If my family’s sneezing, congestion and general uncomfortableness isn’t a sign that spring has officially sprung, I don’t know what is! The plants and grasses are the brightest lime green (one of my favorite colors), the trees are budding and flowers are blooming. Here in the Bay Area, and specifically on the Peninsula where it stays a bit chillier year round, it’s always soup season! What is better for you when you’re suffering from seasonal allergies or even a spring cold than soup.
Enter the Southwest Chicken and Vegetable Soup. I love a one pot meal that combines fiber rich vegetables, an easily prepared protein, and lots of flavor – this soup wins in all of those categories! Most tortilla soups or Mexican chowders lack the amount of heartiness I’m looking for. They are often full of too much liquid, soggy strips of tortillas and never enough fiber-rich vegetables to keep you full. This soup is none of those. I took the concept of my vegetarian chili which I’ve been making for over 20 years as well as a few other Mexican soup recipes and came up with what I think makes a delicious lunch or dinner and most definitely tasty leftovers.
This is an easy one to make! The chicken can be easily shredded from a store-bought rotisserie chicken or from a few bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts that are roasted at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. The vegetables can be modified with what you have on hand – add frozen or fresh corn, poblano peppers to kick up the spice, a few handfuls of spinach. The beans can be doubled or swapped out with kidney, white or pinto beans. The broth can be chicken or vegetable stock but I especially like using my homemade or quality store bought chicken bone broth that provides even more protein to the soup.
Place a few bowls of toppings out next to a hot pot of this soup and watch your people fill their bowls and their tummies with nourishing ingredients that keep them full for hours.
Cheers and Happy Spring,
Southwest Chicken and Vegetable Soup
This is a delicious, filling soup with fiber rich vegetables and southwest spices that can be enjoyed year-round. The toppings are fun to customize so choose your own adventure!
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, small dice (about 2 cups)
- 4 celery stalks, small dice (about 2 cups)
- 4 carrots, peeled, small dice (about 2 cups)
- kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium zucchini, small dice (about 2 cups)
- 1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, small dice (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 large jalapeno, membrane and seeds removed, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice or whole tomatoes in puree, hand crushed
- 4-5 cups chicken stock or bone broth
- 2 cups shredded or diced roasted chicken
- 1 14.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Toppings: diced avocado, sliced green onion, cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed up tortilla chips, fresh lime juice
In a large pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper. Cook until the vegetables have a bit of color – about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the zucchini, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic and spices. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juices and chicken stock or bone broth. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then turn to low and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes. The zucchini and bell pepper should be tender.
Add the chicken and black beans and heat though. Taste for seasoning, adjust as needed. Top with desired toppings.