Tortilla Soup | Food Loves Writing

Of all the reasons for blogging, there’s no contest, the greatest fringe benefit is the people, this amazing community of thoughtful individuals who are interested in other people’s stories and find enjoyment in good food (and sometimes even become real-life friends, inviting us into their homes). Does it get old to hear we’re so thankful for each of you out there? Because we are. We’re so inspired by other bloggers, and we’re so blessed by those of you who read here. In fact, just as we get to know certain bloggers by following their sites, we’ve found we get to know certain readers by their consistent comments—we start to remember so-and-so as the one who likes gluten-free recipes or the one who always has something encouraging to say. One such reader is the ever kind and supportive Marie Matter of the Little Kitchie blog, who inspired today’s recipe for creamy, comforting tortilla soup so good, I had tears in my eyes while I ate it yesterday, and not just because of the kick of cayenne.

Tortilla Soup |

So Marie is one of those sweet readers who, like many of you, has left enough meaningful comments here that we’ve started to think of her as part of our regular online community. She and I are connected on Google+ (which, yes, I know, is yet another social network in this tempestuous sea of ever-increasing social networks, but, listen, have you read Irvin Lin’s post on Google+ from last year? Or do you know about the implications of Google authorship? It kind of blows my mind). So when Marie linked to her version of Neiman Marcus’s tortilla soup, which she describes as not your “normal brothy tortilla soup” but “ultra-thick (like the texture of a chowder) because it’s thickened with corn tortillas,” I was so in—especially when I looked at the ingredients list and realized I had basically everything it called for on hand.

Tortilla Soup |

As if Marie’s description and these photos weren’t enough to send you straight to the kitchen, let me also add this: when Tim and I ate bowls of this yesterday afternoon, we couldn’t stop saying out loud over and over again how perfectly good it was, exactly the chowder-like consistency Marie described, hot and spicy and flavorful and right. When we were done, I just sat there, looking at my empty bowl, thinking how wonderfully satisfying and comforting a creamy bowl of soup could be for a girl, and how, in the way that it fills you up and makes you warm inside, it can also be just the tool to point your heart towards thanks and joy. I truly feel so thankful when I think about this meal, which is exactly how we feel when we think of you—and the many moments like these you and your words have brought (and bring!) to our lives. Thank you.

Creamy, Comforting Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Marie’s version at Little Kitchie, which was adapted from Neiman Marcus
Makes four servings (which, in our house, serves two)

There’s this taco place in Nashville, Mas Tacos, which has daily specials like fried avocado tacos or quinoa and sweet potato tacos, and which makes a chicken tortilla soup that is one of my favorite soups anywhere, ever. While that version has a thinner broth and crisp tortilla strips and this version has a thick broth and softened tortilla pieces, I think I’m noticing a trend. Tortillas in soup = always a good thing.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a couple hefty dashes of cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 cup organic strained tomatoes (the kind we buy)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
4 sprouted corn tortillas, or some other version, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup raw, grass-fed whole goat milk (optional. can be left out completely or swapped with whatever milk you like)
2 avocados, diced (place 1/2 avocado on each bowl)
Shredded cheese, to taste (we used sheep’s milk Pecorino we had on hand)

In a large pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add the diced onion and red pepper, and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic cloves and spices (cumin, salt, chili powder, oregano, cayenne) and saute another few minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth and water; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add torn tortilla pieces.

Let soup cook and reduce for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the milk if desired and adjust seasonings to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and top with avocado (about half an avocado on each bowl) and shredded cheese.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Kathryn

    I do love the way that blogging works – that you read a post that someone wrote about a soup they made after a recipe they read and then made the soup yourself and wrote a post about it. And now I’m reading this post and thinking that I really should go home tonight and make a big batch of this soup. It’s an endless cycle of really delicious food!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Exactly! I love the way you wrote that.

  2. Julie

    I LOVE the blogging community! In fact, I met my best friend through blogging…the first time we met “in real life” was when she flew to Wisconsin for my wedding!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I love that, Julie! Tim and I met through blogging, too, so I know just what you mean. : )

  3. Vicki

    That’s a great idea to put corn tortillas pieces into the soup rather than strips on top. Tonight I’m actually making turkey tortilla soup for dinner and will keep this tip in mind. Even though I’m still old fashioned with my binder of magazine clippings with recipes to try, I Pinned this soup recipe and your oven fries recipe (and made the latter the cover for my board Tasty Eats). Heck, thanks to you I was on Pinterest months before it became cool a year ago.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Aw, thanks, Vicki!

  4. Laura

    So excited to check out Little Kitchie now! The blogging community’s greatness strikes again!

