Chickpea (or Chicken) Tortilla Soup

My sister-in-law, Kelsey, taught me this delightfully easy tortilla soup recipe.  She made this recipe while her and a few other of my family members where stuck in London this past December and I know this recipe will always remind me of that week.  My whole family was in town for my wedding and London got a little bit of snow, which rarely happens.  The U.K.’s largest airport couldn’t handle the few flakes of snow so some of my family got stranded at our place for the week.  Despite some frustration with the airlines and the close sleeping quarters the week was a lot of fun.  I got to spend plenty of time with my family plus Kelsey taught me how to make this awesome soup which pleasantly feed the entire crowd.  She made the chicken tortilla soup version, which I show you how to do below, but the chickpea version is just as tasty and a little less work.

From left to right: my sister Rebecca with my nephew Max, my sister Rachel with my niece Gabriella, my sister-in-law Kelsey with my niece Bonnie in London for my wedding

Kelsey’s version of tortilla soup is super-easy, delicious, and good for you.  Throwing the veggies straight into the boiling broth not only saves you time since normally you would cook the veggies first in oil then add in the broth, but also saves you calories and unwanted fat.  A mere tablespoon of oil has a whopping 120 calories and by eliminating oil all together in this recipe we save on calories without sacrificing taste.  Also, the sodium content in this version is much lower than any tortilla soup you would get at a restaurant plus the chickpea version reaches nearly 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake.

Chickpea Tortilla Soup

makes 4 servings

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies or 3-4 mild chilies, seeded and diced (can add more less depending on preference)

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

sea salt and pepper to taste

4 6-inch whole grain tortillas

cooking spray

1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Using a fork roughly mash the chickpeas until you get a chunky consistency with some chickpeas still whole and set aside.  (I added the previous step to get the texture of the chickpeas more like shredded chicken but you can easily just add whole chickpeas if you prefer.) Pour the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add in the mashed chickpeas, chilies, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.  Return the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes.

While the soup is simmering preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut the tortillas into thin 1/4-inch strips and lay on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Season with sea salt and pepper and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.

Serve warm soup topped with crisp tortilla strips and shredded cheese.

Recipe Note: To make Chicken Tortilla Soup replace chickpeas with 2 small boneless chicken breast (about 6 ounces chicken breast total).  Place chicken breast and low sodium vegetable broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 8-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  Leave the vegetable broth in the saucepan and remove the cooked chicken and shred into small pieces.  Add the can of diced tomatoes into the vegetable broth and continue on with the recipe as above, substituting the shredded cooked chicken with the mashed chickpeas.

Nutrition facts per serving: 318 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 660 mg sodium, 54 g total carbohydrates, 10 g fiber, 28 g protein

BALANCE IT OUT:  This tortilla soup recipe really is a perfect meal on its own.  However, 318 calories per serving might be a little low for some people so you can either increase the serving or serve with a salad, half or whole sandwich.  Generally I say meals should be between 300-600 calories but it really depends on the person and their activity level.



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