Tortilla Soup topped with avocado, cotija cheese and thin tortilla strips | @tasteLUVnourish

February 5, 2013 | 14 Comments
Tortilla Soup

I’m not sure which part of this soup is the best part, the soup itself or the toppings. I don’t think either could shine as brightly alone. This soup is spicy, smokey and flavorful, but when topped with the richness of avocado, saltiness of Cotija cheese, freshness from lime and cilantro and crunch of the tortillas…it’s like an explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth that all compliment each other.

This tortilla soup is so hearty and satisfying. It’s a perfect dinner that you can make ahead of time, then just top off before serving. You can add shredded chicken or just keep it vegan. Either way, it’s really delicious. I can attest to that. See the second bowl of soup in the background? Yeah, I ate both of them!

Tortilla Soup topped with avocado, cotija cheese and thin tortilla strips | @tasteLUVnourish

Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspooon cumin
1/4 teaspooon fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo (see note)
1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped, seeds and veins removed
8 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
29 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 – 8 corn tortillas, sliced in about 1/2″ wide strips
handful of freshly chopped cilantro or parsley
shredded cooked chicken (if using)

1 corn tortilla, sliced into fine strips
vegetable oil spray (I use a Misto)
dash of salt
1 – 2 large avocados, diced
1/2 cup crumbled Cotija Cheese or vegan cheese shreds
1 lime, for squeezing a bit and zesting
the other half of the jalapeño pepper if you’d like more heat

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion,
celery and carrots. Sauté until the onions have softened, then add the garlic. Cook for a minute then add the cumin and thyme. Stir for a second until fragrant, then add the chipotle and jalapeño. Cook one more minute then add the broth and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Add the black beans and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Just before serving, add the tortilla strips and the handful of cilantro or parsley, give it a stir and removed the pot from the heat. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you prepare the toppings.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the tortilla that you cut into fine strips on a baking sheet and spray with the vegetable oil spray and a dash of salt. Toss to coat and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until just golden and crisp.

To serve the soup, put some of the shredded chicken (if using) at the bottom of the bowl, ladle the soup over the chicken, top with the avocado cubes, a squeeze of lime, the Cotija crumbles, some crunchy strips of tortilla then add a bit of lime zest and more cilantro or parsley if desired.

Tortilla Soup topped with avocado, cotija cheese and thin tortilla strips | @tasteLUVnourish


  • For the chipotle in adobo, I buy a 7 ounce can, then using a blender, processor or hand blender, I puree the whole can. Use just what you need, one tablespoon in this case, then store the rest in a labeled sandwich size zipper bag in the freezer. Try to spread it out thinly in the bag so it’s easy to just break some off next time you need it.
  • I know I’ve said this before, but jalapeños can be unpredictable. Start with a small amount in the soup and work your way to your degree of spiciness. I love heat, but between the chipotle and the jalapeño, this soup can get pretty hot!
  • If you’ve made your own chicken broth, just use the shredded chicken from that for this soup. It’s awesome!
  • Cotija Cheese is a hard white cheese made of cow’s milk. It crumbles really well. It is not huge on flavor, but it adds a nice bit of saltiness to this. It is primarily used as a topping.
  • Tortilla Soup topped with avocado, cotija cheese and thin tortilla strips | @tasteLUVnourish

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14 thoughts on “Tortilla Soup

  1. Claudia

    We make this soup time and time again, and it is THE favorite of the entire family. Thank you for such a gem of a recipe.

  2. Liezl

    O-M-G!!! I’m a tortilla soup fanatic. I just made this soup for the first time and it’s incredible!!! I followed the instructions to the T and it came out great! I have never cooked soup before, but I will definitely be making this again. I also liked the comment about the jalapeno- I wasn’t sure how spicy it would be with the chipotle, so I only used half a jalapeno. It had enough spice and kick. I want to have this all week long!!! Thank you so much!!

    1. Caroline

      Liezl…you put the hugest smile on my face just now! I could not be happier to hear you liked it so much. I have to say, I make this soup a lot. I love it! I’m so glad you didn’t use the whole jalapeño! It’s always best to add spicy peppers in small amounts at first, then test. You can always add more. Thank you SO much for being so kind and taking the time to let me know! :)

  3. Cathy Rovner

    Hi Caroline!
    I just made this soup and it was delicious! Dave and I really enjoyed it and will definitely make it again.

    How are you and your family?

    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!


    Ps – great website!

    1. Caroline

      Cathy, This is the ultimate compliment for me! I love to hear it when someone has cooked one of my recipes! I’m so happy you liked it! We are all doing really well. I really miss you! Let’s try to meet up! Love to you all!

  4. Autism United

    Soups are definitely in season, winter is still in full force and today they are predicting yet another dump of snow. Here I am researching some soup recipes to go and grab ingredients for the prediction of being snowed in for a couple of days. Thanks for your tortilla soup recipe, kids I bet will love it.

    1. Caroline

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I agree with you, I think most kids will love this soup. I know mine do! You might want to start by adding less chipotle and less jalapeño and check the spiciness before adding all of it. My kids love spicy food, but not all do. Let me know if you make it and how you liked it! Stay warm! :D


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