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!
Because I’m such a believer in the health benefits of having soup regularly, I’m going to share the love with soup after soup recipes. This Vegetarian Tortilla Soup has tortillas to thicken the base of the soup, and the toppings can definitely send you overboard on calories if you’re not too careful. But overall, it’s a protein-packed, nutritional and hearty soup that’s so good, and so good for you!
I first started making this soup when I saw it shared on New York Times Cooking. While I’m not vegetarian, I’m always experimenting with more vegan and vegetarian recipes and finding fun ways for the kids to eat them. This vegetarian tortilla soup is loaded with vegetables that soften and take on a sweet and lightly spicy flavor.
There are also a ton options for toppings that can be fun for both kids and adults. It’s one of those soups that is packed with so much flavor and so easy to customize. I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t love it!
How to make vegetarian tortilla soup
To start, saute chopped onions, green peppers and jalapeños. I only use one tiny jalapeño pepper and my kids can’t even taste it. If you like more of a punch, add some extra jalapeños, some green chile peppers or even adobo peppers.
When they soften, add garlic, tomato paste and spices. I use cumin and chili powder for the perfect sweet and smoky flavor.
When all those flavors are mixed well, add the vegetable broth and some of the tortilla strips and let it all simmer. The baked tortilla strips get super soft and essentially just dissolve into the tomato broth and help to thicken the base of the soup. The tortilla strips not only give it the thickness, but also the unique flavor.
Next comes the chunky part of this vegetarian tortilla soup recipe. I use quinoa, black beans and corn and cook it again for 15 minutes until the quinoa becomes tender. You’ll notice that the soup will get pretty thick and you can add 2-4 cups of water before or after the quinoa cooks, depending on how thick you like it. I love how chunky it is!
The soup takes about an hour to cook from start to finish, but most of that time is just letting it simmer so that it absorbs all the wonderful veges and spices in there. It’s the type of soup that tastes better when it sits for a while or even the next day!
What toppings to add to tortilla soup
If you ask me, the toppings are quintessential to this vegetarian tortilla soup. It allows for customization and adds a variety of textures and tastes to be mixed with the soup that’s been cooking for a while. I love to keep the toppings fresh and bright.
Here are some ideas for toppings you can add to your tortilla soup. You can create a toppings bar with these ideas and let everyone pick their favorites
- Tortilla strips – this is essential to the recipe, so don’t skip it!
- Red onion
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Lime wedges
- Pico de gallo
- Hot sauce
Tips to make vegetarian 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 from the beginning. The timing of when you introduce the spices in cooking this vegetarian tortilla soup matters a lot! For the best flavor, add the spies immediately in the beginning once the vegetables have slightly softened. If you wait until the end, you’re missing out on a lot of flavor.
- Blend the soup before adding the protein. For enhanced flavor, you can blend the soup with an immersion blender right before adding the quinoa, beans and corn. This allows the tortilla strips to really get mixed into the broth. But it’s an optional step and not necessary.
- Don’t skip the toppings. The toppings for serving this tortilla soup are just as important as the ingredients you used to make it. These toppings all help enhance the flavor of the tortilla soup. Plus it makes it that much for fun!
I hope you give this vegetarian tortilla soup a try. It’s a hearty soup that is so filling and satisfying it is essentially a meal on its own. And the best part is that it is customizable with the vegetarian protein you use and also the toppings you add on top. It’s protein packed, nutrition packed and flavor packed! Is that perfectly packed enough for you? hahaha
For more soup recipes, check out:
- Easy Ravioli Soup
- Sweet Potato Chili
- Mediterranean White Bean Soup
- Healthy Broccoli & Cheese Soup
- Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
For the tortilla strips
- 4 small corn tortillas cut into thin strips
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 jalapeño seeds removed, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 15 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn kernels
- Sliced avocado
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- Finely chopped red onions
- Lime wedges
- Preheat 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, about 5-7 minute.
- 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, 2-4 cups of water, cilantro and half 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.
- Divide soup among bowls and serve with avocado, cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, red onions, lime wedge for squeezing, and the remaining baked tortilla strips.