Vegetarian Tortilla Soup – Ahead of Thyme


Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is loaded with all the savory spices and bold flavors of classic tortilla soup but without any meat! The rich and hearty tomato broth is delicious and balances so well with a handful of tortilla strips on top along with your favorite toppings. The best part? This Mexican veggie soup is ready in just 30 minutes making it perfect for a quick meal on those busy weeknights.

I’m always looking for flavorful meals that I can throw together on a busy night, and this plant-based twist on Chicken Tortilla Soup is just the thing! It’s amazing how quickly the broth takes on a smoky, savory flavor from the aromatics, peppers, seasonings, and chipotle peppers. Gather the Tortilla Strips and other garnishes while the soup is cooking on the stove for easy assemble when dinner is served!

Why You’ll Love This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • So quick and easy. Since you don’t have to worry about cooking any meat, this soup is ready so really fast. Just saute the veggies, add the spices, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer. While the soup is coming together, prep your garnishes and serve. It’s way faster than takeout! 
  • Loaded with flavor. There is nothing bland about this vegetarian tortilla soup recipe. From the bold spices, fresh vegetables, and canned chipotles, it’s incredibly flavorful even before you garnish your bowl with tortilla strips, cilantro, fresh lime, etc. It’s ridiculously tasty for so little effort!
  • Crowd-pleasing flavor. The whole family loves this tortilla soup, kids and adults included! The spiced broth tastes amazing with black beans, corn, and a suite of garnishes. It’s tasty and filling enough to serve as your main meal, too!
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is loaded with the savory spices and bold flavors of classic tortilla soup but without any meat. Ready in 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Ingredient Notes

To make this delicious vegetarian tortilla soup, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):

  • avocado oil – you need just a little avocado or olive oil to cook down the veggies.
  • vegetables – finely chop a white or yellow onion, garlic, and jalapeño, and dice the carrot. 
  • seasonings – season thoroughly with salt, paprika, ground cumin, and crushed red pepper (optional).
  • chipotle in adobo – this is optional for an even spicier kick. Highly recommended!
  • crushed tomatoes – these add a nice heartiness to this vegan tortilla soup.
  • vegetable broth – feel free to make your own vegetable stock or grab some at the local grocery store.
  • canned black beans – drain the beans before adding them to the soup.
  • frozen corn – these can easily be kept on hand to make this soup anytime.
  • tortilla strips – either buy tortilla strips at the store or easily make your own using corn tortillas!

Optional Toppings

  • cilantro – finely chop some fresh cilantro for a fresh garnish.
  • lime – set out a bowl of fresh lime wedges for a touch of acid.
  • sour cream – leave this out if you want to keep the soup vegan.
  • avocado – avocado slices add a nice creamy, mild flavor to balance the bold soup.
  • cheddar cheese – also leave this out to keep the soup vegan.

You will also need measuring cups and spoons, a cutting board and knife, a heavy bottom pot or 4 quart Dutch oven, and a large spoon.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is loaded with the savory spices and bold flavors of classic tortilla soup but without any meat. Ready in 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

How to Make the Best Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  1. Sauté veggies. In a medium stockpot (or Dutch oven), heat oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes until the hot oil is sizzling hot. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño and carrot. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  1. Add seasoning. Stir in salt, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper (if using).
  2. Add soup base. Add chipotle, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, black beans, and corn. Stir occasionally and bring the soup to a boil, about 5 minutes.
  3. Simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Serve. Serve immediately in a soup bowl and top with tortilla strips and any other toppings that you like including cilantro, lime, sour cream, avocado, and cheddar cheese.

Recipe Variations

  • Make it spicy. Add a can of chipotle peppers, chili powder, or cayenne pepper for a really spicy soup.
  • Adjust the ingredients. There are lots of little ways to tweak this vegetable tortilla soup. Use pinto beans instead of black beans, throw in some hominy for extra texture, add more fresh veggies like red bell pepper or sweet potatoes, and add even more garnishes like green onion, diced cherry tomatoes, red onions, etc.
  • Go vegan. For a vegan tortilla soup, ditch the sour cream and cheddar cheese in the toppings and either use plant-based alternatives or skip them.
  • Make homemade tortilla strips. Turn regular corn tortillas into perfectly crispy strips with this easy recipe for Tortilla Strips.They’re great on soup, salads, wraps, and more!

