20-Minute Mexican Chicken Enchilada Soup

Mexican food has been my go-to cuisine for special occasions and important moments for decades. I’ve celebrated many of my birthdays at a Mexican restaurant and my husband has taken me several times to a restaurant specializing in this type of cuisine to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I also got into the habit of ordering Mexican take out after the successful completion of important work meetings.

While I enjoy cooking, I’m happy we’ve located multiple places in the city of Chicago and in the surrounding suburbs to which we can drive whenever I’m craving this delicious cuisine and don’t feel like cooking. (Feel free to comment below if you’d like to know the names of a few of them. I’ll share them in a reply.) To be included on my list, a restaurant must have variety in the types of items on it’s menu, as well as the available fillings for those items.

For example, my hubby likes pork or lengua tacos; my oldest daughter likes tacos or burritos filled with steak; my youngest daughter is a big fan of chicken burritos or tacos; and I like tacos, tamales and tortas made with grilled or shredded chicken. I also like chicken enchiladas, but I haven’t had any in quite a while. That’s probably why I felt inclined to make something recently that would allow me to enjoy the flavors that I associate with enchiladas without putting in the work or time to make them. And, since we had a few days with warmer temps recently, I also didn’t want to use our oven and end up having to turn on our AC.

So, I decided to make a 20-Minute Mexican Chicken Enchilada Soup that contained chicken, salsa and two different types of cheese, one of which was a vegan cheese. If you’d like to make this soup for your family and are on Pinterest, make sure you save the recipe to your board. FYI, the below list of ingredients includes links that will make it possible for you to order some of them online and have them shipped to you. Remember that, if you make a purchase using a link and it is a qualifying one, I will earn a small commission that will help me continue to share recipes like this on my blog. Please also peruse the notes that follow this recipe to learn why I used certain ingredients (e.g., vegan cheese and pinto beans) in my dish and to see a few recipe substitutions.

What You’ll Need To Make 20-Minute Mexican Chicken Enchilada Soup (Six servings)

*3 Corn Tortillas, cut into 1/2″ wide strips

*3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided

*1 lb. of Chicken Tenders, cut into small, bite-sized pieces.

*1 Can of Pinto Beans (15.5 ounces)

*1 Cup of Mild Salsa

*1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

*4 Cups of Chicken Broth

*6 Ounces of Vegan or Regular Cream Cheese

*1.5 Teaspoons of Cumin

*1.5 Teaspoons of Smoked Paprika

*1.5 Teaspoons of Oregano

*1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

*2 Avocados, diced

*3 Cups of Shredded Mexican Cheese

*Pepper to taste (Optional)

How to Make 20-Minute Mexican Chicken Enchilada Soup

1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Use approximately one tablespoon of oil to lightly coat the tortilla strips. Spread them out on a baking sheet or aluminum foil and bake them for about 10 minutes.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil over high heat and sautee chicken for 4 minutes. Be sure to turn the pieces over a few times to make sure they cook evenly.

3. Add the salsa, chopped tomatoes and pinto beans to the pan.

4. Add the broth, cream cheese, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano and salt. Stir all ingredients together and cover the pan.

5. Continue cooking the soup on high for 15 minutes, stirring once after approximately 10 minutes. When it’s ready, you’ll notice that the soup will have thickened. (See below photo.)

6. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with shredded cheese, as well as some of the avocado cubes. Tuck a few tortilla strips into one side of each bowl or sprinkle them on top of the soup. Enjoy!

Possible Substitutions and Notes:

1. If you can’t find–or don’t want to use–a shredded Mexican cheese blend, you can use shredded Monterey Jack, Colby-Jack or Cheddar cheese. And, if you’d prefer to use a vegan cheese, consider trying this vegan shredded cheddar cheese that my youngest daughter once put on chicken tacos that I made for dinner.

2. I only had one package of chicken tenders when I made this soup. So, I added pinto beans to make it a bit heartier. However, you could simply use more chicken (an additional 8 ounces?). Or, if you like the idea of including beans, but don’t have or like pinto beans, you could use black beans or kidney beans).

3. Instead of cutting up the chicken yourself, you could buy chicken labeled as “taco meat” or “meat for tacos” to save time.

4. I used vegan cream cheese in my recipe because our family has been switching out some of our normal milk-based groceries with those that are dairy-free. Among the vegan items that we’ve tried recently are sliced cheese, shredded cheese, butter and cream cheese. But, you don’t have to make this soup with the vegan cream cheese that I used. Feel free to use regular cream cheese in yours.

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