Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

5 from 46 votes

This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is just as hearty & flavorful as the chicken version. It's spicy and full of plant-based protein like quinoa & black beans!

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This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is one of my very favorite meatless soups! The slightly spicy tomato-based broth is so full of flavor, and with both quinoa and black beans, this is the most hearty veggie tortilla soup around. The clincher, though? Those toppings. Crisp baked tortilla strips, creamy avocado, cheddar cheese, crunchy onion … yum!

Vegetarian quinoa tortilla soup with crunchy tortilla strips on top and a spoon dipped in.
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Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Mexican
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Vegetarian & easily vegan
Key Flavor: Mildly spicy, tomato flavor
Skill Level: Easy

  1. Tastes amazing: Layers of flavor build upon one another for a full-of-flavor vegetable tortilla soup. From the crispy tortilla strips to the soft quinoa to the creamy avocado, it has a variety of textures and tastes to keep it interesting–and so delicious!
  2. Full of protein: This vegetable tortilla soup has both quinoa and black beans, for a good solid dose of plant-based protein.
  3. Easily vegan: Just skip topping with cheese (or use a plant-based cheese) for a fully vegan tortilla soup recipe.
  4. Nutrient-rich: With a variety of veggies, this wholesome soup is as nourishing as it is delicious.
  5. Choose your toppings: Southwestern tortilla soup is endlessly customizable! Choose from a wide variety of toppings–whether you love a sprinkle of cheddar, a squeeze of lime, a dash of red onions, or all of the above, top however you like for a soup that’s exactly to your tastes.

Ingredients to Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Don’t be intimidated by the size of the ingredient list! Many of the ingredients in this vegetarian tortilla soup are pantry staples, and the rest are really easy to find in most local grocery stores.

Ingredients for recipe before prepping: oil, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, tomato paste, spices, vegetable broth, water, crushed tomatoes, cilantro, quinoa, black beans, corn.

For the Crispy Tortilla Strips

  • Corn tortillas: Standard corn tortillas, cut into strips.
  • Chili powder, salt, & pepper: Chili powder adds a bit of heat to the tortilla strips, while salt and pepper enhance the flavors.

For the Soup Base

  • Olive oil: For sautéing the veggies.
  • Onions, green bell peppers, garlic, and jalapeño peppers: These vegetables form the base of our soup, providing a backbone of flavor and a touch of heat.
  • Tomato paste: For rich and savory depth of flavor.
  • Crushed tomatoes: One large can. Add the whole thing, juices and all! Diced tomatoes will work in place of the crushed tomatoes, for a chunkier texture.
  • Chili powder & cumin: For distinctive Southwestern flavor.
  • Vegetable broth: Use homemade vegetable broth or store-bought. You can substitute chicken broth if you like, but this soup will no longer be vegetarian.
  • Cilantro: For a bright, herbal note.
  • Quinoa: The grain-like seed thickens vegetarian tortilla soup while also adding protein for a hearty and filling meal.
  • Black beans: One can of beans, drained and rinsed, lends meaty texture without the meat.
  • Corn: I like to use frozen corn because it’s easy and tastes so fresh.

For Assembly & Serving

  • Avocado: The creamy texture makes a delicious contrast with the crispy tortilla strips. Plus, healthy fats!
  • Cheddar cheese: Choose mild, medium, or sharp–whatever your preference.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds fresh herb flavor and pretty green color.
  • Red onions: The crisp bite of red onions are such a great contrast to the warm soup.
  • Lime wedges: Pass the limes for squeezing over the top! The lime juice will brighten and enhance the flavors of southwestern tortilla soup.
  • Swap the tortillas: Flour tortillas can replace corn tortillas for a flakier crunch.
  • Add rice: Instead of quinoa, try adding white or brown rice; just be aware the cooking time may change depending on the type of rice you use.
  • Mix up the beans: If black beans aren’t available, kidney or pinto beans will do the trick. They’ll change the texture a little, but the soup will still be plenty hearty and filling.
  • Crank up the spice or turn it down: Not a fan of jalapeños? Switch them out for milder green chilies for a more neutral soup. Or, you can amp up the heat with a spicier pepper such as serrano or habanero.
  • Embrace the endless topping options: In addition to the toppings already listed, this tortilla soup recipe with vegetables can be topped in so many different ways! Try sliced radishes, pickled or fresh jalapeños, sour cream, cotija or queso fresco cheeses, pico de gallo, and more.
  • Make it more authentic by grinding your own chili peppers: I’ve opted for the convenience and accessibility of chili powder in this veggie tortilla soup recipe. However, if you’re looking for more authentic flavor, consider grinding your own chili powder from dried chili peppers for a depth of flavor that’s hard to replicate with store-bought versions. To do this, dry-roast the chilis of your choice and then grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder.

How to Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  1. Warm olive oil in a large pot and add the onions, green pepper, and jalapeño. Cook until soft and fragrant, then add the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until the garlic and spices are fragrant.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, water, cilantro, and ¼ of the baked tortilla strips. Reduce the heat and simmer to develop the flavor.
  3. Add the quinoa, black beans, and corn.
  4. Simmer until the quinoa is tender.
4 image collage making recipe in a pot: 1- green peppers and onions after cooking with tomato paste and spices added, 2- after liquids and tortilla strips added, 3- after quinoa, black beans, and corn are added, 4- soup after all combined.

