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Hearty (and Healthy) "Sausage" Tortilla Soup (Recipe)

Hearty (and Healthy) "Sausage" Tortilla Soup (Recipe)


Oh, how I love me some Mexican food. Perhaps it’s a product of my childhood – every Sunday we’d go to Taco Bell for lunch and then to a local candy store for a sweet treat (my favorite was chocolate nonpareils). Since then, my tastes have developed beyond fast food tacos (though I do still enjoy an occasional trip down memory drive-thru lane). I’ve gotten pretty darn good at creating my own Mexi-masterpieces at home. Case in point: This yummy "sausage" tortilla soup. (Don't be deterred by the quotation marks around "sausage"--I promise, no harm will come to you.)

The trick—lots of spice. A.k.a. Twice as much as the amount your eyes tell you looks “right.” It goes against your initial instincts to use one or two tablespoons of spices – it almost completely covers the meat at first. But then with a few flicks of the wrist, it settles in, soaks in, and becomes a delicious extension of the meaty goodness. Sublime.

Speaking of lime, this soup is enhanced with a nice hit of acid thanks to fresh lime juice in both the soup itself and the lime crema garnish. I love using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream—you get tons of flavor, with the added bonus of extra protein. Adding in the lime perks up the darker notes of the spices and adds a really nice zing. It’s all about balance, eh?

I added fennel to give the ground turkey a sausage-y twist. Indeed, the floral spice of fennel makes this seem more like a chorizo or other spiced sausage, not just plain ground turkey—all without having to add in extra fat or miscellaneous animal parts that one normally finds in sausage. Bonus!

Another key element—crushed tortilla chips. I’ve heard about cooks using masa harina—basically corn flour—as a thickener in soups, so I figured, why not use tortilla chips? It’s the same basic concept and result, without having to buy an extra ingredient.

All right, now that I’m done divulging all my little secrets to this soup, it’s high time I just tell you how to make it. Enjoy!

{I originally posted this a couple years ago, on my previous blog, when I participated in the 2015 Healthy Solutions Blogger Recipe Challenge. The company sent me a packet of their Authentic Chili/Tacos seasoning and I came up with this recipe. I didn’t win the contest (but—spoiler alert!!—I won the following year), but I still got the chance to develop this delicious recipe (and to share it with you!)}

Hearty (and Healthy) “Sausage” Tortilla Soup

  • Tortilla chips, divided

  • Sandwich bag

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1.5 Tbsp Healthy Solutions Authentic Chili/Tacos seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp whole fennel seeds, crushed

  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more if you like it really hot!)

  • 1 small red onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 26-oz box diced/chopped tomatoes

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • Lime

  • 1 15-oz can black beans (get a BPA-free can if possible), rinsed (set the can aside)

  • 1 cup fat free (0%) plain Greek yogurt

  • 2% Mexican cheese blend (or sharp cheddar)

  • Green onion, chopped

  1. Fill a sandwich bag about 3/4 of the way full with some of your tortilla chips. Press out the extra air and seal the bag.

Lay it down and, using the black bean can as a roller, roll the chips to crush them.

As they crush, you’ll have some extra air in the bag. Open the bag to remove extra air, re-seal, and keep rolling. You should end up with about 1 cup of tortilla chip crumbs.

Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and salt and cook the meat, breaking it up as it browns.

Add in the Healthy Solutions seasoning, crushed fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat the turkey. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the red onion and garlic, stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth. Cut the lime in half and squeeze one half’s worth of juice into the pot (it should be about 1 Tbsp of juice). Stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes.

Add in the black beans and crushed tortilla chips. Stir in. The tortilla crumbs won’t immediately disappear, they’ll gradually dissolve into the soup. Fear not. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Simmer until you’re ready to serve.

In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt and the other half’s worth of lime juice (again, about 1 Tbsp of juice). Revel in the fact that this fancy schmancy item was so easy to make (that’s why we call it a crema – it’s fancy like that). Set aside.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, and top with lime crema, shredded cheese, and green onion. Serve with extra tortilla chips for breaking into the soup for an added crunch!


This soup is like a fine wine – it only gets better with age. I had it the following day, the day after that – even four days later, and the flavors continued to develop. The leftovers may need a little extra liquid – it gets thicker as the days go on, as well. You can simply add in some more chicken broth, or just start calling it a “stew” instead of a “soup”. No one will know.

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