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Tacos are my favorite food, so when my friend Amanda convinced me to make a vegetarian tortilla soup, I had to dive right in! Between the spice blend, the slight kick from the peppers, and the freedom to top how I choose, I was hooked at first bite. Hope you enjoy this healthy tortilla soup recipe that will bring the whole family to the table.

vegetarian tortilla soup topped with corn, jalapeños, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.

My body feels better when I limit gluten so I love when I find a naturally gluten-free dinner that my whole family will eat without complaining. This soup is filling and tasty!

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients in Healthy Tortilla Soup
  2. Recipe Swaps
  3. Tips for the Best Soup
  4. Soup Toppings
  5. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup FAQs
  6. Batch Cooking Soup
  7. More Soup Recipes
  8. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Recipe

Ingredients in Healthy Tortilla Soup

This creamy soup is made with a rainbow of ingredients, my favorite kind of meal! Let’s highlight a few of these rawesome ingredients:

ingredients for vegetarian tortilla soup recipe including yellow onion, cilantro, bell pepper, spices, tortilla soup, tomatoes and vegetable stock.
  • Avocado oil: Healthy fats can easily be added to soups when using them to sauté veggies. Avocado or olive oil are great choices for this recipe.
  • Tortilla chips: Since this tortilla soup is vegan, the tortilla chips have a unique purpose. They are actually softened in the soup, then blended all together to become a delightfully creamy meal. You can also use them as a crunchy topping when serving.
  • Yellow onion: I love the pop of flavor in yellow onions and use them in most of my cooking.
  • Poblano + Jalapeño peppers: I use one of each in this healthy tortilla soup recipe because poblanos bring just a bit of heat but an earthy, smoky flavor while jalapeños do pack a spicy punch. If you are sensitive to spice then omit the jalapeño altogether.
  • Vegetable stock: Once I learned how to save my vegetable scraps and turn them into homemade stock, I no longer buy it from the store. If using store-bought, make sure it doesn’t have any additives and check the amount of sodium.
  • Cilantro: Fresh herbs are naturally medicinal as well as provide excellent flavors. If cilantro isn’t your favorite herb then swap it with parsley.
  • Bay leaves: These unique leaves add a lovely floral and thyme flavor to foods, yet you don’t eat them. Just toss in 1-2 leaves to a soup pot then remove before serving (or in this case, remove before blending).

Recipe Swaps

Soup is so easy to customize! If onions aren’t your thing, then swap the onion out for 1 cup of leeks. If you don’t want any spicy peppers, swap the 2 peppers out for 1/2 red or orange bell pepper.

You can also cut back on the spices as you taste test, to find the perfect amount of spice for you. I roll with the spice train, so I often add a bit more than this vegetarian tortilla soup recipe recommends, yet you can add less too!

If you don’t want the corn tortilla chips or need to cut back on the sodium they bring, opt for a salt-free chip, or a good plantain chip. Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of plantain chips that I’ve been working through, and they’re all good!

Tips for the Best Soup

As I mentioned above, the tortilla chips help turn this vegetable soup into a creamy dish. Don’t forget to add them during the cooking stage so they can soften before blending.

steps on how to make healthy tortilla soup including sautéing vegetables and spices in a blue stock pot.

The spices in this recipe come alive even more if you make it ahead of time and let sit in the fridge overnight. Your tastebuds will thank you!

I find this to be a filling recipe, yet it is a bit light on the protein. That is easily remedied by adding rinsed, cooked black beans or cashew cream when serving.

Sautéing the onion, garlic and peppers before adding in the spices and stock also produces a tastier result. Don’t skip this quick step!

stirring ingredients like tomatoes, vegetable stock and tortilla chips into a blue stock pot.

Soup Toppings

One reason soup makes a great family meal is that it’s super easy to customize with toppings. If you’ve got a kid who needs cheese on everything, then use this soup as the base and let ’em go wild! This soup is perfect for the chip lover too, just grab your favorite chips and dip away. Here are some recommended toppings for my vegetarian tortilla soup recipe:

  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Diced jalepeños or another spicy pepper
  • Cashew cream
  • Crumbled tortilla chips or plantain chips
  • Cilantro
  • Hot sauce
  • Diced avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Cooked, drained black beans

Really, the possibilities are endless. If you like it on your tacos then you’ll probably like it in this healthy tortilla soup.

healthy tortilla soup recipe with bowls of toppings surrounding it.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup FAQs

How do you make vegan tortilla soup?

My recipe uses tortilla chips to cream up the recipe in a dairy-free way. I also top with cashew cream, a delightful substitute for sour cream.

How do you thicken tortilla soup?

I love a creamy soup, and this one is no different. After sautéing the vegetables and simmering on the stove with tortilla chips, I use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the soup pot. The tortilla chips help thicken the soup nicely, without having to add any dairy products.

What are the best toppings for tortilla soup?

Depending on whether you like your soup spicy or on the sweeter side, there are a variety of great toppings for this soup. I use fresh chopped jalapeños, sweet corn, cashew cream, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

delicious vegan soup in a white bowl with tortilla chips, fresh jalapeños, avocados, corn and cilantro on top.

Batch Cooking Soup

Because soup often takes a lot of ingredients and time to make, I almost always make extra. I then freeze the leftovers in single-serving containers (usually wide-mouth mason jars). This way, I can easily grab a nutritious, hot lunch in the days and weeks to come.

