• by Marilyn Garcia

Easy to make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Tasty and Healthy!

A soup made with ethnic ingredients! It's origin... Mexico City? The home of the tortilla soup is still a big question for all curious culinary enthusiasts. Although lack in history trace indicates it is originated in the Southwest(in around 1960s), it's certainly not from all over Mexico but it's commonly believed it's around Mexico City.

There are so many recipes for tortilla soup out there! Some add chile paste, chicken and sour cream, others lettuce, green chile, or chipotle.... and many other recipe ingredients. I chose not to add chicken in my soup because I feel that the combination of flavours of the ingredients without meat are already perfect and adding meat distracts the palate from its exquisite flavour . The original recipe serves the soup with radish slices, but I've replace them with Chioggia beets because the soup has a very strong flavour and radishes too. However, Chioggia's taste fits perfectly because of it's touch of sweetness which allows the flavour of the soup to stand out. Canned tomatoes are okay, but if you want to have the whole aztec soup experience, I recommend you to get some fresh tomatoes and roast them yourself.

"To be really authentic, the soup should have only a little white onion, raw not cooked, blended with roasted tomato," says Diana Kennedy, speaking from her home in the state of Michoacan.

The reason why I chose to make this soup is because my mother and I always wanted to make it. We went to a Mexican restaurant and ordered the soup and since then we were intrigued to get a good recipe. For some reason we never ended doing the soup.

So Here's my version of tortilla soup:

Ingredient List:

8 corn tortillas

32 ounces Vegetable Stock

14 ounce can hominy

14 ounce can crushed tomatoes

14 ounce black beans

1 Onion

2-4 Chioggia beets

1 Avocado

2. Feta cheese

1 Jalapeño for medium spicy ( 2 for spicy)

1 Pasilla chilli pepper (Poblano pepper, dried smoked chilli pepper)

2 cloves of garlic

Salt, cummin

Olive Oil

For Garnish:

1 handful cilantro leaves


Ingredient Preparation

Cut your onion into dices

Cut the tortillas into approx 1/2 inch wide and 2 inch long strips

Slice chioggia beets into very thin rounds

Chopped cilantro leaves

Cut avocado into medium dice avocado

Slice lime into small wedges

Chop Jalapeño (take out seeds first)

Preparation Method:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a tray, coat a Parshment sheet with a little bit of oil and toss the tortillas. Make sure to bake your tortilla strips in a single layer or add evenly a bit of olive oil. Bake 6 minutes ( you will know they are ready when they get a golden brown colour tone) Season the strips with salt when they get warm.

3. Cut chilli pepper in half and remove seeds. Toast pasilla chilli pepper in a pan for approx. 1 minute.When done, take out the chilli pepper and cut it into medium dices

Warning: Wash your hands with soap once you finish cutting. Don't touch your face after cutting the chilli pepper, specially your eyes!

4. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a medium pot. Add dried chilli pepper, garlic, diced onion, jalapeño and chilli pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes and stir occasionally.

*InMexico, they crush toasted chile pods over the soup than adding it on the base.

5. Add vegetable stock, cumin and canned tomatoes. Simmer for about 3 minutes and add black beans and Hominy .Cook for 8 to 10 min (or until slightly thickened) stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally take out dried chilli pepper.

5. Add vegetable stock, cumin and canned tomatoes. Simmer for about 3 minutes and add black beans and hominy .

Cook for 8 to 10 min (or until slightly thickened) stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally take out dried chilli pepper.

* Tip: If you want a smoother soup, try blending your soup before adding black beans and hominy.

Serving the soup:

At the bottom of the bowls put some feta cheese, avocado, chioggia and tortilla strips (leave some of this ingredients to serve as toppings).Serve the soup and top it with the remaining ingredients from the bottom and baked crunchy tortilla strips. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges.You can either serve this soup as a savoury side dish or serve it as the main meal.

photo by: Adellys Gonzales

Other people tasting the soup : My Venezuelan friends tried the soup and they said it was a strong flavour and "so Mexican", they also said the amount of "spicy" was perfect. My friend Camila, she is vegetarian and loved the soup, but what she liked the most was the flavour of the Chioggia beets within the other toppings. We were so excited to taste the soup that I completely forgot to take a proper picture of the final dish!!

Sensor Evaluation:The amount of chilli pepper is one of the most important things to watch for, you don't want to add more or less than the quantity required since it's a strong flavour that can distract the taste of the rest of the ingredients. For a deep flavour it is important the freshness of the ingredients, specially in tomatoes and feta cheese.

Thank you for visiting, keep cooking!

Here are some photos taken by my friend Adellys Gonzales

St.Lawrence Market is a good place to collect your fresh ingredients!

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