celebrate in simple style with:

Brilliant Bundt Cakes

buy now!

Nearly Famous Chicken Tortilla Soup

Scars and Soup~

I have a small scar between my eyes. It’s a pock-mark really. Only the most attentive surveyor would notice it, but I notice. Every day.

I went to a skin clinic to consider having it removed. The doctor told me that 3 simple laser treatments would render my little indentation obsolete. Amazing, for less than $250 a scar-free face! I went home to think about it, and had a mini-revelation.

Scars are a sign of healing and growth. Every scar represents a life lesson.

The pock-mark between my eyes, a valuable lesson to a nine-year-old, NOT to hold a parakeet so close to your face when you’re sick with the chickenpox! The marks on my forearm represent an education in keeping my elbows up when I reach into the oven. The crater of my ankle cautions me to wear long pants when walking through thick barbed-wire laden fields. The tiny slash on my finger prompts me to keep my fingers curled back while chopping carrots for tortilla soup! These lessons are all BRANDED on my body.. and in my mind.

Internal scars are the same. We’ve all been wounded by loved ones, harsh realities and disappointments. But as long as these wounds don’t remain open, as long as we allow them to heal, not fester, we are showing signs of growth. We are becoming stronger, healthier. We are developing character.

I have scares from people in my past, that act as tokens of how to handle future relationships. I have scars from being overlooked for promotion; they produced a deep work ethic. There are even scars I’ve inflicted on myself that now stand as a memento to hold and protect a healthy self-image! They are all symbols of maturity and therefore utterly priceless.

So I think I’m going to keep it my little pock-mark. I can now look at a scar as a thing of beauty!

It would seem that everyone has their own version of  chicken tortilla soup. Some are thick and cheesy; some thin and watery. I prefer a thin, but not watery, broth-based chicken tortilla soup with LOTS of veggies and toppings. I developed this recipe years ago and would venture to say it is my MOST requested recipe. Both to personal friends or blog readers, I email this recipe constantly!

So here it is, ASP’s nearly famous Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, have at it!

I’ve also adapted this dish to fit into “The 4 Hour BodySlow Carb Diet. Omit the cheese and tortilla chips~it’s STILL completely wonderful!


In a large stock pot, heat the oil over high.  Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro and garlic, sauté 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spices, then bring to a boil.

Add the broth, carrots and chicken.  Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes.

Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.

Ladle into soup bowls and top with remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces. Serves 4+.

*This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken.  Just add it in at the very end to warm it up!

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. ~Garrison Keillor

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yield: 4+

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


2 Tb. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 14 ½ oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
¾ Tb. cumin
½ Tb. chili powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 bay leaves
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 skinless chicken breasts, halved and thinly sliced
¾ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1-2 avocados, diced
Bag of tortilla chips


In a large stock pot, heat the oil over high. Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro and garlic, sauté 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spices, then bring to a boil.

Add the broth, carrots and chicken. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes.

Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.

Ladle into bowls and top with remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces.

*This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. Just add it in at the very end to warm it up. **To make this a 4 Hour Body "slow carb diet" recipe, omit the tortilla chips and cheese. It's still awesome!

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

You May Also Like...

60 Responses to “Nearly Famous Chicken Tortilla Soup”

  1. Nisrine|Dinners & Dreamsposted January 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Lovely. With the avicado and cheese on top, it is simply perfect. Have a wonderful night!


  2. Blog is the New Blackposted January 26, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    GORGEOUS photos! I love chicken tortilla soup- and the avocado is a GREAT addition.


  3. Belinda @zomppaposted January 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Scars are stories to tell! Oh, wow, and that’s quite a story. This soup is a thing of beauty!


  4. Apicius' Apprenticeposted January 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I wish the avocados at our local Teeter didn’t taste like cardboard right now! I would be all over this soup. Looks delicious, Sommer!


  5. Michelleposted January 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Sommer the pictures are beautiful !!! I am making this for next week.Thanks!!!


  6. Debbie B.posted January 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I have a scar on my face too :) :). Hit by a half a brick on the playground as a kid and needed to get stitches! I hated it growing up, but now I look at it as making me unique :).


  7. Aldyposted January 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Sommer, First of all, I just want to say that I love the new look of your blog. ” BEAUTIFUL” . Great job! Your Chicken Tortilla Soup looks absolutely delicious .And with the avocados…wow! my mouth is watering now :)

    Cheers from NZ,



  8. rebeccaposted January 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    love this soup and great and moving post


  9. claireposted January 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Ah! Yay! I am so excited! I never win anything!
    On another note- this soup looks delicious! Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Also, I agrees with you about scars- they are a reminder of the past and all we have been thru… The good the bad and the ugly!


  10. Jill Colonnaposted January 27, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Your photos just have these aromas leaping out my computer screen!


  11. Katerinaposted January 27, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Every wrinkle and and every mark inside and outside of my body represents an experience to me as well, good or bad. I don’t want to erase all these memories from my body because I feel I erase them from my life. I want them to be there and remind me of those moments. I can understand why everyone asks for this soup, it looks delicious.


  12. Michael Stephen Willsposted January 27, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Excellent presentation, Sommer.


  13. The Food Houndposted January 27, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I know tortilla soup is such a popular recipe, but whenever I see pictures of it, it looks so bland and unappealing! Not the case with yours!! I can’t wait to print this out and try it! We love Mexican Chez Hound!


  14. Lea Annposted January 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Beautiful photos.


  15. Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Growposted January 27, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Yum!! That looks amazing! One of my favorites!


  16. Steve @ HPDposted January 27, 2011 at 9:22 am

    “God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars”.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard


    • Sommer — January 30th, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

      That’s a good one!


  17. Laura @ Family Spiceposted January 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

    And the wrinkles starting to appear on my face are laugh lines! Well, that’s what I tell myself! I’m not a soup fan, but I ADORE chicken tortilla soup. I think it’s because of all the fixings.


  18. Monetposted January 27, 2011 at 10:30 am

    What a great reflection…I love how you moved from bodily scars to internal scars. Very poignant! And then of course, this soup looks amazing! I love all the fresh ingredients…the chips…the avocado. Too good!


  19. Saraposted January 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I’m with you! Scars, wrinkles and any other signs are signs of life and experience…the experience I bet you needed for this chicken tortilla soup! It really looks wonderful. I’m in love with the colors of this soup. So heart-warming (and stomach warming!)


  20. Gabby@FoodChowDownposted January 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

    this looks so hearty and yummy. it reminds me of the chicken tortilla soup that I had at Yardhouse.


  21. 5 Star Foodieposted January 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Your chicken tortilla soup sounds super delicious, gorgeous presentation too!


  22. Kate @ Diethood.composted January 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Lovely post!! I have that scar inbetween my eyebrows … and it’s from chickenpox! I picked it and picked it till it bled and got a scar from it. Nobody sees it, but I know it’s there…I know what you mean. :)

    The tortilla soup looks incredible – I love the variety that you’ve used and the result of a colorful, flavorful meal.


  23. Sommer Jposted January 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I haven’t made this yet, and I am not sure why! It’s flavors my children all love! Gorgeous soup. I have a scar on my cheek….but I love what you said- “scars are a sign of healing” nice :)


  24. pigpigscornerposted January 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Scars are memories too! The soup sounds fab. Great photos!


  25. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchenposted January 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Hahaha…I was actually thinking to myself that I wanted to make a chicken tortilla soup! This looks delicious!! I can’t wait to give it a try! :)


  26. Lauraposted January 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Sommer! Love your new site, but what I’m really here to say is that I made this tonight last minute with rotisserie chicken in less than 1/2 an hour (after sending Brian to the store) and we loved it! The crushed tortilla chips and fresh cilantro were amazing. This is a new simple favorite. ( : xo


    • Sommer — January 27th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

      Oh Laura, I’m so glad you liked it! Last night I tweeted about my “nearly famous” soup and several local friends responded that it was famous in our circle. TWO different families reported they were actually having it for dinner last night!


  27. Kocineraposted January 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I loooove tortilla soup! However, I’ve never actually made it at home! Your version looks so delicious, and I love all the toppings, too.


  28. Nanaposted January 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I had just printed off another Chicken Tortilla Soup to try when you posted yours. So tonight I tried your recipe and it is definitely a winner. We loved every flavor and it tasted so fresh. Thanks Sommer…this soup is definitely a winner and so easy to make.


  29. Lora @cakeduchessposted January 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I think scars rock. Now internal scars…not so much. But they are lessons learned. Great post Sommer. Even better SOUP! This looks fabulous!


