Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

This is my take on tortilla soup - a full-bodied, spicy vegetarian broth envelops a nest of baked tortilla matchsticks. Tiny roasted tomatoes along with a bit of goat cheese lend tang and texture, and flecks of sun-dried tomatoes bring depth and richness to each bowl. Many tortilla soup recipes call for egregious amounts of shredded cheese, but I've found that a bit crumbled goat cheese lends just the right amount of creaminess, without throwing everything out of whack nutritionally.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

There are a thousand ways you can remix this recipe based on your personal preferences or what looks good at your local markets. If I'm after a one dish meal, I'll add some grilled (or smoked) tofu, or a poached egg. If I feel I need greens as well, I'll toss in some shredded chard or spinach. For a more typical take you might (instead) finish the soup with sliced avocado and/or cilantro, chopped white onions, and a squeeze of lime.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

This is clearly what happens when a tortilla soup meets a California pantry - with the cherry tomatoes and local goat cheese. That being said, I'm hoping my remix will inspire you to try you own using whatever ingredients you might be inspired by. Use the broth as your base and play around from there.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

As I mention up above, if I'm treating this like a one bowl meal, I'll toss in some tofu (smoked or browned in a skillet) and some shredded chard as well. Heat alert: I call for 1 teaspoon of spicy red chili powder at the beginning of this recipe - keep in mind that some chile powders are stronger than others. If you (or your family) are worried about the soup being too spicy, scale back. The worst thing you can do is make the soup too spicy too early in the process. If you start out light, you'll be able to adjust the amount of spiciness toward the end. If you like your soup spicier, add more chile powder toward the end. One last note, this is another soup where seasoning is so important. If you haven't seasoned it properly with salt, it is going to taste very flat.

6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips
a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt

20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes

another splash of extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne or other spicy red chili powder
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth (or water)

a few sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled

Gently toss the tortilla strips with a glug of olive oil and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.

Halve (or quarter) the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated), so you can do this part in advance if you like. Set aside.

Now for the soup itself - in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit. Remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted and sun-dried tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese. Alternately, as I mention up above, you can finish with sliced avocado, cilantro, white onions, and a squeeze of lime. If you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, or stir in some extra goat cheese.

Makes about 6 servings.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I just woke up and 101 cookbooks was the first thing I checked! What a great way to start the day!! I know what I am having for lunch


I LOVE Tortilla soup! I make one with blue corn tortilla chips, fire-roasted tomato broth and hot Spanish chorizo. If I'm leaving meat out, I'll add a tablespoon of smoked paprika for depth.

I love the yellow cherry tomatoes you're using here and the local goat cheese. That's a beautiful alternative to sour cream :)


That sounds really yummy! I'm been in a soup mood despite the heat, but I can't get anyone else around here excited about it.

So, 6 cups of broth total? I have homemade chicken broth and leftover roasted chicken that needs to be used so I might use/add those...


I love the idea of using cherry tomatoes--I'm craving tortilla soup but the heirlooms aren't ready quite yet! This is similar to the thicker vegetarian tortilla soup I make, except that I roast the onions along with the tomatoes.

Hannah @ I Heart Kale

I can't wait to make this! We have a salmonella outbreak in Chicago for grape tomatoes, so I'll have to wait. I also think I will grill my tomatoes and keep the char on to add a smokiness to the soup.

Thanks for sharing Heidi!


yum! I made homemade corn tortillas two nights ago for the first time (who knew it was so easy?? just mix, flatten, & cook), and have a few leftover -- Tortilla soup would be a great way to use them up! thanks!

Jen (Modern Beet)

This looks delicious, I can never have too many soup recipes. yippe


I loooove your take on the classic Tortilla Soup recipe; especially since it's full of spice!! :0)


I can't wait to try this, it looks gorgeous!

Thanks for the inspiration.


Lovely looking take on tortilla soup. Here in SE Mexico various versions of the soup are favorites in restaurants but I hadn't tried my own. Your (as always) tempting recipe/photo will guide me in making something between yours & local version ( with its fried tortillas & cream) with real chiles and fresh lime from my tree & a little Chiapas cheese -- goat cheese is rare here.


I have always love tortilla soup and this looks delicious. I am intrigued by your spices. Definitely a twist to what I have used in the past.

We have also found that avocado and red peppers are great in a soup like this. A little dab of sour cream certainly doesn't hurt either. ;-)

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Yes!!!!! I have been wanting a good tortilla soup recipe- usually I settle for tweaking a boxed version, but this looks like the perfect replacement!! I can't wait to try this!


Tortilla Soup is an old friend, so much so that the girls at Books for Cooks in London put it in their Books for Cooks 8 cookery book. There is a film with that name and all the people I teach them how to make it ( for more info on courses) love it because it is soooo easy, the only thing is ... this recipe is Californian/Mexican, so why is there no ancho chilli or pasilla chilli? Love the idea of roasted yummy tomatoes though!


