I love doing an occasional Whole 30 diet as a cleanse. Whole 30 is a great way to find out what you might be sensitive to and just hit the reset button. But you know what I miss on Whole 30? That dense, savory feeling after a hearty meal. Do you know what I mean?!
If you've tried whole 30, maybe you can relate? After a while, it just feels like I'm eating so clean, it's just going right through me and I miss that hearty meal feeling.
Maybe it's just me? Who knows... I say that all to say that this meal is born out of doing Whole 30 and craving that savory, hearty soup goodness while also embracing all whole foods!
Meet my Mexican Chicken & Veggie Soup!
This recipe can be adapted to suite your needs easily so if you're not Whole 30 and looking for some more to add to the mix, you can easily add beans and corn and top with sour cream and cheese. But I promise you, it's equally delicious without all the fixin's
So let's just hop right into it.
The first step is to essential make a homemade salsa. We'll brown/ blacken some onions in an oiled cast iron skilled and then, once blackened, we'll blend those onions up in the blender (or food processor) with a can of diced tomatoes and a small handful of of cilantro. Set that aside.
Now it's time to caramelize the chicken. This is key. I think it's the Maillard reaction here on the chicken that really gives this soup it's hearty flavor. To caramelize the chicken for this Mexican Chicken and Veggie soup, re-oil that same cast iron skillet and add the chicken to a medium high heat pan. You should here a nice sizzle. Salt and pepper the chicken a bit, now just LEAVE IT THERE.
I know so many of us learned it was somehow good to move meat around... no! The less we touch meat while it cooks the better-you're allowing it more time to form the Maillard reaction and once that reaction has taken place, it will not only be juicier, but more flavorful as well.
Now it's time to flip the chicken and it's at this stage we'll add the salsa. The salsa is going to help trap in the chicken's moisture as well as marinate it.
Once the chicken is cooked through, chop it up, and add everything to a dutch oven, or stock pot.
Reoil your cast iron pan and add veggies of your choice, I enjoyed adding squash. You could also add carrots, more onions, even peas if you please. Again, same idea, move the veggies as little as possible to encourage caramelization. As they cook, it's a great time to add our paprika and chipotle powders which will really bring those authentic flavors to this Mexican Chicken and Veggie Soup.
Something to note about spices. Spices open their flavors up when exposed to heat. So it's important to offer spies an opportunity to be slowly opened over heat to get their full effect!
Once the veggies are lightly cooked but not mushy, add them to your stock pot. Here you can also add corn, beans, and any other goodies you like if you're not on Whole 30.
All that's left to do is add our chicken broth. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Once it has simmered a few minutes, give it a taste test. Now is a good time to check for flavor balance - does it have enough salt? pepper? spices? Adjust as needed.
Serve with avocado, cilantro and lime. For non Whole 30 eaters, you may also enjoy it with sour cream and cheese!
We really love this recipe & hope you do too! Be a doll and let me know what you think in the comments below? I love hearing from you! :)
Mexican Chicken and Veggie Soup
A hearty Whole 30 friendly recipe everyone will love. Easily adapted to be vegetarian and non whole 30
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 cup chard
- 32 oz chicken broth
Chop all veggies into bite sized pieces
Add onion to high heat cast iron skillet, season lightly with salt
Once blackened, add onion to food processor or blender with can of diced tomatoes and 1/4 cup cilantro. Blend until combined. Set aside
Re-oil cast iron pan and add chicken. *To optimize tenderness and flavor, do not move chicken around, let it brown in place*
Add paprika, chipotle, garlic powder, and a bit of salt to chicken. Once browned on one side, flip chicken and add salsa. Allow chicken to simmer and cook through. Once cooked, chop up into bite sized pieces
Add cooked chicken and salsa mixture to stock pot
Re-oil cast iron pan and add zuchinni and other veggies of choice. Once browned lightly, add to stock pot
Add 32 oz chicken broth to stock pot and bring to simmer. Taste test and adjust flavors as needed
Serve with avocado, lime wedge and fresh cilantro. For non Whole 30 eaters, you may also enjoy this topped with sour cream and cheese!