Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Bar

  I know it sounds like blasphemy to make tortilla soup without chicken, but it can be done.  There are plenty of "fixins" to make up for it.  

And for your convenience, I'm keeping my mouth shut and going straight to the recipe!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This dish is an ideal choice for when everyone has their own agenda, whether it be soccer practice, workout class, PTA meeting, or working late. You can make a large pot of soup and prepare the extras. Let everyone self serve!
Serves 4


2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups diced green bell pepper (~ 1-1/2 green bell peppers)
3 cups diced onion (~1-1/2 onions)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 Serrano pepper w/ seeds (halved lengthwise)
1 Tbsp Ancho chile powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1 can rotel or 1 cup diced tomatoes
1 can black beans* (optional)
6 cups vegetable broth** or water
1/2 a lime
salt to taste (if necessary)

  • 4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • limes cut into wedges
  • 3 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • reduced fat sour cream
  • diced avocado
  • crushed tortilla chips


1.  Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and peppers and cook for 2 minutes.  Add garlic, serrano pepper half, bay leaves, and cook until onions are completely softened and translucent.  Add ancho chile powder and ground cumin and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. 
2. Add tomatoes, broth or water, and salt to taste.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Add juice of 1/2 lime.
3. Ladle soup in bowls and let everyone self-serve their fixins.

*Optional:  For a protein component, you can add whole black beans or puree black beans and then add the puree to the soup in Step 2.  Mix well.

**Cook Illustrated Magazine recommends Swanson's vegetable broth as the best tasting vegetable broth.  (I personally agree, as other brands seems to be heavier on the carrot flavor and alter the flavor)


  1. This is awesome!! I'm always telling R how he's missing out on tortilla soup and now he can experience it. That is if he's nice enough to me that I'll make it:) Lovely post!

  2. what time does the soup bar open? i'll be there! ;-) yum!

  3. What a great idea -- can you please come open the bar in my kitchen? ;p

  4. Mmmmm!!! The best part of tortilla soup isn't the chicken - it's all the fixin's you get pile on top of it! Seriously good food!

  5. That soup looks really scrumptious! What a great idea.



  6. I'd like to hear what your co-workers think about your cooking!

  7. Let's do a Monday tasting of your latest dish(es)!

  8. I was inspired! Thanks!

  9. Thanks, all! Let me know how it turns out for you!

    Brownlove - you are not funny. You are exactly the reason why amanda and I keep work and personal interests separate entities. :)

    L - Thanks, roomie!!! Thanks for supporting my blog. Owen looks like a mini John. :) I see you went to the Tetons - one of my favorite vacations ever.

  10. As I was prepping the ingredients for this recipe I was actually wondering how it would freeze but it was so easy to make (and so FULL of flavor)
    that it's something I could throw together in a jiffy.

    The bay leaf really added a little 'something' to the dish!

    I don't keep veggie broth on hand but used "Better Than Bouillon" instead (and adjusted the salt accordingly).

  11. Amee, I doubled the recipe to take to a work lunch and it was a hit.
    I love that I can come to your blog and always find something delicious to make!!


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