Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This cheesy vegetarian tortilla soup recipe is rich and creamy with tons of spicy flavor. This is a perfect side dish for tacos or enchiladas—and it only takes a few minutes to prepare!
There’s a restaurant chain in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, called Max and Erma’s. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary with burgers and salads and a hot fudge sundae bar. But I remember going to Max and Erma’s in high school and loving their chicken tortilla soup (this was just before I became a vegetarian!). It was creamy and spicy with plenty of cheesy flavors. I started thinking about this soup a few weeks ago, and I realized it couldn’t be that hard to make a vegetarian version!
I love the way the tortillas help thicken the soup and make it feel really hearty. This is a great soup for a chilly day! I used diced tomatoes with green chilies and cayenne pepper to give this soup a spicy kick. But if you prefer more mild flavors, you can use plain diced tomatoes and/or skip the cayenne pepper/
How to Make Tortilla Soup
Tips for Making Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- Be sure to dice the corn tortillas into small pieces, about 1/2″ square. This gives the soup lots of texture.
- Use freshly shredded cheddar cheese from a block, rather than pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese contains anti-caking agents, which can prevent it from melting smoothly.
- This soup is spicy. To tame the heat, skip the cayenne pepper or reduce the amount to 1/4 teaspoon.
How to Store Leftovers
This soup will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, stirring frequently. Do not try to freeze this soup. Dairy-based soups tend to separate when frozen and the texture won’t be the same.
- Cornstarch helps thicken the soup, but if you don’t want to use cornstarch, you can substitute an equal amount of arrowroot powder instead.
- I used sharp cheddar cheese, but you can also try a combination of different cheeses. Try 6oz of cheddar and 2oz of pepper jack cheese for an even spicier flavor.
- For a more mild flavor, use regular diced tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
Have fun with topping ideas! Here are some of our favorites:
- Sour cream
- Fresh cilantro
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Crispy chickpeas
This cheesy vegetarian tortilla soup is rich and creamy with tons of spicy flavor. This is a perfect side dish for tacos or enchiladas—and it only takes a few minutes to prepare!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 corn tortillas, diced
- 1 10oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
- 1/4 teaspoons oregano
- Salt to taste
- Tortilla chips and avocado for topping
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
- Whisk the cornstarch into the vegetable broth and then add the broth mixture to the pot.
- Increase the heat to medium and add the cheddar cheese, tortillas, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, and oregano.
- Bring to a simmer and continue to cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Divide into bowls and top with additional tortilla chips and chopped avocado.
Keywords: cheesy tortilla soup
More Soup Recipes
This soup is very rich, so I would recommend serving it as a side dish rather than the main dish. Try it with this easy Quinoa Taco Skillet, or pair it with a Tempeh Taco Salad for a lighter, protein-packed meal.