I tend to get sick pretty often. In our last apartment I experienced sinus infection after sinus infection. Literally one would end, I would be well for a week and the cycle would start up all over again. I blame it on the cleanliness of the building because after moving I felt much better. But still, it’s not unusual for me to get a cold, sinus infection or worse, bronchitis every month or so. My immune system has always been a bit tricky.
When I went gluten-free, one of my biggest concerns was what to do when I got sick to make me feel better. Like clockwork for years, my feel better foods have been black tea with honey, toast with jam and most importantly–a couple of quarts of wonton soup. As soon as I felt the itch of a sore throat coming it became Chinese takeout night and my husband would order his favorites while I stocked up on wonton soup to get me through the next couple of days. I could live without the toast, but that warming soup? What would my gluten-free fix be?
Luckily, since going gluten-free, my immune system seems to have gone into overdrive. No matter how germy an environment might have been (Christmas was a real test this year), I seemed to avoid getting sick. My fortune couldn’t last forever, so this week I finally succumbed to my first cold of the season. And I’m still on a Whole30, meaning no honey in that tea either.
By chance I came across Budget Bytes’ chicken and lime soup. I was looking for something both easy and Whole30 compliant for his dinner night. Outside of the simmering for 1 hour, the recipe was pretty quick to make. It’s a great base of spicy and sour while keeping your belly filled and warm.
While I denied my sore throat and getting sick for the first few days, I knew something was coming. Immediately I thought of this soup. Packed with a bit more veggies, it was just what the doctor ordered. My favorite thing about the recipe is that outside of buying or defrosting some chicken, it requires basic staples that are probably already in your fridge and pantry. I still miss my never-ending bowls of wonton soup, but for a gluten-free feel better soup, I know just where to turn.
Feel Better Chicken and Lime Soup (adapted from Budget Bytes) Serves 6
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 8 c chicken broth
- 1 pint chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- 2 medium limes, juiced
- 1/3 c cilantro, chopped
- 3 medium ripe avocados (optional)
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, jalapeño, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken, broth, tomatoes, cumin, pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat with two forks. It should be very tender and easy to pull apart. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.
To serve, ladle soup into each bowl and top with 1/2 diced avocado if desired. This is one of those soups that tastes better the next day heated up and also freezes well in case you want to make a big batch just in case.