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!

This is the most delicious Tortilla Soup recipe! Spicy, with complex flavors and topped with avocado, cotija cheese and thin crisp tortilla strips. | @tasteLUVnourish

 

Tortilla Soup
Serves: 6 to 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspooon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspooon fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo (see Notes)
  • ½ 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 ½" wide strips
  • handful of freshly chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • shredded cooked chicken (if using)
  • Toppings
  • 1 corn tortilla, sliced into fine strips
  • olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1 - 2 large avocados, diced
  • ½ 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
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion,
  2. 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.
  3. Add the black beans and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the tortilla that you cut into fine strips on a baking sheet, brush with some olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Toss to coat and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until just golden and crisp.
  6. 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.
Notes
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.

Jalapeños can be unpredictable as far as their heat. Start with a small amount in the soup and work your way to your degree of spiciness.

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

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