Recipes Lunch Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup


Plantbased Tortilla Soup (by Aaron Brunet)

I’ve had a few great tortilla soups in the last year, including one in an unexpectedly great mexican restaurant in a Singapore alleyway in the Arab quarter. The traditional version is made with chicken stock and often has cheese too, making this a perfect candidate for me to plant-ify. I love Mexican flavours, I love soup and I love tortillas, it’s a no-brainer. Ideally this would be made with a couple of pasilla or ancho (the name for dried poblano) chillies. They have a deep rich flavour, but they’re tricky to find in NZ check out kaitaiafire (or grow your own). I’ve used tinned chipotles as a substitute, plus charred the tomatoes and capsicum under the grill first to boost that smoky flavour. You can buy vegetable stock or make it yourself: use a chopped large onion and carrot, the top halves and scraps of half a dozen celery sticks, and any leaves of kale and silverbeet looking sad in the fridge. If fresh corn is available you can also cut the kernels off to use in the soup and put the cobs in the stock pot for extra flavour. Simmer everything in a big pot for 30 minutes with 1.5 litres water then strain before use.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15  mins
Cook time:  20 mins

Cut the capsicum and chilli in half, prick the tomatoes with a knife then lay on a baking tray with the corn kernels and grill under a very hot grill for 15 minutes, turning once or twice as the tops get charred.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in olive oil in a pot on medium heat for 5 minutes till translucent but not browned, then add the garlic, cumin and oregano and cook for another minute. Add the vege stock, black beans, tomato puree, chipotle, salt, and the charred corn from under the grill.

Take half of this mixture and blend with all of the charred capsicum, chilli and tomatoes (this gives a lovely smooth texture). Add back to the rest of the soup and simmer for 15 minutes. If you do have dried pasilla or ancho chillis you can re-hydrate these in the stock for 10 minutes first and blend them up too.

To serve, break a small handful of tortilla chips into a bowl then ladle soup over the top. Top with chopped avocado, a drizzle of good olive oil and chopped coriander.


  • 250g sweet tomatoes
  • 1 large green capsicum
  • 1 mild green chilli
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn kernels (fresh if available)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seed, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans in their juice
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or sieved passata)
  • 1 – 2 chipotle chillies (tinned), finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • a handful of corn tortilla chips
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped, to serve
  • fresh coriander to serve
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