That is gorgeous! I love your idea of baking the tortilla matchsticks (and of doing the tortillas as matchsticks as well). Mmm, I must try this soon. And with avocado on top, definitely.


Tortilla Soup is always the best. I like to add some fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Thanks for the inspiration.


The bit of goat cheese as a topping is a great idea! I often taste and compare tortilla soups around Austin, and there are several good ones. I love how fresh and light your version appears. I might have to add some fresh chiles for added heat though!


I am new to your blog.....but am so excited I found it. I love tortilla soup! My family and I try to eat mostly vegetarian so I am thrilled to find so many interesting options for us to try out! Thank you!


Where's the cookbook?!!! Happy I found this blog. I am a vegetarian and looking for low cal. recipes, too. Impressed with the ideas.

Belinda Bishop

Goodness, this looks delicious!!


I am a fiend for soup, and despite it being 80 F here in MN, I could quite go for a tortilla soup with fresh, garden tomatoes...too bad they're not in season here yet. Fun with the cherry tomatoes, never have done that--cutting those can be tedious. Gracias, me gusta mucho.

Sprouted in the Kitchen

This looks divine!

Ashely Schultz

I love tortilla soup! I can't wait to try this!


Looks wonderful - If it was not 111 degrees where I live I would make this one for dinner.

I will print and save for a much cooler day :)


Cathy C

I have heard a lot about tortilla soup and have wanted to try it, this recipe sounds delicious so I think I'm going to make this tomorrow night. Thanks for the recipe, great photo's too.


I've just had this soup for dinner and it was lovely! When I read your post this morning, I could not resist making it despite the heat here in SF. I added a chopped up jalapeno since we love spicy food and it was perfect. The goat cheese is great because a little goes such a long way. I have to confess, I added a small handful of leftover chicken to our bowls since the soup was our main event for dinner. (Forgive me Heidi! I left the pot untainted!) I served it with a simple spinach salad with cranberries and sunflower seeds. The sweetness was a nice accompaniment to the spicy spicy soup. We're sitting on the roof deck in Noe Valley as the sun sets...and the leftover Heavenly Pie in the fridge is going to be the perfect ending to our perfect dinner! Thank you Heidi!


This looks really really good. Do you have a recipe for making your own vegetable broth? The pre-made stuff just tastes funny. I like the ingredients that Isabel Allende uses in her book Aphrodite, but she neglects to say how much water to use (I highly recommend the book though). But I'd love to have a go-to vegetarian stock recipe to always have on hand.


Tortilla soup is new to me. Looks good and quite filling. Shall definIitely try it.


I made this for dinner last night--it was very easy, and delicious. Will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation. Thank you for providing such easy, healthful ideas. By the way (for everyone reading this), according to the CDC and FDA, not a single case of salmonella has been reported for grape and cherry tomatoes. Only the roma and larger round tomatoes are affected. I used grape tomatoes last night and am happy to report I am still kicking. The CDC has a whole fact page on the outbreak on their website, which is very helpful.


This looks and sounds awesome! I'd leave off the cheese and toss in beans of tofu for extra protein!


I am half Mexican, and always doing riffs on Mexican food. There is just so much depth to the cuisine. This recipe looks wonderful. My sister is a tortilla soup fanatic and would love this recipe. I like Tofutti Better than Sour Cream. I am not against sour cream at all, but I love the way the Tofutti one tastes as its own ingredient.

Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

Barb- on the broth:
I used one and one half cubes of Rapunzle's Bullion that Heidi always talks about in her posts. Plus the water. It turned out great!


I've always loved tortilla soup!
I'm not a vegetarian, so if I make it I will probably add some meat to it.
I love the picture!

Krista on the Hill

Beautiful! I never miss a recipe on your blog


Hi Amy,

This looks like a great recipe and we will try it soon. I bought your latest cookbook 2 or 3 months ago and love it, great photography as well.
Discovered I had diabetes 2 recently and take oral medication for it. Have you considered including a dietary chart along with your recent recipes?
Paul and Paula


The yellow tomatoes are so pretty. I may not be able to stop myself from throwing in a diced avocado, too. Chips, tomatoes, avocado... all in one bowl? And it qualifies as a meal? I'm in.


That sounds awesome Heidi! I love the second serving suggestion, with avocado and cilantro:) gotta try it this week!


This looks fantastic. My husband is interested in eating gluten free (and we are vegetarian). I'm so happy to find a recipe that accommodates both those dietary needs and includes two of my favorite things: roasted cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. I can't wait for it to cool down around here so I can try it.


Mmmmmm--this looks like a nice alternative to my family's standby tortilla soup. I look forward to trying it. Thanks.

Magpie Ima

Oh - the pictures.. they are making me hungry..
I am going to eat and then - I'll be back to check this recipe out!
Thank you!


Heidi !
I just cooked this recipe for dinner, and I am blown away... It is so simple and easy, yet so very delicious...

It is also the first of your recipes that I have attempted, and now I am certain that it won't be the last !


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