicken base that doesn’t have any garlic or onion! It lasts forever too. Highly recommend. But if you don’t have any broth, never fear. Just increase the amounts of seasonings slightly and you should be good.

If you want to, you can cook the chicken separately before putting it in the soup, shredding it if you like. In the interest of getting this soup into my mouth as fast as possible, I just cut it into cubes and dropped it in!

This served 2 people for dinner, with enough leftovers for both of us to eat it for lunch the next day (although I did add in some leftover sausage too), but it’s easily scaled for more if you need!

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