Spicy Southwestern Vegan Tortilla Soup

During wintry months, I hear that other parts of the country stock up on meals like beef stew, clam chowder, or… whatever it is people in LA eat in their year-round perfect weather. Here in Texas, one of my favorite cold-weather meals is tortilla soup. And because this is Texas, we like it hot and spicy – if you can feel your tongue after you’re done, you probably didn’t make it hot enough.

The conundrum is that most restaurants that serve tortilla soup around here use chicken broth and/or chicken shreds and they bring it out to you smothered in cheese and sour cream. Being vegan, this makes it a bit difficult to head out to a restaurant and grab a quick bowl of this yummy cold weather staple. Luckily, this recipe is as easy as it is delicious. It’s also great when you re-heat it – making it a simple choice for when you just want to be on the couch watching Game of Thrones.

This recipe is also an excellent source of protein, which is great if you’re a vegan in Texas who has to subsist on some form of fried potatoes when you forget your lunch at home (guilty!). The recipe below will serve eight, and one serving contains almost an entire day’s alottment of protein. If you’re like me, you’ll probably take double your fair share (guilty again!).

If you are sensitive to spicy food, leave out the Habanero Rotel (or sub in regular Rotel). I left it out of my most recent batch, and it was still great! You could also sub out the jalapeno peppers with bell peppers, and take it easy on the Cholula, ya wimps.

Here’s what you’ll need to pick up from the store:

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded/finely diced
  • 2 32-ounce boxes of vegetable broth
  • 2 16-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 10-ounce cans Habanero Rotel
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp cilantro flakes
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Cholula

Suggested Toppings:

  • Daiya Cheddar Shreds
  • Daiya Mozarella Shreds
  • Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream
  • Fritos or your favorite brand of vegan Tortilla Chips/Tortilla Strips
  • Avocado/Guacamole

Once you’ve got all your ingredients out, you can get started!

Dice red onion, garlic cloves, and jalapeno peppers. I prefer mine to be very finely diced, but some prefer theirs to be larger. This recipe works great either way:


Add olive oil, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin to a large pot over medium-high heat, and stir until ingredients are soft:


Add vegetable broth, beans, corn, Rotel, and spices. Stir thoroughly:


Reduce heat, cover and simmer. I ended up letting mine simmer for an hour or two because of distractions, but if you let it heat up for about 30 minutes, you will be good to go and you can serve yourself a bowl! Top it with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, tortillas chips/strips, Fritos, Avocado, guacamole, or whatever else your heart desires:


Enjoy! Hopefully this will help keep you warm during those cold, cold winter months… Unless you’re in southern California, in which case, I envy you!

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Alex Rudewell

Alex Rudewell

Alex Rudewell is an intersectional Buddhist feminist. Her myriad talents include clogging your social media with pictures of her chihuahua, and occasionally her begrudging cat. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can follow @alexrudewell on Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. February 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Would nom.

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