Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup

My Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe is heart-healthy and heartwarming and made with classic Mexican flavors, including ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilis, & lime, without being too spicy. But it’s rich in flavor, so you can easily add more spice. Onions, zucchini, and cottage cheese are blended smooth for easiest digestion, so everyone wins!

Bowl of Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe with ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cottage cheese, zucchini, green chilis, & lime.

My Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe is the perfect easy dinner when you are in the mood for yummy Mexican comfort food. This delicious soup is heart-healthy and heartwarming and made with classic Mexican flavors, including ground beef and sausage, pinto beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilis, and fresh lime juice, without being too spicy. But it’s rich in flavor, so you can easily add more spice to individual servings. Then, everyone wins, regardless of their spice tolerance.

I include several hidden superfoods, including yellow zucchini and cottage cheese. They’re blended smooth with onions and garlic and perfectly camouflaged. You can enjoy soup season all year round with our favorite soup with a hint of cumin and natural lime flavor.

YouTube video

Why You’ll Love This Healthy Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe

  • You only need a few simple ingredients.
  • It is super easy to make for an impressive result.
  • The flavor-rich ingredients make it taste amazing!
  • All the ingredients are easily digestible for a gentle tummy.
Bowl of Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe with ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cottage cheese, zucchini, green chilis, & lime.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make the best-tasting gluten-free Panera beef tortilla soup:

Ground Beef: You can replace it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a rotisserie chicken, or leftover chicken from another meal.

Ground Sausage: You can replace the sausage with additional ground beef.

Beef Broth: You can substitute it with vegetable broth or chicken broth.  

Black Beans and Pinto Beans: Mix and match beans based on preference; navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans or black beans can be used as alternatives. If using dried beans, soak and cook them before adding to the recipe.

Whole Kernel Corn: Opt for fresh corn kernels or frozen corn instead of canned corn. You can also make your own roasted corn.

Zucchini: You can omit the yellow zucchini or replace it with green zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant for a different flavor and texture.

Cottage Cheese: You can omit cottage cheese or replace it with cream cheese, sour cream, or heavy cream. Greek yogurt or plain yogurt can also be used, but you will need to stir in the greek yogurt right before you serve the chili.

Onion: You can omit the onions or use yellow onions. You can also replace with two teaspoons of onion powder.

Diced Tomatoes: You can use tomato juice, creamy tomato soup, or fire-roasted tomatoes.

Butter: Olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil can replace butter for a healthier fat option.

Garlic: Use garlic powder or roasted garlic for a different depth of flavor.

Light Olive Oil: Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado oil can be used instead of olive oil. I do not recommend vegetable oil.

Mild Diced Green Chilis: You can omit the chilis or use fresh diced jalapeños or poblano peppers to meet your spice tolerance.

Spices (Ground Cumin, Paprika, dried Oregano, Salt, Black Pepper): Adjust the spice blend to personal preference, or use a pre-made taco or chili seasoning mix. You can also add cayenne pepper and/or chili powder to taste.

Lime Juice: You can omit this or use freshly squeezed or store-bought juice for natural lime flavor.

Bowl of Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe with ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cottage cheese, zucchini, green chilis, & lime.

How to Make My Gluten-Free Mexican Tortilla Soup Recipe

Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients

Roughly dice 1/2 an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Slice off the ends of one zucchini and thinly slice.

Pour 2 cups of beef stock into a mixing bowl. Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. 

Open and drain the cans of bean and whole-kernel corn. Rinse them thoroughly.

Chopped zucchini, onions and garlic on a cutting board.

Step 2: Cook and Blend the Vegetables

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large dutch oven or large soup pot over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped zucchini, onions and garlic. Mix well, then cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring about every minute, until the zucchini is fork tender. 

Carefully spoon the vegetables into a high-speed blender. Add 1 cup of prepared beef broth and blend until smooth.

Stirring soft zucchini, onions and garlic.
Pouring beef stock into blender with cottage cheese, zucchini and onions.

Step 3: Cook the Beef & Sausage

Pour 1 tablespoon of light olive oil into the Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage. Occasionally flip and mix the meat until the meat is lightly browned and no longer pink.

Add the remaining beef stock, zucchini mixture, green chiles, drained beans, fire roasted tomatoes, and corn. Stir well, then cover and simmer at a low boil for 15 minutes.

Browning ground beef in pot.
Spooning green chiles into the soup pot.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy

Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Add the juice of 1 lime to the pot. Allow the chili to cool slightly until it’s no longer bubbling. Ladle the chili into a bowl. And garnish with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a side of your favorite tortilla chips.

Pot of Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe with ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cottage cheese, zucchini, green chilis, & lime.

Panera Tortilla Soup with Beef Recipe Notes

Fresh Lime Juice: For the brightest flavor, use fresh lime juice. Adjust the quantity based on personal taste preferences.

Blending the zucchini and onions: This will make them easier to digest and disguise the zucchini. But you do not have to blend if you prefer a chunkier soup.

