This Tortilla Soup recipe makes a warm, spicy, and satisfying soup topped with avocado slices and tortillas.
When you think corn you may think corn on the cob, mixed vegetables, corn chowder, cornbread, and tortillas. What you might not think about is this amazingly delicious dish featuring the golden-seeded grass that dominates America’s diet: Tortilla Soup. I admit, I didn’t think of it until just a couple years ago. In fact, not only had I never tasted Tortilla Soup, I had never even heard of it. Then, I discovered a new way of incorporating corn into our whole-food, plant-based diet rotation. I discovered Tortilla Soup. The name intrigued me, the unique combination of ingredients drew me in, and the deep red hue attracted my frugivore senses, so I began experimenting. I experimented with this soup quite a bit trying different types of corn and different combinations of spice until I found one that pleased my palate without scaring away my kids by being too fire-breath inducing. It is my great pleasure to share my version of oil-free, dairy-free, 100% planarian Tortilla Soup with you here. This recipe is not too spicy, yet full of flavor so the whole family can enjoy.
Tortilla Soup Ingredients
The key to a good tortilla soup, in my humble opinion, is the right combination and level of spice. Since we all have different ideas of what this means, please read my discussion on adding the appropriate level of heat below. For a flavorful but not too spicy version that kids can enjoy too, here’s what I use:
- 3 cup white corn (~1lb)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 zucchini, medium
- 2 tomatoes, medium
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. cumin
- 1/2 tbsp. chipotle powder (See important tip about adding heat in section below).
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
As much as this soup is about the perfect combination and amount of spice, it’s equally about the garnish. I love to load up the top of my bowl of Tortilla Soup with chopped fresh cilantro and green onions, chunks of diced avocado, toasted corn tortilla strips, and a fresh lime squeeze. This the list of my favorite Tortilla Soup garnish ingredients:
- green onions
- lime wedge
- tortilla strips, toasted
Feel free to get creative and add what works for you. Whole black beans, roasted corn, or sliced black olives are other garnish ingredients you might want to try.
Adjust to Your Desired Level of Spice
Tortilla soup is one of my very favorite soups and I have experimented with several different ways of spicing this soup just right. Feel free to adjust the spice in this recipe to match your desired level of heat. It’s easy to kick up the heat by adding canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or more chipotle powder. The recipe above is a mild amount of spice that is friendly for my kids. When I add 1/2 tbsp. more chipotle powder, I enjoy the heat, but my kids say it’s too spicy. I first made this soup using a couple chipotle peppers from the can and 2 tsp. of chipotle powder and I really enjoyed the strong chipotle heat, but the kids rejected it. Since I prefer the chipotle kick of this soup, I want to make sure you aren’t left wanting more. If you’re cooking just for adults or you like spice, go ahead and turn up the heat. Find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Hispanic or ethnic food section of your local grocery.
Steps for Making Tortilla Soup
- Dice onion, bell pepper, and green onions into small pieces.
2. Sauté in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth on stovetop until onions are slightly tender and translucent.
3. Move onion and peppers into blender and add 1 cup of corn, zucchini, and remainder of broth.
4. Blend on high until well mixed.
5. Pour mixture back into pot and add spices, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and remaining cup of corn.
6. Cook soup slowly on low heat for 30–40 minutes to incorporate all flavors.
7. Garnish with homemade tortilla chips, avocado slices, and chopped green onions.
Enjoy! Tortilla soup is warming on a cold day and perfect for this time of year when a heartwarming hint of heat and a splash of spice is just what you need.
Healing With Plants is a holistic health and nutrition website that highlights the amazing healing power of plants and a whole-food, plant-based diet. All recipes shared here are oil-free, dairy-free, vegan, and 100% plants. Reya Steele Andrews is a certified Holistic Nutritionist (AFPA) and has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from The Center for Nutrition Studies/Cornell. Reya enjoys teaching hands-on garden-to-fork nutrition to students in Southern California and creating new recipes to nourish her family with 100% whole plants.