Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Soy Free - Meat Optional
The other day I felt a cold coming on. Instead of panicking and shaming myself about how I ran myself ragged, I sought healing in the kitchen. Cold pressed juice, herbal teas, and warming tortilla soup quickly became my meal plan for the weekend.
It's that time of year when the sun is still shining strong and giving the impression of summer, yet the mornings have a nice chill in the air and you see signs of leaves starting to change. Not quite summer, but not quite fall. It's fummer! Okay, I just made that up, but don't think that's the last time you'll hear that word.
This bowl of warmth and deliciousness embodies just that, fummer. It's not heavy like winter stews, nor is it light and cooling like a summer gazpacho. This is the golden ticket for filling your belly with vitamin C-rich vegetables and a slightly heartier texture created by corn tortillas. If you opt to include animal products in your diet, the chicken broth will add extra vitamins, minerals, collagen, and protein. Just be sure to use quality organic chicken that was pasture-raised (even better if you can find chicken from local farms too). This will ensure that you are getting animal product free from antibiotics and added growth hormones, as well as, respecting the health of the farmer, environment, and reducing your risk of inflammation from grain fed, inhumanely raised animals. More on that in another post.
While I choose to consume organic products as much as possible, I typically will not indicate this in my recipe ingredient lists because I feel it's a choice we each get to make for ourselves. Not all of us have access (physically/financially) to purchase all organic all of the time. That said, there are a few items that I will specifically note as organic in the ingredient list. These are the items that I highly encourage you to purchase organic as much as possible. Corn is an organic non-negotiable for me because it is one of the most genetically modified members of our food supply in the United States. Corn seeds are manipulated in a lab to become disease and insect resistant, and herbicide tolerant. In short, this means that you are consuming herbicide and insecticide which can wreak havoc on your gut micro-biome, immune health, digestive function, and increase inflammation in your body. By definition, anything certified organic is Non-GMO. When selecting organic corn tortillas, look for ones that have minimal ingredients (organic corn, butter/oil/water, sea salt, and sometimes lime). Traditionally, corn tortillas are made with ~3 ingredients, so anything over that is a sure indicator that you're getting an overly processed product that may not treat your body well.
Tasty Tortilla Soup
Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: ~1.5 hrs., Total time: ~2 hrs.
Makes: 3+ Quarts
- 2 Tbs. ghee or coconut oil
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ¼ & 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
- 1 yellow squash, quartered and chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 4 cups (1 quart) veggie/chicken broth
- 4 organic corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
- Optional: ½ C. frozen organic corn
- Optional: ~1 ½ C. shredded organic chicken – roasted, rotisserie or breast
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- cherry tomatoes
- shredded cheese
- cashew/sour cream
- lime wedge
- tortilla chips/strips
- Heat oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Sauté onion and carrot until onion becomes translucent (~5 - 7 minutes).
- Add garlic until fragrant.
- Add bell pepper, zucchini and squash. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add spices and tomato. Stir quickly to avoid burning.
- Once all vegetables are evenly coated, immediately add the broth. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add tortillas and stir to combine.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tortillas have disintegrated and the soup has thickened (~ 1 - 1.5 hrs.).
- If using, add corn and shredded chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste just before serving and add as many toppings as you’d like!
Freezer Prep: After 1 - 1.5 hrs. of simmering, fill mason jars with soup. Leave 1-inch headspace to prevent cracking. Allow soup to completely cool before covering and freezing. When ready to use, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, re-heat, and add chicken after pulling from the freezer or stick with the veggie version.
Prep Tip: Roasting your own chicken? Save the bones and all vegetable ends/remains to simmer and make a stock for future use. Freeze stock, so it’s ready to use whenever you need.
Storage: Soup will last up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Will last for three months in an airtight jar in the freezer (freeze without chicken).
*Vegan Option: omit ghee and chicken.
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.