How to Serve

This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is delicious served on its own, or paired with some of my favorite plant-based Mexican sides including:

For more recipe ideas, see our 25 Mexican Side Dishes.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is loaded with the savory spices and bold flavors of classic tortilla soup but without any meat. Ready in 30 minutes! | aheadofthyme.com

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Add a smoky flavor. Feel free to use fire-roasted tomatoes or smoked paprika to add an extra smokiness to the recipe.
  • Let it simmer. This recipe is very quick, but you’ll get so much more flavor if you let it simmer for at least 10-15 minutes. The flavors will mingle together and make the whole dish even better. 
  • Make your own tortilla strips. It’s funny how such a small thing can make a difference, but homemade tortilla strips have a fresher flavor and a better crunch. This is also a great way to use up your extra tortillas!

Storing and Freezing Instructions

How to Store

Allow the soup to cool to room temperature, then store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. For best results, store the garnishes and crispy tortilla strips separately.

How to Reheat

Place the soup in a medium saucepan on the stove and set it over medium heat until it is fully warmed through. Add fresh toppings and tortilla strips right before serving.

How to Freeze

The broth-based soup can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for several months. Just thaw in the fridge before reheating!

FAQ

How do you make tortilla soup broth?

The broth is the key to this whole recipe! It starts with a sofrito mixture of garlic, onion, and diced jalapeno pepper sauteed until tender. Then, add the spices to bring out their flavors. Next, add the black beans, frozen corn, crushed tomatoes, and chipotle peppers. Let the mixture simmer while you prepare the garnishes and serve. It’s seriously that easy, and you’ll be amazed at how much flavor the broth can have in such a short period of time!

Can you use frozen vegetables? 

To speed this recipe up even faster, feel free to use frozen diced onions and store-bought minced garlic! You can even use canned or frozen jalapenos if you can find them. Although the fresh veggies will have the best flavor, this can be a nice workaround on those nights when you need dinner ready ASAP.

Can you make vegetarian tortilla soup in an Instant Pot?

Although you certainly can make this recipe in an Instant Pot, there’s really no need! It’s really quick to make, so you don’t want or need to put it under pressure for a long time. If you do want to make it in a pressure cooker, just be sure to use the saute function and follow the instructions in the recipe card. It can be helpful to use a pressure cooker or slow cooker to keep the soup warm for parties. Just be sure to leave your favorite toppings on the side to keep them nice and fresh!

More Hearty Vegetarian Soup Recipes

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is loaded with all the savory spices and bold flavors of classic tortilla soup but without any meat! The rich and hearty tomato broth is delicious and balances so well with a handful of tortilla strips on top along with your favorite toppings. The best part? This Mexican veggie soup is ready in just 30 minutes making it perfect for a quick meal on those busy weeknights. 


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. In a medium stockpot (or Dutch oven), heat oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes until the hot oil is sizzling hot. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño and carrot. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in salt, paprika, cumin, and crushed red pepper (if using).
  3. Add chipotles, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, black beans, and corn. Stir occasionally and bring the soup to a boil, about 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve immediately in a soup bowl and top with tortilla strips and any other toppings that you like including cilantro, lime, sour cream, avocado, and cheddar cheese.

Notes

How to store: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature, then store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. For best results, store the garnishes and crispy tortilla strips separately.

How to reheat: Place the soup in a medium saucepan on the stove and set it over medium heat until it is fully warmed through. Add fresh toppings and tortilla strips right before serving.

How to freeze: The broth-based soup can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for several months. Just thaw in the fridge before reheating!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: vegetarian tortilla soup, tortilla soup, mexican soup

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