Vegan Tortilla Soup with rich, bold, smoky tomato, garlicky flavour, and piles of crispy, crunchy baked tortilla strips. Then come the extra toppings which really seal the deal. It's quick, easy, and totally delicious!
Vegan Tortilla Soup is happening. Are you ready?!
When it involves smoky, garlicky tomato-rich broth with beans and corn and lime and ALL the toppings then there's no doubt that me and my soup pan are right here ready and waiting.
Just like my vegan vegetable soup and my chickpea curry soup, this soup recipe is simple and quick and easy, but it packs a real flavour punch. It's rich and deep and the topping situation takes it right over the top.
I mean hot flavour intense soup, crispy golden tortilla strips, zippy lime and optional but very recommended buttery soft avocado, fresh cilantro, fiery jalapeño, crumbles of salty melty vegan feta cheese plus whatever else you fancy. This is a real good food kinda situation.
Here are the main players going into our simple but very flavorful pot of vegetarian tortilla soup:
- Onions & garlic - The basis of all good recipes!
- Herbs & spices - For flavour and smoky warmth. Don't skip the smoked paprika. It is one of my favorite spices by far and adds amazing flavor to this soup. Most grocery stores carry it. It will be with the herbs and spices. It's well worth having in your pantry and I use it in my recipes all the time!
- Crushed tomatoes - I like to use fire-roasted tomatoes for extra smoky depth of flavour. Muir Glen Organic are my favorites. Regular is fine if you can't find fire roasted though.
- Black beans - From a can or cooked yourself from dried. You could also use pinto beans or kidney beans, or a can of mixed beans.
- Sweetcorn - From a can or frozen or fresh
- Cornstarch - for thickness and gloss.
- Fresh lime - Added to finish the soup. The acid balances out the sweet, smoky flavours and adds some lovely fresh zip.
- Crispy tortilla strips - Crisped up in the oven and used to top the soup, adding amazing crispy, crunchy texture!
How To Make Vegan Tortilla Soup
This is a really easy soupy situation we've got going on here. Here's how it's done:
- Saute the onion, garlic and then the spices.
- Add the cornstarch and stir in.
- The crushed tomatoes, broth, beans, corn, herbs and touch of sugar join the party next.
- Then let the soup simmer for a bit while you make the crispy tortilla strips. Add a squeeze of lime right before serving!
Success tip - A squeeze of fresh lime juice to finish the soup makes a huge difference to the balance of flavors so don't skip it!
How To Make Crispy Tortilla Strips
Look, I know it's super easy to grab a bag of salted tortilla chips from the store, open them and dump them on your soup, but my crispity-crisp tortilla strips are so easy to make, involve no deep frying and take 12 minutes tops. You just need some corn tortillas. I recommend using the small 5 or 6 inch ones.
Here's how to make them:
- Leave the tortillas in a pile and slice through them all at once into strips.
- Put the strips in a bowl and drizzle over a little oil. Massage the oil into the strips.
- Tip onto a lined baking tray and spread out in a thin even layer, sprinkle with a little salt, then bake.
- Leave to cool on the tray.
No judgments from me if you still go for the bag though ;O)
You might be wondering what goes well with tortilla soup? Well, we are ALL about the toppings! If you’re serving this soup up to a crowd, set out individual bowls of toppings and have everyone help themselves! Some ideas include:
- the compulsory crispy tortilla strips, or salted tortilla chips from a bag if you're feeling lazy ;O)
- sliced avocado
- fresh lime wedges
- crumbled vegan feta cheese (my recipe is amazing with this soup and adds irresistible creaminess and saltiness!)
- sliced jalapenos
- fresh cilantro/coriander
- sliced green onions
- fresh mango (sounds odd but works!)
- red onions
- hot sauce
- unsweetened vegan yogurt
- vegan sour cream
With all of those toppings you probably won't be needing any sides, but just in case you do, some freshly baked cornbread, no knead focaccia, vegan sweet potato biscuits, or just regular bread with my vegan butter are always good options!
Soup leftovers taste even better because the flavors have that extra time to develop. Store them in a sealed container in the fridge. They will keep for 4 to 5 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store leftover tortilla strips in an airtight container.
Vegan Tortilla Soup Recipe FAQs
Most are, but be sure to check the ingredients just in case. Occasionally you will find things such as lard, butter, margarine or whey powder. And sometimes you will find animal-derived enzymes, glycerin, monoglycerides and diglycerides. This is more likely in wheat-based tortillas than corn-based ones. Corn tortillas and better quality brands of flour tortillas tend to be more consistently vegan friendly. Cheaper flour tortillas, like cheap bread, often use unnecessary ingredients as fillers or preservatives. Despite this I've never had a problem finding vegan brands in any grocery store so I'm sure you won't have any problems either.
