“Tortilla soup has a place, I feel, in practically every collection of Mexican recipes,” says Rick Bayless. This is a vegetarian version of the classic soup, usually made with chicken. Earthy dark pasilla chile flavors the soul-satisfying broth. (Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless.)

Rick Bayless
Source: EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016




Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Holding the chiles one at a time with metal tongs, quickly toast them by turning them an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until the aroma fills the kitchen. (Alternatively, toast chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing them flat for a few seconds then flipping them over and pressing again.)

  • When cool enough to handle, stem and seed the chiles, break them into pieces and put them in a blender along with tomatoes and their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won't completely puree the chiles.)

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 9 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and transfer to the blender with the tomato mixture. Process until smooth.

  • Return the pot to medium heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add broth, water and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil, then adjust heat to maintain a simmer.

  • Drain tofu, rinse and pat dry; cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook in a single layer, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes total. Add the tofu to the soup and simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Add chard (or spinach or kale) to the soup and season with salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the broth. Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes, depending on the type of greens.

  • Ladle the soup into 8 soup bowls. Divide avocado, tortilla chips and cheese (if using) among the bowls. Serve warm, with lime wedges.


Ingredient Notes: Pasilla chiles, sometimes called negro chiles, are medium-hot dried peppers with a flavor that defines tortilla soup in central Mexico. Find them and other dried chiles in the produce section of large supermarkets or online at melissas.com.

Epazote, an herb used in Mexican cooking, has a pungent, distinctive flavor unlike any other herb. Look for it fresh at farmers' markets or find it dried at Latin markets or online from melissas.com.

Nutrition Facts

209 calories; protein 6.6g 13% DV; carbohydrates 18g 6% DV; dietary fiber 4.7g 19% DV; sugars 3.9g; fat 13.5g 21% DV; saturated fat 1.7g 8% DV; cholesterolmg; vitamin a iu 2185.2IU 44% DV; vitamin c 16.8mg 28% DV; folate 38.7mcg 10% DV; calcium 157.3mg 16% DV; iron 2.2mg 12% DV; magnesium 46.3mg 17% DV; potassium 400mg 11% DV; sodium 350mg 14% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 8% DV.

Reviews (14)

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14 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 11
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Made this soup the other night and my husband loved it as much I do. I wasn't expecting much but he said "it tasted like enchiladas" and he's right. The base does taste like it. We froze our tofu and drained it first for a firmer texture but i don't think you have to do that in this soup recipe for a good result. I also used cilantro instead of epazote because i can't find it out here. I added a can of black beans because i was worried about it not being filling enough but I didn't need to add them because it was very filling. The beans taste good in the soup but I don't think i will add them next time because of that. Overall very quick and easy to make. Pros: Cons: Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Tweak it and it's the best soup you'll ever make I always read through the comments on recipes and in this case I'm sure glad I did. Here's what I did different (it sounds like a lot but really it's not): --28oz can fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the 14oz. Later when adding the rest of the liquid I did 4c veggie broth and 2c water. --while stirring the puree to thicken I added chipolte powder chili power cumin and salt (didn't measure just put some in) --once simmering added 1 can black beans and a bell pepper (next time I'll add corn too) Pros: Mexican flavors Cons: Time Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Good but needs a little something more I followed the recipe except for the epazote which I couldn't find anywhere. I substituted about a tablespoon of cilantro in place of it. It had decent flavor but needed something more as I found it very bland. Next time I would add at least one more chile another clove or two of garlic salt and probably some carrots and zucchini. Pros: Decent taste Cons: Bland takes a while to cook Read More
Rating: 5 stars
We loved this soup! I made a few adjustments and it was sort of something between a chili and a tortilla soup. it was great... here's what i changed: - used 2 ancho chilies instead of 3 -used a 28oz can of regular diced tomatoes instead of 15oz - couldn't find the epazote and didn't really know what it was. so i substituted it with a 1/4 tsp of chipotle pepper powder (for the smokiness that i was missing since i didn't use fire roasted peppers) and a 1/4 tsp of cumin because i thought it sounded good. -used a combination of red chard (stems and leaves) and spinach... I probably had at least 6 cups of greens. (I sauted the stems before adding them to the soup to soften them a little- but i didn't puree them) this soup was wonderful. the smokiness from the chipotle was wonderful. the soup was a little spicy but we really loved it. so healthy so filling. i might add some frozen corn next time for a little color. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Best Tortilla Soup Ever This made by far the best tortilla soup I've had. For reference I used 4 chiles instead of 3 and did not really bother to remove the seeds (mine weren't very hot). I didn't have any spinach on hand so I used a mix of carrots corn and peas. Most soups are versitile this way and it would still be great with spinach. Lastly I didn't have any tofu so I did add chicken instead. Again it would be good either way. This soup is really flexible and especially satisfying with the cheese avocado and tortilla chip toppings. The broth would be great applied to other soups or to augment your current chili recipe etc. Pros: Amazing Broth Base Cons: None Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Great taste and easy to modify I made some modifications based on what I had on hand and this a hit with my family. I used Chipotle chili powder instead of the chili mixture and pressed marinated (in lime juice & seasonings) and pan fried the tofu cut into smaller squares. What time I saved on the chilis I spent on the tofu but it was worth it. I added other vegetables reduced the amount of kale and used vegetable broth but also added concentrated vegetable bullion (Better than Bullion) and added lime juice to the soup rather than serving lime wedges with the soup. Pros: Delicious Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this soup last night and it has great flavor but needed a little something. I did not have tofu or epazote so I added black beans corn carrots and hot sauce (which gave it that extra little kick)! It was looking pretty thin so I omitted 2 cups of the water. I also added jalapeno cheese and light sour cream to my toppings. I would make this again but add more chiles the next time!! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious I had no tofu so used a can of mixed beans. Also used freshed corn tortillas instead of crushed chips. Really delicous and healthy would make this again in a second. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I substituted cooked chicken for the tofu. I really like the technique of combining chile stock using roasted dried peppers tomatoes and sauteed onion and garlic to make an authentic Mexican stock base. For me this makes the soup very special. I served the soup with sour cream and omitted the tortilla chips for a very low carb meal. This soup was a big hit with my husband. Read More