Archive | October, 2012

Vegan Tortilla Soup…Yum!

16 Oct

A long, long, time ago in a land far, far away, I was a cook and baker.  I would have people ask me for recipes and we would share about food. And then I got all weird on them.  And those requests for recipes got fewer and fewer and fewer.

Back in those days, I would say that the one recipe that probably got requested the most was my chicken tortilla soup.  So heart warming and yummy.  Ahhhh, I miss it.

Until NOW!  Jennifer told me a few weeks ago about a wonderful recipe by Rick Bayless.  He is by FAR my favorite Mexican food chef.  I love his food, love his PBS show, love his cookbook (I only have 1), and ALMOST loved his restaurant (but due to American Airlines grounding all of their planes a few years ago, our trip to his restaurants, er, Chicago, got canceled).  Anyway, I heard “Rick Bayless” and “tortilla soup” and knew I had to try this!

This is random, but I ran in to him outside of the Majestic Theater last year.  My big brush with fame.  It took everything in me to not stop him and ask him where he ate that night for dinner and what he had!

I took his recipe and per his suggestion, made it vegetarian.  Then I added zucchini because the zucchini in my old recipe was so yummy and I adjusted the amounts of different things.  I also took out the oil.  All in all, it is his soup. Just my vegan spin!  I love how it isn’t a TexMex version of tortilla soup.

This soup has a deep, rich flavor.   It is the way this soup is served in Mexico.  It is all broth. Then you add the stuff that fills it in.

Dana, this is for you!

Mine is on the left with cilantro and brown rice tortilla “chips”, Luck’s is on the right with cheese and corn chips.

  • 1-2 dried pasilla chiles, cut off the stem and cut out the seeds (These are dried chiles that you can find with the spices or in the produce section if you live somewhere like San Antonio.  If not, you can substitute 1 T of ancho chile powder or another chile powder of your liking.  But DO attempt to get the dried chiles.  I promise it is worth it!)
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4 in pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed a bit
  • 2 boxes of vegetable broth (total of 8 cups)
  • 1 -2 zucchini, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • 1-2 avocados, cut into chunks
  • tortillas for making chips or tortilla chips
  • cilantro
  • cilantro lime brown rice or plain brown rice
  • cheese, if you want

Take your seeded chiles and press them into a preheated pan on medium heat.  Hold down each side for 15-20 seconds, or until they are warm and starting to soften and blister.

Place the chiles into your blender with the canned tomatoes (with juice) and puree.

On the stove, heat the onions and garlic over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Season with kosher salt to start the process of the veggies releasing their moisture.  (You do NOT NEED OIL to saute!  If you learn nothing more from this blog, learn this!  Keep a cup of water next to whatever it is your are sauteing and add some it is starting to stick.  So many things you think “need” oil don’t!)  Cook this until the onion and garlic are starting to brown.

Don’t you just love recipes that don’t call for dicing onions?  This pic is obviously from before they were browned.

Add the onions and garlic to the blender (with the tomatoes and chiles) and blend until everything is pureed.

Pour your puree into your big soup pot and stir to cook for a minute.  Add the vegetable broth.  Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer.  Add the zucchini and allow it to fully cook.

Here is where your culinary skills come in to play.  Taste the broth and add kosher salt until you feel the flavors are balanced.

Serve!  Add avocado, toasted tortillas (or tortilla chips), cilantro, and anything else you want. We really love it over cilantro lime brown rice.  You carnivores can add chicken.  If I could eat corn, I would ABSOLUTELY add some frozen or fresh corn kernels.  I also think that black beans would be good in there, if the soup is too brothy for you. For me, I like it brothy and say just add more avocado or tortilla!

Since I can’t have corn chips, I took a brown rice tortilla, cut it into wedges, and baked at 350 until they looked like this. They were delicious and just the right texture!

This soup is so easy to prepare.  And it freezes beautifully.  I always make a lot extra and stick a big ziploc bag of it in the freezer.  Healthy, delicious, and soul warming!

Enjoy!  Please let me know what you think of it!