Quick Paleo Chicken & Kale Tortilla Soup


If you’ve ever been to a Tex Mex joint or travelled through California or Texas, you would have seen a tortilla soup on the menu. Although nobody is quite sure of its origins, this hearty and zesty soup has become a bit of a darling of Mexican fusion cuisine. The purists will have to forgive me but as this is a paleo friendly dish, the tortillas no están incluidos! Also, I’ve gone on my own adventure when playing with the traditional recipes so this is another Irey’s special. Es muy delicioso (it’s very tasty) and I hope you like it.


Related: 10 Best Paleo Chicken Soup Recipes


Kale & Chicken Tortilla Soup (minus the tortillas)

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 12 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 27 mins
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Mexican


There are many versions of a tortilla soup and this is my own take on it. I wanted to create a recipe that’s really quick and easy to make, perfect for a mid week dinner or lunch, and this one should only take you 20 minutes. Feel free to use fresh, raw chicken instead of pre-cooked chicken meat. Simply pan fry it for 6-8 minutes before dicing and adding to the soup. And beware, this soup is a little spicy but you can modify the heat by adding less jalapeños.



  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 large red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup pickled Jalapeños, finely diced (the ones you get in a jar in a Mexican section of the store)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Knob of butter or ghee
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken (breast or thigh meat is good, I picked up some roasted chicken from the supermarket)
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves
  • 400 grams diced tinned tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups good quality chicken stock
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (grate the zest first)
  • 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoon diced spring onion
  • 3 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves (a good handful)
  • 1 avocado, sliced into strips (half per person)
  • A little dusting of paprika if you’re feeling fancy


  1. Heat a medium saucepan with coconut oil and add the diced onion. Cook for a minute or two and add the red peppers. Stir and cook for another minute while chopping other ingredients.
  2. Add jalapeños, garlic, oregano, coriander seed and cumin powder and a knob of butter. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds to release the aromas.
  3. Now add chicken, kale, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, lime zest and juice and stir. Taste for salt. I added about 2/3 of a teaspoon of sea salt but you may need less depending on how much salt is in your chicken stock.
  4. Bring everything to boil and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Turn off and let it sit for 2-3 minutes while you prepare the garnishes.
  5. Place pumpkin seeds in a small frying pan and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep your eyes on them so they don’t get burnt. We simply want to toast them for extra crunch and nuttiness.
  6. Serve soup in bowls, topped with fresh coriander, green onions, toasted pumpkin seeds and sliced avocado. And if you really feel like it, a couple of good quality corn chips won’t do much harm 😉


If you have any questions about the recipe or you would like to share your feedback, please leave a comment. I love seeing the pictures of your own adaptations, so please share them on my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram and tag #eatdrinkpaleo.


About the author: I share nutritious, healthy recipes and create meal plans and cookbooks to help you get healthier and lose weight. I am a qualified nutrition adviser with an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition & Weight Management. More about me here.

PS. Some posts contain affiliate links. I may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) for purchases made through these links. This income helps to cover the operational costs of the blog. Thank you xo

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  1. I can’t tell you just how much my hubby and I enjoyed this soup! I used avocado oil throughout (no coconut oil or butter/ghee). Also, the package of diced tomatoes was 750g, used all of it! Even used a little of the jalapeno juice! Made it last night, we had enough for lunch for each of us today. Lunch couldn’t get here fast enough today!! And now my lips, my mouth, and my belly are all doing a Mexican happy dance! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

  2. Hi Irena!

    Just made this soup and it’s delicious :P. I wasn’t sure how the kale would taste in here, but I love kale and was willing to give it a try. The kale gives an earthy flavor that parallels black beans!, which is common in tortilla soups. Very nice job! And being from Texas, I was hoping it would have that taste of home (currently live in Colorado) and it does :D. Will be making this again for sure, thanks for sharing!

  3. Can’t wait to try this! Looks fantastic. How about some extra-thin fried plain strips in lieu of tortilla chips?!

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