Photo Credit: Kelly Carpenter

Ever since we moved to New Jersey, I’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed by how many amazing and healthy food options there are so near by. Within 15 miles from our house there is a Whole Foods, Super Stop and Shop, Kings, Shop Rite and even more! Lucky for me, being an avid foodie, there are endless opportunities to get creative and to nourish my belly.

Last summer, when we first moved here, both my husband and I got sick. Both the physical exhaustion and stress weakened our immune systems. Both of us had a cough for the entire month of July! When the cold virus first hit, sinus congestion and a sore throat made my taste buds numb to any flavors. Soup was all we wanted to eat even though it was 100 degrees outside.

Normally I would make my own chicken soup. But at the time, for the entire summer actually, we were living in limbo. We stayed at my husband’s parents’ condo while we explored the area with the goal of living close to them. So, all of our belongings, including all of my kitchen supplies, were all in storage.

Enter Whole Foods Market – it was my savior. They have “homemade” soups in their deli and pre-made food section. Their Mom’s Chicken Soup was my go-to meal. Bland and perfectly simple, it hit the spot. Made with only broth, chicken and veggies (gluten and grain free), it also met my ingredient standards.

Another soup that hit the spot was Whole Foods Chicken Tortilla Soup – a blend of more savory spices, chicken broth and tomatoes. While it was gluten and dairy free, it still had some questionable ingredients like sugar (in the broth), yeast extract and corn flour. It was delicious, but I couldn’t wait to be in my own kitchen and make a “clean” version of this family favorite soup.

Here is what I came up with. The good news is that my family loves my version as much if not more than the Whole Foods one. Make this soup when ever you feel in soup mood and maybe keep some in your freezer too for whenever you catch a cold. It is worth the effort 🙂


Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeño seeded and chopped
1 36 oz can crushed organic tomatoes
4 cups organic bone broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small can green chillies
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 can full fat coconut milk

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender and translucent. Add red pepper and jalapeño. Sauté another few minutes then add the garlic. Stir and cook for another minute before adding the broth and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down. Simmer liquid and chicken broth for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken breasts and shred using two forks.

Add canned tomatoes, chillies, spices and green peas to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken back to pot and stir in coconut milk. Season with salt, fresh ground pepper and fresh lime juice. Top with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado.