Chicken, Vegetable and Avocado Soup with Vegetarian Option

I just returned from 3 weeks in Spain and I missed home cooking. Restaurants are fun for a night out, but I don't find eating in restaurants every day my cuppa.  Traveling is amazing in every sense of the word and I know people who spend a lot of money exploring new foods while traveling.  But that just doesn't seem to work for Glen and I.

When traveling we love to have an apartment where we can have a simple breakfast. Then we have lunch out somewhere off the beaten path - preferably where no one speaks English so we have to order by pointing and gesturing.  Then supper is simply again back at the apartment, preferably something light we picked up on the way home. We travel better when we stick to this. A big evening meal in a restaurant, especially late in the evening like they do in Spain, is sure to keep us awake.

In Spain we enjoyed tapas, lots of traditional tostas and even took a cooking class where we made pesto salad and traditional paella, then sat to have lunch together afterwards.We did have some great salads as well, but surprisingly struggled to find fruit that was sweet and ripe, or dishes with lots of vegetables.

For our first meal at home I discovered I was craving soup. After 3 weeks in a fairly dry, hot 25 C, we came home to a standard Northwest damper 10 C.  I know from past experience that it will take a few weeks for my body to adjust, so hot meals are definitely in order.  Soups and stews warm you to the bones, but I couldn't decide what type to make that first night.

Wandering around the grocery store, I ended up with tons of vegetables and staples, but also snagged some shredded chicken and an avocado. The idea popped into my head to combine the chicken and avocado into a soup. Was that possible?

After a quick internet search, I discovered that yes, chicken and avocado make a great soup.  None of the recipes seemed to quite fit the bill, so I figured it was time to make dump soup. What is dump soup?  It's when I have a lot of ingredients I want to eat, so they all go in the pot together with some broth and seasonings.  Sometimes it's the best thing I've ever had. Sometimes it's just okay!  But it is always hot and nutritious.

So here you go - my first attempt at making soup out of chicken, vegetables and avocado, with suggestions for making it vegetarian. I left the cilantro to sprinkle on at the end as not everyone likes it, but if you're sure it's a go, you could stir it in before serving. And don't skip the fresh lime squeeze. It's important.

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Chicken, Vegetable and Avocado Soup
Makes 3 Large meal size bowls or 4 medium servings.

Ingredients - 

1 T    Vegetable oil or olive oil or your favourite seasoned oil
1        Medium onion, diced
2        Large cloves garlic, minced
1        Large carrot, peeled and diced
1        Large yellow bell pepper, cubed
1        Large ripe tomato, diced (see note below)
1 L     Organic broth (chicken or vegetable) - could make your own as well
2 C    Cooked chicken, diced (change to diced tofu or meat substitute for vegetarian option)
Salt and Pepper
1        Large avocado, diced
1        Lime cut into 4 wedges
Minced Cilantro - optional

Directions - 

Heat oil in large soup pot. Add onion, garlic and carrots and saute until onion is transparent.  Add Yellow pepper and tomato and saute for a few more minutes.  Add organic broth and simmer for 5 minutes.  Carrots, peppers and tomatoes should be soft. Add chicken, season to taste with salt and pepper, and warm through.  Gently fold in avocado and let stand for a minute to warm the avocado.

Ladle soup into large soup bowls. Squeeze fresh lime juice on the soup (or you could give each guest a lime and let them do it themselves) and sprinkle on cilantro if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Note - some recipes put a dollop of pico de gallo on top of the soup. If you want to try this variation, I wouldn't add tomato to the soup itself. Here is a recipe I found on someone else's site that looks good -