Tacos are my favorite food, so when my friend Amanda convinced me to make a vegetarian tortilla soup, I had to dive right in! Between the spice blend, the slight kick from the peppers, and the freedom to top how I choose, I was hooked at first bite. Hope you enjoy this healthy tortilla soup recipe that will bring the whole family to the table.
Ingredients in Healthy Tortilla Soup
This creamy soup is made with a rainbow of ingredients, my favorite kind of meal! Let’s highlight a few of these rawesome ingredients:
- Avocado oil: Healthy fats can easily be added to soups when using them to sauté veggies. Avocado or olive oil are great choices for this recipe.
- Tortilla chips: Since this tortilla soup is vegan, the tortilla chips have a unique purpose. They are actually softened in the soup, then blended all together to become a delightfully creamy meal. You can also use them as a crunchy topping when serving.
- Yellow onion: I love the pop of flavor in yellow onions and use them in most of my cooking.
- Poblano + Jalapeño peppers: I use one of each in this healthy tortilla soup recipe because poblanos bring just a bit of heat but an earthy, smoky flavor while jalapeños do pack a spicy punch. If you are sensitive to spice then omit the jalapeño altogether.
- Vegetable stock: Once I learned how to save my vegetable scraps and turn them into homemade stock, I no longer buy it from the store. If using store-bought, make sure it doesn’t have any additives and check the amount of sodium.
- Cilantro: Fresh herbs are naturally medicinal as well as provide excellent flavors. If cilantro isn’t your favorite herb then swap it with parsley.
- Bay leaves: These unique leaves add a lovely floral and thyme flavor to foods, yet you don’t eat them. Just toss in 1-2 leaves to a soup pot then remove before serving (or in this case, remove before blending).
Tortilla Soup Recipe Swaps
Soup is so easy to customize! If onions aren’t your thing, then swap the onion out for 1 cup of leeks. If you don’t want any spicy peppers, swap the 2 peppers out for 1/2 red or orange bell pepper.
You can also cut back on the spices as you taste test, to find the perfect amount of spice for you. I roll with the spice train, so I often add a bit more than this vegetarian tortilla soup recipe recommends, yet you can add less too!
If you don’t want the corn tortilla chips or need to cut back on the sodium they bring, opt for a salt-free chip, or a good plantain chip. Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of plantain chips that I’ve been working through, and they’re all good!
Tips for the Best Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
As I mentioned above, the tortilla chips help turn this vegetable soup into a creamy dish. Don’t forget to add them during the cooking stage so they can soften before blending.
The spices in this recipe come alive even more if you make it ahead of time and let sit in the fridge overnight. Your tastebuds will thank you!
I find this to be a filling recipe, yet it is a bit light on the protein. That is easily remedied by adding rinsed, cooked black beans or cashew cream when serving.
Sautéing the onion, garlic and peppers before adding in the spices and stock also produces a tastier result. Don’t skip this quick step!
One reason soup makes a great family meal is that it’s super easy to customize with toppings. If you’ve got a kid who needs cheese on everything, then use this soup as the base and let ’em go wild! This soup is perfect for the chip lover too, just grab your favorite chips and dip away. Here are some recommended toppings for my vegetarian tortilla soup recipe:
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Diced jalepeños or another spicy pepper
- Cashew cream
- Crumbled tortilla chips or plantain chips
- Hot sauce
- Diced avocados
- Sweet corn
- Cooked, drained black beans
Really, the possibilities are endless. If you like it on your tacos then you’ll probably like it in this healthy tortilla soup.
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup FAQs
My recipe uses tortilla chips to cream up the recipe in a dairy-free way. I also top with cashew cream, a delightful substitute for sour cream.
I love a creamy soup, and this one is no different. After sautéing the vegetables and simmering on the stove with tortilla chips, I use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the soup pot. The tortilla chips help thicken the soup nicely, without having to add any dairy products.
Depending on whether you like your soup spicy or on the sweeter side, there are a variety of great toppings for this soup. I use fresh chopped jalapeños, sweet corn, cashew cream, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
Batch Cooking Soup
Because soup often takes a lot of ingredients and time to make, I almost always make extra. I then freeze the leftovers in single-serving containers (usually wide-mouth mason jars). This way, I can easily grab a nutritious, hot lunch in the days and weeks to come.
Depending on your family size, double or triple this tortilla soup recipe. Your future self will thank you for the pre-prepped meal!
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- immersion blender
- 2 cups tortilla chips
- 2 tbsps avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper
- 4 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsps cumin ground
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes canned
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsps cilantro
- 2 ½ tsps sea salt
- In a large stock pot, heat two tablespoons of oil to medium/low. Add the onion, garlic, poblano pepper and jalapeño pepper and cook for five minutes. After five minutes, add spices and cook for another five.
- Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, and 1/4 of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes then remove bay leaves.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender. If you want your soup to be thicker, you can always add more tortilla strips. And then you're ready to serve! I usually serve the soup with lime, corn, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, avocado and the remaining tortilla.
- You can also use a regular blender, and carefully puree in batches.
- Serve with the toppings of your choice.
- To tone down the spice, omit the jalapeño.
- Make a day ahead for an even better flavor.
- Cool completely then freeze in mason jars to enjoy in the weeks to come.
More Great Soup Recipes
I love soup, and chilly nights have me whipping up loads of different recipes. Soup doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t need meat to be flavorful! Here are my top soup recipes:
- Vegan Pumpkin Soup
- Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Thai Coconut Soup
- Vegetable Barley Soup
- Bell Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup
- Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
- Red Lentil Soup
Seriously, it’s hard for me to find a soup I don’t love. What is your favorite soup recipe? I’d love for you to leave a comment to let me know. Don’t forget to rate this fun vegetarian tortilla soup recipe after you’ve tried it!