Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

vegetarian tortilla soup (1)

Growing up, I used to spend hours watching the Food Network. Some of my favorites were Giada De Laurentiis, Rachel Ray, and Ina Garten. I would sit there in front of the t.v. like a sponge absorbing everything they said and keeping their flavor combinations in mind. Very seldom would my mom ever follow their recipes but there is one I remember and still think about and that was Rachel Ray’s chicken tortilla soup. What stood out to my mom and myself about her chicken tortilla soup was the use of chorizo in the base of the soup. It looked so good and as we sat there salivating for the remainder of the show, we decided to give the recipe a shot. Let me just say that was the best chicken tortilla soup I had ever had. Fast forward to now and obviously, I realize that a vast majority of the recipes Rachel Ray and for that matter, any other Food Network chef made weren’t very healthy. Naturally, I decided to make it my mission to lighten it up a bit and so about a few months ago I had one of my good friends over and I made my version of the chicken tortilla soup and he absolutely loved it. Instead of utilizing regular pork chorizo which is high in saturated fat, and cholesterol I swapped it for soy chorizo. In addition, I also added in black beans for extra fiber and protein.

Although my version of the chicken tortilla soup was a huge hit, I got to thinking if I could make a vegetarian version that would be just as delicious. Now, if you wanted to still make this a chicken tortilla soup, all you need to do is swap out 1 cup of beans and 1 cup of quinoa for shredded chicken (total of 2 cups). After lots of tasting and tweaking, I found a winner and man is it satisfying. Today I will be sharing with you my recipe for my vegetarian tortilla soup.  In order to create a soup that would be hearty and feeling just like traditional chicken tortilla soup, I decided to use quinoa because as I have mentioned many times before, quinoa is one of the only plant-based options that is considered a complete source of protein. Quinoa is a grain that contains all nine of the essential amino acids we must obtain from our diet which is why I decided to use it in place of the chicken. Quinoa is also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals so it’s a great way to boost this soup. In addition, I also added in some extra veggies for an extra serving of fiber.

This recipe is so easy and comes together in a total of 30 minutes as it is just a matter of dumping things into a pot and allowing them to simmer together. The longer it sits for, the better it tastes as it gives the flavors a chance to combine. Now let’s get into all that you will need to make this dish.



◊Makes 6-8 servings

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (you can also use my Mexican quinoa in the dish)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 4 cups chicken broth ( I used this vegetarian no-chicken base broth)
  • 3 oz. soy chorizo
  • 4 oz. El Pato sauce (yellow can)
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno diced (for less spice remove the seeds)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 2 small limes
  • juice of 1 lime (or 2 small)

optional toppings: 

  • tortilla chips/tostadas
  • lime
  • shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • green onions
  • cilantro


  1. Add 1/4 cup broth & soy chorizo into a heated pot and stir until the soy chorizo combines equally with the broth.
  2. Add the onion, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, & jalapeno. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the tomatoes have released some juice and the onion & bell pepper have softened slightly.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients MINUS the corn, mix to combine, and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. During the last 2-3 minutes add in the corn.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving and you’re ready to go!

If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag @lifeatthemesa so we can see how it turned out for you! As always, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and I look forward to sharing my next recipe with you all!

7 thoughts on “Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

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