Don't you love it when your food matches the holiday? This slow cooker chicken tortilla soup is the perfect healthified cold-weather classic that just so happens to be festive with all it's red and green too.
This slow cooker chicken tortilla soup recipe is so easy. I know the ingredients list may look long, but half of it is spices. And, just so you know, if there are some on here that you don't have, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you just skip them. I'd say the only required spice here is the chili powder. Everything else is extra. Of course all together they make for a deeper, more complex flavor that's really delicious, but if you want to keep it simple and don't want to buy a whole bunch of spices at once, you can do that.
Most of the time, as long as you're using real food and quality ingredients, spices only add to it. The food on its own, without the spices, will be good. Spices just take it up a notch.
My first priority when shopping for recipe ingredients is to read the labels and make sure I'm getting quality ingredients with nothing weird in them. I should clarify... by label I mean list of ingredients, not the nutrition fact information - that stuff is just meant to confuse. The ingredients list is all you need to know.
I bring this up here because this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup, like a lot of soups, calls for broth and canned or jarred (or boxed - have you seen these at your store?) tomatoes. These two items often hide mystery ingredients you don't want in your food.
Did you know most store-bought broths and stocks have sugar, wheat, yeast, corn starch, and "natural flavors" or "chicken flavor" (a.k.a. MSG) and other additives and preservatives in them? Seriously - go read the ingredients list either next time you're at the store, or if you have some in your pantry, check it out.
Same goes for tomatoes - paste, sauce, diced.
There are brands out there that don't add all that stuff though. You can find ones that are made with only ingredients that you'd put in them if you were making it yourself. Some of my favorite go-to's are Pacific for broths and stocks, and recently I discovered Pomi for tomato products. I love that they come boxed so you don't have to worry about BPA linings or the acids in the tomatoes leeching aluminum (ya, it's a thing. I know, gross, right?). (See my favorites page for specific product info and more from these brands.)
And then of course the rest is all the real deal stuff you just can't get from a can or a box like this bad boy right here...
The key things to look for on an ingredients list:
- you know what everything is (ie. tomatoes, onion, olive oil.... no question)
- you (better yet, your kid) can pronounce every word
- there's nothing that doesn't sound like food, or that you wouldn't keep in your own kitchen
- a minimum number of ingredients
- no junky fats (ie. soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil)
- no sugar (or other names for sugar - ie. evaporated cane juice), or if there is sugar it's low in the list (ingredients are listed in order of how much is used)
I set the bar high, I know. But don't you think we deserve it? I mean, why should we be eating sub-par food - cooking sub-par meals, when there's better stuff out there - in terms of taste and, more importantly for your health. Are ya with me??
Can't Beat a Good Broth
There are some great products available but nothing compares to the taste and nutritional value of making a broth yourself.
Making your own vegetable broth and bone broth is really pretty simple - it's mostly just gathering up a bunch of vegetables, boiling in water, straining and storing it.
What I like to do is make broths every now and then and store mason jars of it in the freezer so I can just pull one out whenever I'm making a soup or stew.
Broths and stocks are how the best restaurants achieve the depth of flavor that makes their dishes feel like you're eating at a restaurant. Now, imagine being able to eat like that at home, any night of the week!
It's a lot cheaper than buying the boxed stuff, too, BTW. Considering you can make them completely from scraps, they're practically free when you make them yourself. So just think what you can save in stock!
I have an easy vegetable broth recipe here. And you can find my tutorial on how to make bone broth using scraps from a whole chicken in the highlights on my Instagram for now until I get a blog post together.
Whether you go the DIY route or stick to the store, either way the flavors in this slow cooker chicken tortilla soup will make you melt like the cheese you put on top (if you go that route).
Best part is, there's so much goodness in here this "tortilla" soup doesn't even need the cheese or the tortilla even. Of course, they're not gonna hurt, either.
I can't wait to hear what you think!
When you give it a try, come back here and tell us what you think. I'd love to hear how it turned out. I hope you enjoy!
Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp basil
- ½ coriander
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flake
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1.5 lbs (1-2 lbs) chicken breast chicken
- Baby spinach
- Optional toppings:
- organic, non-GMO corn chips or Siete tortilla chips
- organic shredded cheese
- avocado, diced
- cilantro, chopped
- Put onion, garlic, pepper jalapeño and spices in slow cooker. Top with chicken breast. Cover with tomatoes and broth. Cook on low for 6 hours.
- When done, remove chicken breast from slow cooker and place in a large bowl. Shred chicken with a fork, then return to slow cooker. Stir to mix everything well, adding a few big handfuls of spinach (as much as you like).
- Serve topped with your choice of avocado, cilantro, chips and/or cheese.
Shop the Recipe
Siete tortilla chips (gluten and corn free)
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Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.