Slow Cooker: Cook and blend the vegetables and cottage cheese and brown the meat in a frying pan. Then, transfer everything to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir in the lime juice at the end.

Insta-Pot Pressure Cooker: Set the pressure cooker to saute mode and cook the vegetables. Blend them with the cottage cheese and brown the meat. Then add all the ingredients and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice at the end.

Garnish Suggestions: You can serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, corn tortillas, diced green onions, cubed avocado, gluten-free crispy tortilla strips, or stone-ground corn chips.

Serving Suggestions:

Spice Level: This recipe is made very flavorful but not spicy. The spice level can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. Add more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for extra heat. For an even milder version, omit the green chilis and black pepper and reduce the cumin to 1 teaspoon.

Refrigeration: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. 

Freezing: If you want to store the soup for an extended period, portion it into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Leave some room for expansion to prevent containers from cracking.

Individual Servings: Freeze individual servings for convenient, quick meals. This allows you to thaw and reheat only what you need.

Defrosting: When ready to use frozen soup, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before to allow for slow, safe thawing. Alternatively, use the defrost function on the microwave.

Reheating: Reheat the refrigerated or thawed soup on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature (165°F or 74°C).

Storage Duration: Consume refrigerated chili within 3-4 days for optimal freshness. Frozen soup can be stored for 2-3 months.

Can I use chicken instead of beef?

Yes, pour 2 tablespoons of light olive oil into the Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Carefully lay in the chicken breasts. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the underneath is golden brown. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the remaining chicken stock, zucchini mixture, green chiles, drained beans, and corn. Stir well, then cover and simmer at a low boil for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it with a fork. Return to the pot.

Is there a dairy-free alternative to cottage cheese?

Yes, you can use a dairy-free yogurt or silken tofu as a substitute for cottage cheese to maintain a creamy texture without dairy.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! Omit the beef and use vegetable broth. Consider adding extra vegetables or plant-based protein sources like tofu for a delicious vegetarian version.

Can I make this chili in a slow cooker?

Yes, after cooking the vegetables and browning the beef, transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours for a convenient, hands-off option.

How do I adjust the spice level?

Easily customize the spice level by adding more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce according to personal preference.

Can I substitute dried beans for canned beans?

Yes, you can use dried beans, but be sure to soak and cook them before adding to the recipe. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

What can I use instead of a cast iron dutch oven?

Any large, heavy-bottomed pot can be an alternative to a cast iron dutch oven.

Do you love healthy Mexican-inspired food? Check out more of my easy and delicious recipes:

Best Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe

Gluten-Free diet-friendly recipe
My Gluten-Free Panera Beef Tortilla Soup Recipe is heart-healthy and heartwarming and made with classic Mexican flavors, including ground beef, sausage, pinto bean, black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilis, & lime, without being too spicy. But it's rich in flavor, so you can easily add more spice. Onions, zucchini, and cottage cheese are blended smooth for easiest digestion, so everyone wins!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mild diced green chilis
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Roughly dice 1/2 an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Slice off the ends of one zucchini and thinly slice.
    Pour 2 cups of beef stock into a mixing bowl. Stir in the cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. 
    Open and drain the cans of bean and whole-kernel corn. Rinse them thoroughly.
  • Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large dutch oven or large soup pot over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped zucchini, onions and garlic. Mix well, then cover and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring about every minute, until the zucchini is fork tender. 
    Carefully spoon the vegetables into a high-speed blender. Add 1 cup of prepared beef broth and blend until smooth.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of light olive oil into the Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and sausage. Occasionally flip and mix the meat until the meat is lightly browned and no longer pink.
    Add the remaining beef stock, zucchini mixture, green chiles, drained beans, fire roasted tomatoes, and corn. Stir well, then cover and simmer at a low boil for 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Add the juice of 1 lime to the pot. Allow the chili to cool slightly until it's no longer bubbling. Ladle the chili into a bowl. And garnish with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and cilantro leaves. Serve with a side of your favorite tortilla chips.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Spice Level: This recipe is made very flavorful but not spicy. The spice level can be adjusted to suit individual preferences. Add more diced green chilis, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for extra heat. For an even milder version, omit the green chilis and black pepper and reduce the cumin to 1 teaspoon.
Blending the zucchini and onions: This will make them easier to digest and disguise the zucchini. But you do not have to blend if you prefer a chunkier soup.
Slow Cooker: Cook and blend the vegetables and cottage cheese and brown the meat in a frying pan. Then, transfer everything to a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir in the lime juice at the end.
Insta-Pot Pressure Cooker: Set the pressure cooker to saute mode and cook the vegetables. Blend them with the cottage cheese and brown the meat. Then add all the ingredients and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice at the end.

Nutrition

Calories: 415kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 22gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 930mgPotassium: 633mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 480IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 3mg
Keyword black beans, chili, corn bread, cottage cheese, ground beef, pinto beans, sausage, tomatoes, zucchini
Did you make this recipe?Please let me know in the comments below how it turned out 🙂
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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