Depending on your family size, double or triple this tortilla soup recipe. Your future self will thank you for the pre-prepped meal!

More Soup Recipes

I love soup, and chilly nights have me whipping up loads of different recipes. Soup doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t need meat to be flavorful! Here are my top soup recipes:

Seriously, it’s hard for me to find a soup I don’t love. What is your favorite soup recipe? I’d love for you to leave a comment to let me know. Don’t forget to rate this fun vegetarian tortilla soup recipe after you’ve tried it!

4.52 from 132 votes

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Dive into this warmly spiced vegetarian tortilla soup made with whole food ingredients. It's so delicious. I dare you to have just one serving!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired, Plant-Based
Serves: 6 servings


  • stove
  • immersion blender


  • 2 cups tortilla chips
  • 2 tbsps avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 poblano pepper diced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsps cumin ground
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes canned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsps cilantro
  • 2 ½ tsps sea salt
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  • In a large stock pot, heat two tablespoons of oil to medium/low. Add the onion, garlic, poblano pepper and jalapeño pepper and cook for five minutes. After five minutes, add spices and cook for another five.
  • Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, and  1/4 of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes then remove bay leaves.
  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender. If you want your soup to be thicker, you can always add more tortilla strips. And then you're ready to serve! I usually serve the soup with lime, corn, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, avocado and the remaining tortilla.


  • You can also use a regular blender, and carefully puree in batches.
  • Serve with the toppings of your choice.
  • To tone down the spice, omit the jalapeño.
  • Make a day ahead for an even better flavor.
  • Cool completely then freeze in mason jars to enjoy in the weeks to come.


Calories: 282kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2092mg, Potassium: 426mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 910IU, Vitamin C: 34mg, Calcium: 126mg, Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

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  1. 5 stars
    This tortilla soup recipe was delicious! One of my favorite recipes during a Vitamix demo years ago was tortilla soup. This recipe is obviously more involved than that introductory flavor bomb. It’s amazing. I’m so happy to experience this ten day soup challenge. I’m feeling the healthy outcome!

  2. 5 stars
    I added black beans and corn also….we like it a bit chunky. So good….the spices were just right for my husband. Another keeper. Thanks!

  3. 3 stars
    After yesterday’s spicy soup. This made the soup seem smooth. This is very spicy I had to swap the cilantro for parsley and we are not fan’s of tortilla chips. I wound up making ditalini and scraping the chips. This was a little too much work and swapping on the fly. My husband whined about his mouth burning half the night. Hey, he didn’t have to eat it. No this will not stay in my repertoire. Although my may like it, it didn’t fit our tastes.

  4. 5 stars
    I love the flavor of this soup! I added black beans and corn to the soup and only blended half of it so it would be chunky. I would definitely make it again.

    1. 5 stars
      Love the idea of adding corn to this soup! That would also cut some of the heat the others have mentioned,

  5. 4 stars
    I’m glad so many are loving this soup. It wasn’t one of my favorites as I have the most whimpy mouth I know of on the spice scale. Our caregiver, however, thot it was great!

  6. 5 stars
    So delicious. Pretty spicy with what I added 🙂 Nice dark color. Thanks for the tip on adding the cashew cream. Helped tone it down. So so good!

  7. 4 stars
    This is a good soup but according to my daughter “a little too spicy for a comfort food.” We didn’t even add the peppers.

  8. 4 stars
    Great Soup Totally enjoyed it. I used sweet potato crackers, could not tell they were in it. Toned down spicy. Like mild soups, want to flavor everything not the spice. Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    Not a hot person. So really decrease the jalapeño and poblano peppers. Added black beans to increase protein aspects.

  10. 4 stars
    My husband thought it tasted great but it was too spicy for me. That can be easily remedied. I also thought four cans of coconut milk was too much so I substituted some almond milk. Overall a tasty soup

  11. 5 stars
    This was super tasty!! We did add chicken breast for some extra protein. We poached it as the soup simmered for 30 minutes, letting the chicken pick up some of the flavors of the soup. We pulled the chicken out to purée the soup. After shredding the chicken, we added it back to the soup. Delicious!!

  12. 5 stars
    Very good soup. Easy to prepare and well worth the time. I did add a little extra “flavor”, jalapeno, to the soup just to up unctuousness.
    I will make this soup every week.

  13. 5 stars
    This is my favorite soup of the challenge so far. It was so quick and easy to put together! It’s also very forgiving if you need to make substitutions. I wasn’t able to buy single poblano or jalapeno peppers so I substituted half an orange bell pepper for the poblano and some jalapeno pepper slices from a jar. It was perfect! Just the right amount of heat. I felt like 1 cup of corn wasn’t enough so I doubled that.

    We topped it with some fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, diced avocado, a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of cashew cream.

    It was a flavor explosion in my mouth. Husband loved it and had seconds!!! This is going to be a regular in our house. 🙂

  14. 4 stars
    Pretty good. I never thought to blend tortillas into the soup! Fresh corn from the farm and some avocado…good!

  15. 5 stars
    This might be my favorite soup from the soup challenge! It’s got such a robust flavor! I love the heat! It’s there but not overwhelming. I cooked this last night. It tasted really good last night, but letting the flavors sit for a day made it even better! And It is quite filling! I added cashew cream to up the protein. I would definitely make this one again. Maybe next time, dip plantain chips into it. Yum!