Tortilla Soup-Pressure Cooked and Unpressured

totillasoup (2)

tortilla soup photo by vsimon

This is one of our most requested menu items, year round.

The ingredients and the process have evolved over the years. It took me a long time to try it in the pressure cooker. Now I wouldn’t go back to a stockpot. But look below for directions if you haven’t added a pressure cooker to your family yet.

Chicken-What Kind to Use

I used to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’d dice the raw meat and throw it in the pot. Now I prefer bone-in chicken breasts.

They are cheaper, more flavorful, and there is less touching of raw meat. I simply remove the skin and discard it, then plop the breasts in the pressure cooker with the veggies and water.

The meat is easy to shred from the bone after it is cooked. Other bone-in chicken parts work well too, use your favorite.

Tomatoes-What Kind to Use

This is a recipe post, not a food issue post. But I say, go for BPA free tomatoes if possible. The Environmental Working Group is a great reference for info on food issues, from pesticides to BPA. Use the search box to bring up a long list of BPA articles. 

I used to use convenient canned fire roasted tomatoes. But the high levels of BPA in commercially canned tomatoes scares me. Kick the can out the door.

There are enough endocrine disrupters in the world already, thank you very much. Surely, kids and pregnant women should not eat BPA laced foods.

So for a quick, rich, smooth tomato flavor, I have switched to marinara in glass jars. There is probably BPA on the jar lid. I reason, it is less than in a whole can, but I don’t know that to be true.

Diced tomatoes work well, especially if you like tomato chunks. You can use fresh ones, or use frozen from your garden if you have put them up.

Home canned tomato juice stored in glass is also fine. Plastic bottles scare me too, they can leach BPA.

Flavor, Lots of Flavor, from Herbs and Spices

No need for expensive broth here. Use flavorful cumin and garlic. Many lemon pepper and chili powder blends are gluten-free.

This is a great place to practice using tablespoons, rather than 1/4 teaspoon of spice for great flavor. Don’t be shy.

Pickled jalapenos are fun to stock in the fridge. You can heat up the whole pot of soup, or let everyone warm their own bowl to their liking.

Easy Pressure Cooked Tortilla Soup

Serves 6 generously as an entree

1 ¼ lbs boneless, bone-in chicken breast or thighs

3 cups total of chopped onion, celery, and green pepper

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup corn

1 tablespoon lemon pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 cups (or more) diced tomatoes, tomato juice, or marinara sauce

cups of water, to thin soup to desired soupiness

pickled jalapenos to taste, diced


1 cup shredded cheese

gluten-free corn tortilla chips

sour cream

1 avocado, diced

Remove skin from chicken, but leave the meat on the bone. Place in pressure cooker with onion, celery, peppers, carrots and corn. Add about 1 cup water and lock the lid on the pressure cooker.

Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the cooker from the burner and allow it to cool naturally. Or bring the cooker to the sink and run cold water over it to reduce the pressure quickly. It just depends how quickly you want to eat.

Remove chicken from cooker. Remove meat from the bone and shred the meat. Dice it a bit if you like smaller pieces of meat. Add the meat back to the soup and discard the bones.

Add spices- lemon pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic.

Add tomatoes and pickled jalapenos to taste. Cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with garnishes. Crush the tortilla chips into the soup if you like.

No pressure cooker?

Easy, but not as quick.

Simply put all the soup ingredients in a stock post and cook until chicken is falling off the bone. Remove chicken from the soup and shred the meat as directed above. Discard the bones.

Pour soup into serving bowls and garnish as above.


Make Lots, Serve Now and Later.

This soup freezes well. Simply cool and store in 3-4 cup glass containers with tight fitting lids. I like to bring the soup to refrigerator temp before storing in the freezer. This helps the soup freeze faster and reduces freezer burn.

Make sure you have fresh garnishes when you want to serve the soup later. 🙂 They don’t freeze so well.

What is your favorite garnish?

Wonder Buns


gluten free wonder buns photo by lsimon

Five minutes, start to finish. No big scary commitment of time or ingredients. No need to hope, just hope for edible results.

You are assured of gluten free whole grain goodness, light texture, and a perfect size for a burger or sandwich. Cook it lickity split in the microwave in 90 seconds. These truly are a wonder!

I found several versions of this on the forum. And it appeared in the Celiac Sprue Association newsletter. I have altered it a bit, and make it successfully with several different flours.

Many whole grain gluten free flours work

Yeah, no refined starches. Sorghum is pictured. Teff gives it a deeper brown color and rich flavor. Millet yields a light colored bun.

Size matters

Make this in a 10 oz custard cup for a burger or sandwich size bun, as pictured.

For two small dinner rolls, use the same recipe and divide the batter into two 6 oz custard cups. Microwave these together for only 80 seconds total.

Or double the recipe below and put into two 10 oz custard cups.  Microwave each for 90 seconds, one at a time.

I use inexpensive Pyrex custard cups, available in my regular grocery store.

Molasses instead of sugar

Molasses give a bit richer color, more antioxidants than white sugar, and the bun is a bit moister.

Cocoa for color

You will not taste it, but it makes the buns brown. And adds its own antioxidants. I leave it out of the millet version.

Nut meal

No need to buy nut meal if you have nuts and a spice or coffee grinder. Whiz them in the grinder for just a few seconds and you get light, fluffy meal.


Without the seeds, the sides and bottom of the bun looks steamed rather than baked. Adding seeds all around looks very inviting. I like sesame, caraway, millet, poppy and whole cumin seeds. They add flavor, fragrance, and crunch.

Wonder Bun

yield: one 3 ½ inch bun

ingredients metric measures
1 large egg 50 gm
¾ teaspoon molasses 4 ml
2 tablespoons sorghum flour 18 gm
1 tablespoon almond meal 5 gm
1 tablespoon ground flax seed 5 gm
½ teaspoon baking powder 2 gm
½ teaspoon cocoa powder 1 gm
a pinch of salt, optional pinch
1 teaspoon sesame seeds 2 gm

In a small bowl, beat the egg and molasses with a fork, for about a minute.

In another small bowl, add the flour, almond meal, ground flax seed, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Add a pinch of salt if you like. Make sure everything is thoroughly mixed so you do not see little balls of cocoa or bitter baking soda.

Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, stir until smooth.

Oil a 10 oz Pyrex custard cup and sprinkle sesame seeds on the bottom and sides.

Pour the batter into the cup. Top with more sesame seeds.

Microwave for 90 seconds.

That is it! A ready to eat, tasty bun. A wonder bun!

Try these and tell us how you make them. What flours and seeds? I think other nuts would be grand. And herbs or cheese. How about cinnamon and raisins?

Let your imagination go wild. You can have so much fun with just a little investment in time and ingredients.

Added 9-8-2009.  Please visit the pantry to view a couple of free videos, including Wonder Buns.  We are just starting to stock the pantry, there is much more to come. We invite you to become a member,  help yourself to the free pantry, and stay tuned for new content. Thanks!

Added 10-2-2009 Wonder Buns were included in the October edition of the gluten free lifestyle blog carnival. This informative event was started by Kim of The Food Allergy Coach. This edition was hosted by Gluten Free Gidget, and it included product reviews and tempting recipes!