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!


10 Responses to “Vegan Tortilla Soup…Yum!”

  1. meredithmoza October 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm #


  2. Christi C. October 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Looks yummy! So funny… I just added oil to something that was sticking last night! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

    • brittluck October 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Oil no more! 🙂 Hope y’all like the soup. A rotisserie chicken would be easy to add for your fam!

  3. Jennifer Murata October 18, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Yes, I could marry this soup. I love it so much! And, my kids don’t hate it. Which is good enough for me!

  4. Katherine Moreheead October 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    where did you get the brown rice tortillas? Loved your class last week at the Cooking Cottage in Boerne. Excellant.

    • brittluck October 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      So glad you stopped by and even more glad that you enjoyed the class! The next one will be on Nov 8 and will be Thanksgiving recipes!
      I get the brown rice tortillas in the freezer section at Sprouts or the tortilla area of Whole Foods. I am hoping some day HEB will carry them!
      Hope to see you soon!

  5. Melanie Flinn (@nutritiouseats) October 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    This looks great Brittany! I am so glad you vegans can have your tortilla soup- love this version and will have to try this too! So coming from a Mediterranean family, you know olive oil is a staple to us. My Gigi who is from Greece is still alive and super healthy and is in her 90s and my mom has absolutely no medical conditions as well as my Greek grandpa- they all have amazing cholesterol levels. We all eat lots of olive oil. So my opinion is it part of a healthy diet. What are your thoughts on that? It’s totally fine if they are different….just curious since you mentioned it in this post. I remember you saying it did something to your body in this condition and I can’t remember.

    • brittluck October 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Melanie, you are blessed to come from such healthy genes! My protocol (and most plant based theories) go off of the idea that you eat the whole food together. That the healthiest way to consume a food is to eat it as it is found in nature. So rather than pressing out the oil, you eat the olive because it is still with all of the other goodness (fiber, nutrients, etc…). Also, the idea is that you fill up on larger quantities of nutrient dense foods, as opposed to nutrient poor, calorie rich foods. Having said that,as you know, it can be anti-inflammatory and if you are at your ideal body weight (which your family, no doubt is!), then it is okay! I have learned not to waste calories for times like sauteing when I know I can eat more healthfully without it. I am not at my ideal body weight, according to everything I have read, and so I press on. Until you asked this question, I was under the assumption that it was inflammatory to my body. I was WRONG! So yay for you bringing this up!

  6. Kara January 5, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Britt–this recipe is AWESOME! So YUMMY! I made it last night, with a few small changes bc of time/laziness! LOL! 1) Didn’t have pasilla chiles so used chili powder. I know it would be even better with the pasilla chiles, they are on the list for the next grocery trip. 2) Only had 1 box of vegan veg broth so just made 1/2 batch 3) Used 1 can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes, therefore I didn’t have to put anything in the blender (ie LAZY)! The delicious soup was obv a little chunkier, but oh so yummy! 4) I normally don’t like zucchini, but took a risk as it was in the co-op box and added it anyway. Couldn’t even taste the zucchini… 5) I added two cans of black beans, juice and all, and it was delicious! 6) Cut a few corn tortillas up, added them while the soup was simmering
    The soup was DELICIOUS! So delicious that I didn’t even want to add cheese to it–and you know how I LOVE cheese!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe and encouraging others, like me, who have hated veggies to eat more plant-based, crowding out your plate!

    • brittluck January 5, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Makes me SOOO happy!!!!!!! Proud of you, girlie!

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