Quick Low Salt Chicken Tortilla Soup

Although my heritage is British and German, I love tortilla soup. Unfortunately, I cannot order it from a restaurant because it has too much salt. Too much salt causes my ankles to swell, which is uncomfortable and dangerous for someone like me who takes blood pressure medication. Can I make tortilla soup at home?

I decided to give it a try, searched my cookbooks and found several recipes. An internet search followed and I found dozens more. The local newspaper also published a recipe. After reading enough recipes to make my eyes cross, I combined several recipes and added my own twist.

Tortilla soup is popular in many states. Barbara Hansen describes two Californian versions in her “Los Angeles Times” article, “A Bowl of Mexican Soup”. In Mexico City, she begins, the classic soup is chicken broth combined with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili peppers and tortillas cut into strips. In California, the soup often has a tomato base thickened with ground tortillas or is a bean soup with fried tortillas.

“A good tortilla soup can be a revelation,” she writes, “rich with an intriguing flavor of roasted corn, vibrant in color and toasted, mouth-watering aromas.” No one seems to know the origin of the soup, although some believe it comes from leftovers.

I wanted a quick version of this Mexican favorite, something with a lot of flavor and only a little bit of salt. My pantry had most of the ingredients I needed, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, a can of chopped peppers, and a can of salt-free chicken broth. Authentic recipes always contain cilantro, something I don’t like, so I left it out. If you like cilantro, add it to the soup.

To my amazement, I found unsalted taco chips in the Mexican section of my grocery store. You can use salted crisps if you like. The preparation time for my recipe is 10 minutes maximum. I simmered the soup for 20 minutes, but you can simmer it longer or transfer it to a slow cooker. My husband and I had the soup for lunch, but it can easily turn into dinner with the addition of salad and custard for dessert.


2 tablespoons of olive oil

14 oz package of chicken fillets

1 medium onion, finely chopped

14.5-ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes

32 oz carton chicken broth

4 ounces of diced green peppers

1 cup of frozen corn

Garlic powder to taste

1 teaspoon low sodium taco seasoning

1/2 teaspoon lower sodium salt (can be omitted)

Unsalted tortilla chips

Grated cheddar cheese, made with 2% milk


Cut the chicken fillets into bite-sized pieces. Coat the bottom of a pot or large saucepan with olive oil. Add the chicken and sauté over medium heat until it becomes Add the chopped onions and cook for a minute. With the exception of the tortilla chips, add all the other ingredients. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Pour into bowls and garnish with crushed Mexican crisps. Garnish with lime wedges, chopped avocado, grated cheddar cheese, and cilantro if you like. Makes six generous servings.

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