Tips for Making the Best Veggie Tortilla Soup

  • Finely chop the vegetables. It helps to finely chop the onions, green peppers, and jalapeños so that they all cook consistently but also so that they dissolve well into the soup without any large chunks.
  • Add the spices at the beginning of the process. The timing of when you introduce the spices when cooking this vegetarian tortilla soup matters a lot! For maximum flavor, you’ll want to add them at the start, right after the veggies have been sautéed.
  • For a smoother and thicker tortilla soup, blend before adding the protein. If you’d like, you can puree the soup with an immersion blender before adding the quinoa, beans, and corn.
  • Don’t skip the toppings. The toppings for serving this vegetarian tortilla soup are just as important as the ingredients you used to make it. Don’t skip them!
Vegetarian tortilla soup in a pot with ladle dipped in.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store and reheat vegetarian tortilla soup?

After letting the soup cool to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Remember to store any toppings (like tortilla strips, avocado, or cheese) separately to maintain their freshness and crunch. To reheat, pour the desired amount into a pot and warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through. If you’re using a microwave, transfer the soup to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in short intervals, stirring in between, until warm. Before serving, toss the tortilla strips in the oven for a few minutes to crisp them back up, and top the soup with the crisped tortilla strips and fresh toppings as desired.

How long will vegetarian tortilla soup last in the fridge?

Your soup should stay fresh for up to 4-5 days when stored properly in the fridge. Just make sure it’s in an airtight container to keep it tasting its best.

Can I freeze southwestern tortilla soup?

Yes, this soup freezes well, without the toppings. Thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator, then, when you’re ready to eat, heat it up on the stove, ladle into bowls, and add toppings.

Can I use store-bought tortilla strips instead of making them?

Yes, store-bought tortilla strips can be used as a time-saving alternative. However, baking them fresh at home provides a crispier texture and allows you to control the seasoning.

I don’t have quinoa on hand. What can I substitute it with?

You can substitute quinoa with rice or barley; just keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cooking time based on the grain you choose. Rice typically takes a similar time to cook as quinoa, while barley might take a bit longer.

The soup feels bland. How can I intensify the flavors?

Seasoning is key. If the soup feels bland, you might want to adjust the salt and pepper levels. Additionally, a splash of lime juice or a touch more of the spices, like cumin or chili powder, can enhance the flavor.

Bowl of quinoa and bean vegetarian soup with crunchy tortilla strips on top and a spoon dipped in.

I love how hearty this vegetarian tortilla soup is! Protein-rich quinoa and black beans give this vegetarian soup heft, making it a true meal-in-one. It’s meal-prep worthy, customizable to individual tastes, and most of all, this veggie tortilla soup is so good!

More Soup Recipes:

If you try this feel good Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This vegetarian tortilla soup recipe was originally published on February 24, 2019. It has recently been updated with new photography, tips, and step-by-step collages. The recipe has only slightly changed to make it more precise and easier to follow.

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is just as hearty & flavorful as the chicken version. It’s spicy and full of plant-based protein like quinoa & black beans!
5 from 46 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Calories 147
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
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For the tortilla strips

  • 4 small corn tortillas cut into thin strips
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 jalapeño seeded, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

For Optional Topping:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Finely chopped red onions
  • Lime wedges


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place the tortilla strips in a single baking sheet; season with chili powder, salt and pepper, toss to combine, then arrange in a single layer. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10-12 minutes, tossing halfway through; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Cook the onions, green pepper and jalapeño until tender, 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin and continue to cook until garlic and spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, water, cilantro and a quarter of the baked tortilla strips. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in quinoa, black beans and corn. Simmer uncovered, until quinoa is cooked, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve the soup with the remaining baked tortilla strips and your favorite toppings.


Recipe: This recipe was adapted from New York Times Cooking
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 4-6 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the soup in for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing it individual portions but easier thawing. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and and microwave until heated through. Or simply microwave straight from the freezer until heated through.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can omit some vegetables as you see fit and add others you enjoy.
* Please note the nutrition label does not include any toppings.


Serving: 2cups, Calories: 147kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 55mg, Potassium: 294mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 379IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American, Mexican
Course: Soup

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Recipe Rating


  1. Caroline says:

    I really liked this recipe! I added shredded chicken and it was great.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Happy to hear it was a hit! Thank you, Caroline!

  2. Linda says:

    The Vegan Tortilla Soup was amazingly delicious!
    Thank you so much!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay!! You’re so welcome!

  3. shannon says:

    super delicious, hearty, tasty, healthy, nourishing soup! great option for meatless monday or a vegetarian meal. can’t wait to make this again!

  4. Andrea says:

    Love it. Packed with flavor. Would definitely make it more often with the variety of toppings you suggest.

    1. Carol Campbell says:

      This was sooo flavorful! Thank you for the recipe…. Going to add it to soups that I make every year in the fall and winter months. Also added a little cornmeal mixed with water (remember doing that for another recipe once before) and gave it a nice texture. I didn’t have any quinoa, but I didn’t miss It.

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        So glad to hear it! And I love the tip about the cornmeal mixed with water to thicken it up. Thank you!!