Easy-to-Make Avocado Tortilla Soup with Roast Turkey and California Avocado

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is a traditional meal with roast turkey, and I actually look forward to the leftovers. There are the casseroles, snacks, turkey sandwiches with cranberry – and avocado of course. This year I’m planning on cozying up with an updated, lighter version of Tortilla Soup with Roast Turkey, Avocado and Cheddar Cheese.

I find soup comforting, and after days of indulgence I feel good about the fact that one entrée-size serving of this tortilla soup recipe weighs in at 370 calories with 32 grams of protein, and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, Potassium, and Vitamins A, C B6 and Niacin. Plus, the zesty flavors of fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, chiles, herbs and spices in the Mexican soup bring a totally different flavor profile to my holiday leftovers, and avocado adds delectable creaminess.


To make cooking the turkey soup easy I like to get all of my ingredients ready, including measuring the spices and chopping the veggies and leftover turkey before I start cooking anything. It just helps me move from step to step in an organized way. Avocado is the one exception, which I make sure to peel and dice just before adding to individual soup bowls for serving. This way they are creamy, fresh and delicious looking!

Here’s how to make the crispy tortilla strips that give this soup its addictive crunchiness. You can always just crumble store-bought tortilla chips for a super easy version of this soup, but nothing quite compares to fresh, homemade tortilla strips. The secret to making them easily is to use a deep, heavy sauce or soup pan (two-quart) rather than a shallow frying pan. It keeps the oil from spattering out of the pan and you can use the same pan to make the soup. Simply heat ½ cup of olive oil over medium high heat until hot, then working in batches fry thin strips cut from four corn tortillas until golden brown. Here’s a pic to give you an idea of what that looks like:

Don’t let the strips get dark brown, just golden, or they will take on a burnt flavor. Drain them on paper towels while you make the soup. This process also works for homemade tortilla chips (you know, for when you make guacamole next time!)

In the same oil sauté 1 small, chopped yellow onion until it is clear. Add 4 diced garlic cloves and 2 seeded and chopped Anaheim chiles, cook until soft but not browned and then drain off any excess oil. Tip: If you like a very spicy tortilla soup this is the step to add additional chiles or use spicier varieties. Since heat level can vary with each chile be sure to taste each one before adding to the soup and note that the spiciness can intensify as the soup cooks.

Add 4 chopped, medium tomatoes and 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock. Using whole tomatoes gives a garden-fresh flavor to the soup with much less sodium that if you were to use canned tomato sauce or paste. If you like cilantro as much as I do you can add about a ½ bunch of well-washed and dried cilantro, chopped. Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes.

At this point we need to puree the soup to give it a silky texture. I like to use an immersion blender right in the pan, but you can also puree the soup in batches using a heat-resistant blender or food processor.

Refrain from eating too much of the soup before it’s finished. Trust me, it will be worth it!

Heat the pureed soup over medium heat and add 2 cups cubed turkey, about ¼ tsp. each cayenne pepper and ground cumin, ½ tsp. chile powder. Taste and adjust seasonings, salt and pepper to taste. Peel and dice 1 ripe avocado and set aside. When the turkey is hot ladle the soup into bowls. Top each bowl with avocado and grated, reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

This tortilla soup recipe also works very well with rotisserie chicken, so even when my leftovers are long-gone it is a “souper” go-to recipe idea.

Do you have any go-to recipes for holiday leftovers? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your ideas!


Preparation: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 4
Calories per serving: 370
Fat per serving: 18 g

This homemade tortilla soup with garden-fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic and chiles and hearty roasted turkey is especially delicious topped with Fresh California Avocados. It’s a great use for leftover Thanksgiving turkey and also can be made with store-bought rotisserie chicken. This soup is an excellent source of Dietary Fiber (22% DV) and Vitamin B6 (35% DV)

½ cup olive oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
1 small Spanish yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
½ bunch cilantro (optional), washed and chopped
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
¼ tsp. ground cumin (or to taste)
½ tsp. chili powder (or to taste)
2 cups roasted or smoked turkey, cut in 1/2 -inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium, ripe Fresh California Avocado, diced
4 oz. reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated

In a two quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot.
Working in batches, fry tortilla strips until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and reserve.
Add onion to the same oil and sauté until clear.
Add garlic and Anaheim chiles, cook until soft but not browned. Drain any excess oil from the pan.
Add tomatoes, chicken stock and chopped cilantro if desired.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer soup to a heat-resistant blender or food processor and purée, or use an immersion blender to purée.
Return soup to pan and add turkey, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and chili powder. Simmer until turkey is hot, add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls and top each serving with avocado, cheddar cheese, and reserved crispy tortilla strips.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Did You Know?

Avocados can actually be used in baking recipes. Learn more about California Avocados.

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados

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