Simple and full of flavor, this Tex-Mex chicken soup is packed with peppers, tomatoes, chicken, and spices. This healthy, comforting soup is filling enough to be your main meal and can be made with leftover chicken or turkey! The recipe is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and follows the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD). It can easily be made Paleo or Whole30 by omitting the black beans.
I don't know about you but I love, love, love Mexican food! I like the freshness of the ingredients and how quick it is to make.
While taco bowls are always on the menu rotation over here, during winter I like to switch it up with this Tex-Mex chicken soup recipe.
If you follow me on social media then you're already aware that I make a whole roast chicken every single week. I always use the carcass to make slow cooker chicken stock (which is used in this recipe) and any leftover chicken is also thrown right into this soup!
Ingredient tips and substitutions
Chicken - As mentioned above, leftover chicken from a roast chicken can be used or you can boil and shred chicken breasts. This recipe is also great for using up any leftover Thanksgiving turkey!
Black Beans - Although the black beans add a little extra boost of protein, they're optional. If following the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), keep in mind that black beans are considered an advanced food and should only be introduced when free of symptoms.
Tomatoes - Chopped and strained tomatoes are both used in the soup and I highly recommend the Pomì brand.
Chicken Stock - When it comes to the stock, homemade is best. It allows you to add amazing flavor to the soup without any funky ingredients and additives that come in the store bought stuff.
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How do I prepare the black beans?
If you are not following the SCD diet, then feel free to use canned black beans that have been rinsed and drained.
For those of us that are following SCD, then the most important thing to keep in mind when preparing the black beans is the need to soak them for 24 hours. This allows the beans to cook faster and it's easier on your digestion.
Place the beans in a large bowl, making sure to pick out any shriveled beans or rocks. Cover with water and leave the beans to soak on the counter for 24 hours.
Drain, rinse the beans really well, then drain again. Place the beans in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the beans.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Then drop the heat to low and allow the beans to simmer for 1 to 2 hours until the beans have softened. Then drain the beans and add them to the soup.
Black Bean Tips:
- Some bags of dried black beans take longer to cook than others. The general role of thumb is that the older the beans are, the longer they take to cook and soften, so check the bag for a harvest or expiration date.
- Start cooking the black beans at least an hour before you begin to cook the soup, that way the beans have had plenty of time to soften.
- I suggest cooking the black beans in separate pot from the soup. This allows sufficient time for them to cook without the rest of the soup ingredients turning into mush.
How spicy is this Tex-Mex chicken soup?
Since I have gut issues and I'm feeding this to 2 preschoolers, the soup isn't spicy at all.
If you prefer a spicy soup, then add a bit of cayenne pepper.
Serve hot with some fresh avocado and lime wedges!
Try these other comforting soup recipes!
- Roasted Cauliflower Red Pepper Soup
- Easy Carrot Ginger Soup
- 10 Vegetable Soup
- Butternut Squash Apple Soup
- Mint Pea Soup
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This recipe was first published January 5, 2018 ad was updated with new text and a new cooking technique for the beans on December 30, 2020.
Tex-Mex Chicken Soup
- 1 pound dried black beans (optional)
- 1 pound chicken breasts or leftover roasted chicken
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 26 ounces chopped tomatoes
- 26 ounces strained tomatoes (tomato sauce)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tablespoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- limes for serving (optional)
- avocado for serving & garnish (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
- * Must be done first and the beans must soak for 24 hours ahead of time*Pick through dried black beans and remove any little rocks or debris. Place black beans in a large bowl and fill with 10 cups of water. Soak the beans for 24 hours total, then drain and rinse. Place the beans in a large stock pot and cover with fresh water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the lid and drop the heat to medium-low, allow the beans to cook for an hour until softened.
- While the beans are cooking, place the chicken breasts in a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165F and is no longer pink. Should take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. (If using leftover chicken or turkey, skip this step and just shred the meat.)
- Remove breasts from the pot and use two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add red onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
- Add the green, red, and yellow bell peppers to the pot, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, strained tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken to the pot. Stir well to combine.
- Check on the black beans, if they've softened (press a bean between your fingers to test the softness) then drain the water and add beans to the pot of soup. If the beans have not yet softened then continue cooking, adding water as needed, and add to the soup once they're soft. (Be sure to drain the water before adding the beans to the soup.)
- Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, and oregano. Drop heat to low and cover pot with a lid. Allow to simmer for 60 minutes or until the peppers and beans are soft.
- Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro and avocado. Squeeze a little lime juice into each bowl and serve warm.
- Omit the black beans if following a paleo diet or doing whole30. If following the SCD diet black beans should only be used once free of symptoms.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- If you'd prefer a soup with a bit of a spicy kick, then add a bit of cayenne pepper.