Working lunch

My office doesn’t have a kitchen. Instead, we have a microwave/mini fridge combo right in my office, which can cause problems ( I could drink diet coke all day without ever having to get up, thanks to the magic of chairs on wheels).

What it also means is that, as far as office lunches go, things have to be able to travel to the office pre-assembled and eaten cold or nuked in the microwave. I subsist mainly off of turkey-avocado-red onion-and mayo sandwiches on toasted wheat (lovingly named ‘The Marshall’) (by me), with lots of fruit, a children’s yogurt (don’t judge) and some kind of chip or crispy thing. Which is fine. But sometimes, I crave something with a bit more pizzazz – something flavorful and satisfying, but not too heavy (heavy lunch = afternoon nap) (this is why I had to stop getting Chipotle take-out during the week)

And so, inspired by a favorite restaurant in Chattanooga where the piping hot broth is poured over the other ingredients at the table, I came up with chicken tortilla soup on the go. Easy, healthy, transportable, and, most importantly, delicious.

Chicken Tortilla Soup on the Go


  • 1 chicken breast, shredded
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, or to taste
  • 1/2 very ripe tomato cored and seeded, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (you can also devein the jalepeno to reduce the heat further)
  •  1/2 an avocado, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime wedge
  • Single-serving chicken broth, or around 1 cup of broth*
*the single-serving chicken broth is great for traveling, but if you make your own broth or can’t get single-serving broth, I would recommend using a tight thermos to transport the broth to work.

1. Combine chicken, cilantro, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, and avocado in a medium-sized Tupperware container or bowl (there should be plenty of space for 1 cup of broth). Add salt and pepper to taste on the layer with the avocado (you can add more later).

2. When ready to eat, heat up the broth in a microwave safe container (if you’re at an office, a large coffee mug works great) until piping hot (2-3 minutes, or hotter thank you would want to eat it. Pouring it over the cold ingredients will take the temperature down swiftly). Pour over the other ingredients, allowing the soup to heat up the other ingredients while it cools. Add a squeeze of lime if desired, and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Cholula or other favorite hot sauce.

Other suggestions: cubed queso fresco would be delicious, although I haven’t tried it. This basic idea can be adjusted (add/subtract ingredients you want more/less of) and if you come up with any great additions let me know!