Traditionally, locros are thick, vegetable-based soups, served mostly during the cold months of the year in Ecuador. They are meant to be hearty and filling enough to stand as a whole meal. Be sure to seek out achiote paste, as there is no good substitute. Read more about the author's connection to this recipe in Soup—and Life—Lessons From My Grandma.

EatingWell Magazine, December / January 2021


Credit: Leigh Beisch

Recipe Summary

35 mins
55 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.

  • Place bell peppers on a baking sheet. Broil, turning every 5 minutes, until charred and softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop the peppers; set aside.

  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add achiote paste and 1 cup broth; cook, stirring and breaking up the achiote, until it's dissolved. Add potatoes and the remaining 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 15 to 18 minutes.

  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a regular blender (in batches, if necessary) until very smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)

  • Add the reserved peppers, milk, salt and pepper to the soup. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the soup topped with cheese, avocado and cilantro.


Tip: Achiote paste is made of annatto seeds and other spices mixed with garlic and bitter orange or vinegar. It can be found in most Latin American grocery stores as well as in many regular grocery stores and online. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

To make ahead: Refrigerate roasted peppers (Steps 1-2) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

1 1/2 cups
356 calories; fat 16g; cholesterol 28mg; sodium 506mg; carbohydrates 43g; dietary fiber 7g; protein 12g; sugars 7g; saturated fat 7g.