    I’ve been dying to make tortilla soup lately and when you ‘gramed the photo yesterday, I got so stoked. Can’t wait to make this on the weekend :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I am definitely going to start using the term ‘gramed from now on. : )

  5. Jenny Muth

    My husband is going to love this. I will too – can’t wait to try it this weekend! Thanks!!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      You’re so welcome! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  6. Little Kitchie

    Shanna, thank you so much for the mention here!! I am so, so happy you guys enjoyed the soup! The avocado and pecorino (one of my faves) on top are genius… I will definitely be doing that next time! Thank you, thank you for your kind words in this post and for the genuine sense of community you always host here on your site. GORGEOUS pictures, too! xoxo

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thank you, Marie! We’re so glad to have you in our community and especially glad you brought us this soup, haha. It really is fantastic.

  7. Nicole

    I used to make tortilla soup all the time but this recipe is inspiring me to try it again! I love the idea of a creamy version. I have to admit, I’m a little overwhelmed with Google+ at the moment, but the two articles you linked to are very helpful!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I’m so glad, Nicole. Irvin’s post blew me away the first time I read it — Google is taking over the world!

  8. Susan (Oliepants)

    Tortilla soup is my absolute favorite – my husband’s too. I love this veggie version!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Me too, Susan. And for anyone who wants to add chicken, it would be easy to add cooked, shredded to the soup at the end.

  9. Jess

    Oh yum – this looks fantastic! Tortilla soup is one of my favorites – I agree that tortillas make everything better! I just had a fried avocado taco while I was home in Kansas City…definitely rich, but totally genius.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      It is my favorite. !

  10. Megan Gordon

    Yes! Oh this looks so wonderful – and also made me realize I don’t comment as much as I should when lingering around your always beautiful site. Have you ever tried tomato bread soup? Kind of reminds me of this recipe in the sense that the bread makes it seem creamy. ALSO: we had Christmas Eve lunch with my Dad at an Italian restaurant this year where they whisk olive oil into tomato soup at the very end and it “tricks” it into feeling very creamy without any actual cream. I haven’t tried it, but am eager to. Hope you both have a great weekend! xox

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Megan, you, my dear, have already established yourself for the long haul as the one who is always thoughtful and who writes comments that are a delight to read. So interesting about the bread and the olive oil! Filing that away!

  11. Ting

    Thanks for sharing, look so good! x

  12. Eden

    Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kathryne

    I’ve been on the hunt for an extra-special tortilla soup recipe to try and I think I’ve found it here. Thanks for sharing the inspiration, Shanna!

  14. Shanna Mallon

    Ting, Eden and Kate – So glad you like the look of it — hope you get to taste for yourselves how delicious it is! : )

  15. Sarah Rose

    I made your soup for dinner tonight and it was a big hit with my family! I added corn and chicken and it was super good (my husband isn’t as willing to eat vegetarian as I am). :) Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Shanna!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, that’s good to hear, especially for anyone else reading this who wanted to try adding meat. Thanks for the feedback, Sarah!

  16. Amy

    I can’t believe the wonderful friends I have made by blogging (and tweeting, and instagramming). Sometimes it feels as though they are only next door rather than half a world away. Like last week when a brown paper package landed on my doorstep from Nashville! A smile split my face as I opened the parcel to reveal your gorgeous book, signed, and postcard enhanced! Thank you so much :)
    This tortilla soup will also see an outing at the dinner table I now have the fortune to share with a someone special of my own, and it will probably only serve two in our house as well :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I’ll admit, Amy, the world does feel a little smaller when I see an Instagram photo of my package, being opened across the ocean! Glad to have you here in this beautiful Internet community, friend.

  17. Sonja

    Hooray for real-life friends! It’s so neat to experience and hear about the ways that blogging brings people together. It has brought us so much joy to meet people like you! And, this soup looks seriously delicious — yum! Looking forward to trying it sometime.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thanks again for reaching out in friendship, Sonja. Glad to know you!

  18. Christina

    Well, you’ve convinced me. This is now on my “make this weekend” list. Additionally, let’s go to Mas Tacos sometime. : )

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yes! And I can’t wait to get together!

  19. The Food Hound

    I have been looking for a perfect tortilla soup for YEARS, and I can’t wait to try this!! I think I would sub heavy cream for the goat’s milk- have you ever tried that? I’d also add chicken. Love the idea of using the tortillas to thicken it. THANKS!!! I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, I’m so glad! Please let me know what you think (and I bet cream would be great–just richer!).

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  21. Alexis

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I’m a sucker for a creamy tortilla soup, but most recipes I find are for the brothey version. This look divine.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yay! Hope you enjoy!

  22. Amanda

    We ate at Mas Tacos for the first time yesterday. My life has officially been made better because of that soup. I was actually wondering if you and Tim ever attempted to recreate it because I know you like it so much. But your version here looks pretty delicious as well. Totally trying it sometime soon.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hooray for trying Mas Tacos! Boo that it didn’t bring on labor, haha! Hope Elsie gets here soon already!

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