Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

My tortilla soup recipe - 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, along with depth and richness to each bowl.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This is my take on tortilla soup - a full-bodied, spicy vegetarian broth envelops a nest of baked tortilla matchsticks. Many tortilla soup recipes call for egregious amounts of shredded cheese, but I've found that a bit crumbled goat cheese or greek yogurt lends just the right amount of creaminess, without throwing everything entirely out of whack nutritionally. And you can take the toppings in a number of tasty directions.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

The Keys to Good Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

The keys here are adaptability and good ingredients. 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 or guacamole, cilantro, chopped white onions, and a squeeze of lime.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Lots of Topping are a Plus

I love this soup fully loaded. And tend to use whatever I have on hand. That said, avocado is a must more often than not. And, one of the questions I get most often is related to slicing them. You can see a demonstration in this video. The safer way is to cut straight down into the table, but I live on the edge a bit and cut with the avocado cradled into my palm.

This is clearly what happens when a tortilla soup meets a California pantry - you can flare it out with salted yogurt, sliced avocado, and a squeeze of lime (above). Or take it in another direction altogether, and top the soup with roasted cherry tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese.
Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Have fun and I'm hoping my vegetarian tortilla soup remix of the classic 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!

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

4.05 from 21 votes

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 couple splashes of extra virgin olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 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)
  • 1/3 cup roasted cherry tomatoes
  • Topping Ideas: crumbled goat cheese, sliced avocado, salted Greek yogurt or sour cream, and lime
  1. 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.
  2. For the soup itself - in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in another splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in all the spices and then the tomatoes. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit.

  3. 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. Taste and add more salt until it tastes really good.

  4. Serve the individual bowls topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and as many of the other topping as you can pull together: plenty of tortilla strips, sliced avocado, crumbled goat cheese, a big squeeze of lime, etc.


Serves 4.

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


I made the "Vegeteraian Tortilla Soup" and the Corn Tortilla Sticks too! The soup is delicious, and the corn sticks are fun to eat!!!! I used my own vegetarian I stock I make weekly. (Note: I used only 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, instead of 1teaspoon, and it was plenty spicy for us!!) I served the soup with a squeeze of lime, and garnished it w/queso fresco cheese, avocado, and the tortilla sticks! Definitely a favorite soup for me to make now, and I can't wait to make at our Tahoe Cabin this winter, and when it's snowing!! Perrianna

Anna Perri

    Love imagining it as a Tahoe Tortilla soup!

    Heidi Swanson

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 !


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!


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

Magpie Ima

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.


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


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.


Beautiful! I never miss a recipe on your blog


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

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


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

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


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.


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 :) Cheers, Cathy

Cathy C

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


This looks divine!

Ashely Schultz

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

Goodness, this looks delicious!!


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!


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!


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


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.


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

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 can't wait to try this, it looks gorgeous! Thanks for the inspiration.


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


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


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)

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!


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!


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


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