  30. A Canadian Foodieposted January 27, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    You are using my green pot, again! I can feel some warm shivers of motivation coming on, here! I will be putting this recipe on my to make list and you just may find yourself headlining my site someday soon… depending on how fast I get my act together. This sounds YUMMY and your photographs as to PERFECT and quietly sophisticated, thoughtful, elegant and definitely celebrate the fresh ingredients used to make this dish.
    Big hug to you today.
    The colour of your site is such a pleasure to open (but there are these two big bare feet – beautifully manicured) on the advertisement right beside your bowl of soup that is a touch off putting)


  31. Eileenposted January 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Sommer, Thanks for the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. It sounds wonderful. I love your story too. I have a small scar on my forehead from a bike accident when I was a kid. I blamed the accident on a neighbor boy – I lied he didn’t have anything to do with it. My mom was so upset she paid his mother a visit. A couple stitches, and hours later, he showed up at our door with flowers for me. YIKES! I’d say that scar of mine is well deserved :)


  32. Jayposted January 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    wonderful post…sounds awesome…
    Tasty appetite


  33. Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbsposted January 28, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Love your photos! The soup looks so vibrant and alive.


  34. Angie's Recipesposted January 28, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Sommer, the soup looks so comforting, that I wish I could have a large bowl right now!


  35. Dmarieposted January 28, 2011 at 9:15 am

    wow, the recipe looks great, and love your reflections on the scars that make us who we are. very thought-provoking. thx!


  36. Fresh and Foodieposted January 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I can see why it’s a requested recipe — it looks delicious! I’m not a big soup person but I really like tortilla soup. Yours looks fab.


  37. Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchenposted January 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Great job, this looks SO good!


  38. Aipiposted January 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Perfect dinner for these cold evenings..loved those avocado chunks :)


  39. Suchitraposted January 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I loved the look of your new website- awesome!The dish looks tasty and delicious..


  40. Angposted January 28, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t cut yourself short. This is totally famous:) Great reminder that our scars are our testimony. Our proof that we are living. Great post!


  41. Rosaposted January 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    A scrummy soup & great meal idea!




  42. Gourmandeposted January 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Superb dish.
    I like your story. I have tiny scars due to a little illness inside my arm. When they were fresh I was really mad about it, I didn’t wear short sleeves that year, I even had sorts of gloves. I had to wait before I could have them removed. Later when the dermatologist reminded me I planned to do the laser, I said : ” NO ! I keep them.”. They are now part of me and whenever I see them, they remind me of the holidays with friends when I was hiding my arm.


  43. Lizposted January 30, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Such a gorgeous bowl of soup…I can see why you get so many requests. And I love your take on scars…so insightful…


  44. Kristenposted January 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    That soup looks so good with the avocado and chips. I love soups that are so hearty (but that make you want a couple of bowls full because they taste so good!)


  45. Stellaposted January 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I like your pock mark, Sommer! And I like even more that you are going to keep it;-)
    Hey, this soup looks awesome. I love the step by step photos-they are so enticing. Plus, they make me want your Le Creuset looking Cauldron (smile). Ooh, and that bottom photo is killer by the way. Just lovely!


  46. denise @ bread expectationsposted January 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Scars are badges of honour and they don’t give those out to just anyone! I wear mine with pride ;)

    LOVE your gorgeous soup and how I know it will stick to my ribs. It’s been raining continuously for about 28 straight hours now, I’m shivering in my robe and slippers and I tell you, I could really use a bowl of it right NOW!!


  47. sweetlifeposted January 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I prefer my childhood scars to my adult scars, lol..but with a bowl of this goregous soup, my scars would quickly fade..great recipe!



  48. Launieposted February 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    That soup looks fantastic!


  49. Saraposted February 7, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I think if you can reflect like that, you can get the scar removed and still remain the great, lesson-learning person that you are. You will just look at where the scar used to be and think of the words you wrote above in addition to your nine-year-old-self. You won’t just have to think of pox and birds, you can think of being emotionally healthy, and a self-reflective person.You will get two lessons from one scar. Not too shabby :)


  50. Pingback: Stone Soup. With Chicken, Cheese, Spices, and Tortilla Chips. | Domestiphobia

  51. meganposted November 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    absolutely delicious soup!!! added some roasted red peppers….wonderful. thanks :)


  52. Naviposted March 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Going to make this tonight, have all of the ingredients gathered and its a perfect overcast day for some tortilla soup! Will post about how it turns out. Wish me luck!!!


  53. Pingback: Gross and Glorious | this life abundant

  54. Laura (Tutti Dolci)posted October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I love chicken tortilla soup, this looks amazing! Glad you posted it on you FB page :).


  55. Pingback: Stone Soup. With Chicken, Cheese, Spices, and Tortilla Chips. | Domestiphobia

  56. Meganposted January 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you for this delicious recipe. I found it over a year ago when I was searching for a thin tortilla soup. I have made it at least 10 times since, and am making it again tonight. It’s one of my favorites!!! Thank you :)


  57. Susan Stonickposted May 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    This is excellent! Wanted a little more veggies, so did add extra carrots, celery, corn and black beans. Wonderful!!!!


Leave a Comment