Soups are often a great way to add a lot of veggies to your diet and this recipe is no exception. On top of that, this recipe is quick and requires only a few minutes of prep time chopping veggies and opening cans. I love making a big batch of this soup and having it for leftovers for lunch for the next few days. Oftentimes I will even freeze some in several pint-sized mason jars for days when I need a quick meal and have run out of time or for my hubby to easily pack them for lunch.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 (4oz) can diced green chilies
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
12oz cooked chicken breast, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Directions: In a large pot, heat canola oil, add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and jalapenos, and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, corn, green chilies, cumin, and chili powder, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and add chicken. Top with fresh cilantro.
Some of the nutritional highlights of this soup include black beans, canned tomatoes, and carrots.
Black beans provide numerous health benefits. They are rich in complex carbs as well as protein, which help stabilize blood sugars and keep you feeling full longer. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The high protein content of beans also makes them a great option for vegetarians and vegans as ½ cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat. They are also surprisingly rich in antioxidants and a great source of fiber, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, folate and potassium. Beans are also inexpensive and take no prep time if you buy them canned.
Tomatoes are one of those foods that actually get most nutritious when they are cooked. Cooked tomatoes have significantly higher lycopene levels because it is more bioavailable. So cooked tomato products, like canned tomatoes, are actually the highest in lycopene content. Lycopene is a carotenoid with high antioxidant activity. Their anti-inflammatory properties are even more important during pregnancy as inflammation is linked to many health problems during pregnancy including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Carrots are known for their high beta-carotene content which gives carrots their bright orange color. Did you know that by cooking your carrots in oil, like in this soup, you increase the amount of available beta-carotene in the carrots by EIGHT times?! Also, it’s better to choose whole mature carrots versus baby carrots. Baby carrots are actually just the cores of mature carrots that have had the outer layers stripped away. And like more foods, the outer layer is much more nutritious than the core.
Some of my favorite toppings for this soup include avocados, shredded cheddar cheese, and plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.