Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

Three soup posts in a row!? It’s that time of year I guess. Plus, I freaking love making soups and stews. So yes, three soup posts in a row. This soup recipe for Black Bean Tortilla Soup is one that I’ve cooked for clients a number of times. I love it so much, that I made it for Christmas Eve dinner this year.

Side note: while Tortilla Soup on Christmas may sound strange, we use Christmas Eve as a time to spend with just our immediate family, and we love getting creative with the dinner. Think non-traditional and totally over-the-top. We’ve done pizza on the grill, a raclette party, and now, tortilla soup.

This soup has a creamy tomato base that’s rich and indulgent (even though I only use a 1/3 cup of cream for the whole pot). While it may not be traditional, I add black beans and corn to this tortilla soup for some texture, protein and fiber. Also, for this tortilla soup, I recommend adding lots of toppings (that’s the fun part!). On Christmas Eve, I went all out with freshly fried tortilla strips, jack cheese, smashed avocado, pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, yogurt, lime wedges, rice and shredded cabbage. However, on a normal day, I can’t even pretend to have time for all of that. So I also recommend buying some organic tortilla chips, shred up some cheese, slice an avocado and call it day. Either way, you’re going to love this one.

This is also a great soup for entertaining. The base is gluten-free and vegetarian (or even vegan if you replace the cream with cashew cream or coconut milk, or just leave out entirely). Then, with all the topping options, it becomes an interactive, fun and crowd pleasing meal that your friends will love. You can even add meat-eater topping choices like diced chicken or sliced skirt steak. Keep the soup warm on the stove or in a crockpot, and let the good times roll all night long.

And finally, one last thought. I’d like to dedicate this recipe to my mom. She’s been asking for it since Christmas Eve and I’ve kept her waiting for far too long. She needs it for when her extended family come in town for a visit. See?? Perfect for entertaining and crowd-pleasing. Anyway, love ya, mom!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
Serves: 4-6 Start to Finish: 1 hour


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, ribs & seeds removed, finely diced
sea salt, fine grain
1 medium jalapeño, seeds & ribs removed, minced (keep ribs & seeds for more spice!)
5 medium cloves garlic, peeled & minced
2 tbs tomato paste or 1 tbs double-concentrate tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes (I prefer an organic, fire-roasted variety)
1 4-oz can mild green chilies (optional, add a layer of flavor but the soup is still delish without it)
4 cups vegetable broth/stock (low-sodium variety preferred)
1 cup salsa verde (see instructions below for homemade or use store-bought)
2 ears corn, kernels cut off (or 1 14-oz can of corn, drained, or about 1.25 cups frozen corn kernels)
2.5 cups cooked black beans (either dry beans soaked and cooked or 2 14-oz cans drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup heavy creamy (for vegan, add 1/2 cup cashew cream, 1/2 cup coconut milk or omit completely)

Toppings of Choice
fried tortilla strips or tortilla chips
shredded cheese (jack, pepper jack, cheddar, etc.)
lime wedges
pickled red onions
fresh cilantro
shredded cabbage
avocado or guacamole

To Make

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Sauté vegetables until moisture is released and almost completely evaporated (5-8 minutes).

Add jalapeño and garlic. Sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add cumin, chili powder, paprika and garlic powder. Stir to combine completely and cook for about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, green chilies (if using), vegetable broth/stock, salsa verde, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add corn and black beans. Adjust salt to taste. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes. Slowly stir in heavy cream (if using). Simmer partially covered for another 10 minutes. Serve hot with toppings of choice.

Easy Homemade Salsa Verde
Yield: approx. 1 cup


3/4 lb tomatillos, rinse after removing papery skins
2 cloves garlic, crushed, skins removed
1 medium jalapeño, sliced in half, ribs & seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt, fine grain
fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves (tightly packed)

To Make

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut large tomatillos in half, keep small ones whole. Toss tomatillos, crushed garlic cloves and jalapeño halves with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Transfer to a foil lined sheet tray. Bend the edges of the foil so that the juices are contained while cooking.

Roast in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Toss. Roast for another 15 minutes or until tomatillos are slightly charred and juices have released. Transfer tomatillo mixture (including juices) and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a blender, small food processor or hand blender vessel. Blend until smooth. Add cilantro leaves, blend until smooth. Season with lime juice (1/2 of a lime is a good start) and additional salt to taste.

4 thoughts on “Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans

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