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How to Make a Hearty, Healthy Tortilla Soup

January 17th, 2014 Cooking

Tortilla soup is a tradition in Southwestern cuisine, drawing on bold Mexican flavors to make a soul food favorite. Although there are many delicious varieties of tortilla soup, not all are equally good for you. This recipe, however, features smart food choices of with healthy ingredients.

Chicken
Poultry is one of the healthiest ways to incorporate protein into your diet. Chicken is generally lower in fats and cholesterol as a source of protein compared to other meats, and is full of vitamin B3, which is known to speed up your metabolism.

Black beans
Beans are a staple in most tortilla soups. Black beans are particularly good for you, as their shiny black coating has at least eight types of antioxidants. This type of bean is rich with omega-3 fats - which can help protect against heart disease - and contains three times as much as other bean varietals!

Greek yogurt
In this recipe, Greek yogurt is a substitute for sour cream, which is included in many tortilla soups to add a creamy texture. Greek yogurt is much healthier than sour cream, and gives the soup the same thick consistency. Moreover, this ingredient is an excellent source of calcium, which promotes bone health.

Avocado
Great healthy tortilla soup is not quite complete without a few cubes of avocado. This super fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit, believe it or not!) contains 20 essential nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin E and folic acid. An avocado also has more than twice the amount of potassium than a banana! Joseph Mercola, M.D., told The Huffington Post that avocados may also defend against liver damage.

Follow the instructions below to enjoy an authentic, hearty and healthful batch of soup!

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

1 pound chicken breast, skinned, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 small jalapenos, minced
1 bottle of Modelo Negra beer (or another dark Mexican beer)
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 can black beans
1 can chicken stock
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime
4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Method
1. In one large pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat to medium high. Add chopped onion, garlic and jalapenos. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and garlic begin to brown. 

2. Add chicken pieces and stir well to mix in with the vegetables.

3. Once the outside layer of the chicken appears cooked (1-2 minutes), add the beer. Immediately after, add the corn and the beans. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring semi-frequently. 

4. Add the can of chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. Add 1 can's worth of water to the pot. Mix well, then cover. Maintain heat on medium high for 10 minutes.

5. Add 1/4 cup cilantro and the juice from 1/2 a lime. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook for 10 minutes, covered. Make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place tortilla strips on top. Put the sheet in the oven for 10 minutes or until tortillas are golden and stiff to the touch.

To serve your healthy tortilla soup
In bowls, add a handful of tortilla strips. Ladle the soup on top. Add a pinch of shredded mozzarella, several cubes of avocado and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt. For garnish, sprinkle cilantro and lime juice over the soup.