There are 2 methods. The very quick and easy one, or the slightly longer one where you sauté the onions etc first for a bit more flavour.
I won't lie. I'm a fan of the chuck it all in and press go method which involves, yes, you guessed it, chucking all of the soup ingredients into the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. You can then do a very careful quick release (cover the spout with a cloth to protect yourself and surroundings). That just leaves the tortilla chips. Either follow my recipe instructions for baking your own or buy a bag of tortilla chips to make life really easy.
If you prefer the more flavour method though, sauté the onion and garlic in the pot first for a few minutes. Once they are starting to turn golden turn the pot off and add the spices. Stir it all around so they toast in the residual heat. Then add the stock and give the bottom a really, really good scrape with a wooden spoon to get any brown bits off. Then add all of the the soup ingredients and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes before naturally releasing the pressure.
You can easily make this vegan tortilla soup in a slow cooker. Simply add all of the ingredients to the pot (excluding the tortillas and oil), cover and slow cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 4-6 hour. Then you will just need to prepare the crispy tortilla strips as directed or open a bag of chips instead.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
Vegan Tortilla SoupAuthor:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , or sauté with water instead
- 1 medium onion , peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch , (cornflour in the UK). Arrowroot is ok too.
- 3 cups (1 x 28 oz / 796 mls can) fire roasted crushed tomatoes , or regular crushed tomatoes / passata
- 3 cups (720 mls) stock
- 3 cups (2 x 14 oz/398 ml cans) black beans
- 1½ cups (1 x 12 oz / 341 ml can) sweetcorn
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt , or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , or to taste
- 1 lime , juice only
For the crispy tortilla strips (or just use a bag of tortilla chips instead!)
- 6 small 5 to 6 inch corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons oil
- a pinch of salt
- Put a large soup pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the dried herbs and spices to the pan and allow to toast for a minute or two, stirring frequently, then add the cornstarch. Stir well. It will look lumpy and weird. That's fine.
- Add the canned tomatoes and stir really well, then pour in the stock, beans, sweetcorn and sugar. Stir together then bring to a simmer. Keep it simmering away for about 10 to 15 minutes until it's hot and thickened.
- While the soup is simmering preheat oven to 375°F (190 °C) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Keep the tortillas in a pile, and cut down through them to make long strips about ¼ inch wide. Put the strips in a large bowl and pour over the oil. Toss them around with your fingers until they are all coated then tip them out onto the baking tray. Spread out into a single layer so there's a little space around each one. Sprinkle all over with a pinch or two of salt and bake for 12 minutes. Keep an eye on them in the last minute or two in case your oven runs hot and they get too dark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray.
- Once you are ready to serve, take the soup off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice of a lime. Give it a quick stir and it's ready.
- Ladle the soup into bowls then pile the tortilla strips on top. Then add other toppings of choice.
Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. You can then do a very careful quick release (cover the spout with a cloth to protect yourself and surroundings). That just leaves the tortilla chips. Either follow my recipe instructions for baking your own or buy a bag of tortilla chips to make life really easy.
Made this tonight and it was delightful! Baking the corn tortillas and using as a topping gave it such a nice texture and flavor. (Glad I didn’t just buy tortilla chips!) Another fantastic recipe, Mel.
Oh wow, this was amazing. Made it for lunches during the week but I will have to make another pot tomorrow or the day after. Just the right amount of spices and herbs.....this recipe is going to stay on my regular recipe rounds. Love it so much, thank you for am awesome, quick, easy and very hearty soup recipe!!!
Melanie McDonald says
I'm really pleased you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review. It's much appreciated!
Tracy Haynes says
Made this last night, and am so happy I doubled the recipe. It's delicious! Very flavorful and filling. The only change I made is to use half of the red pepper flakes, because I'm a wimp. Otherwise I followed the recipe and the hubs and I enjoyed it. Will be having leftovers tonight! Thanks for a great recipe!
Made it tonight after work. Didn't have excellent toppings,just crunchy lime/salt chickpeas for a bit of crunch and green onion . I think avocado would be nice and some sort of gooey melty vegan mozzarella...but I had wit fairly basic and it was warming and hearty. My bf had same as mne but with addition of a dollop of real sour creme. He's not vegan. Both of us really liked the recipe. Tasty and filling and not sparingly spicy. Just right!
This is soooo delish!!
Very flavorful and so easy!
Every recipe I’ve made of your last is awesome!!!
what were the other herbs and spices - only smoked paprika was mentioned...
A Virtual Vegan says
Cumin, chili and thyme. They are all listed in the ingredients list.
Sounds yummy. I like that there are IP instructions as well - really makes life easy!
A Virtual Vegan says
Hope you enjoy it when you get to give it a try!