It’s a cold rainy day outside today, and I’m totally craving this spicy vegan tortilla soup. This is not your typical tex-mex, cumin and chili powder seasoned soup. The broth for this soup is simmered with epazote, chile morita, tomato, onion, garlic, and chipotle. It is then garnished with fried or baked tortilla strips, baked tofu, crispy chile pasilla, and avocado.
Tortilla soup is also known as sopa azteca, the soup is representative of central Mexico but can be found all over the country. It varies from state to state and household to household. Usually it consists of a tomato based broth, a dried chile, and epazote. Fried tortillas are added to the broth then you pile the toppings on. Some other less traditional toppings are roasted poblano pepper, onion, and cilantro.
This is my Tia Laura’s recipe, and even though it is not necessarily the traditional one, it’s really good. I kept the recipe just as she showed me how to prepare it. She has a wonderful ease around the stove, and her callused hands show that she knows how to hold a knife, and does so often. She’s just one of those people with the “gift”. You know what I’m talking about right? She puts on that apron and forgets about the world, cutting, chopping, stirring, and tasting; she doesn’t even have to look at a recipe or resort to google. She makes it seem so effortless and fun. Which is the way home cooking should be.
Her love of food and cooking started in her mother’s kitchen, at the age of 5, while watching her bake polvorones (Mexican wedding cookies). It made her so sad that she couldn’t keep all the cookies to herself, that she asked her Mamá if she would show her how to make them, and she did. Now that my grandma no longer with us, my Tia has taken the unofficial title of family cook. I hope she doesn’t get mad at me for veganizing it!
The Recipe: Spicy Vegan Tortilla Soup
- If you can’t find fresh epazote use dried, or you can also use cilantro.
- If you would like your soup to be spicy, add 2 chipotle chiles instead of one.
- The tortillas and the chile pasilla are traditionally fried.
- You want to add the tortillas to the soup right before eating.
- You can substitute maggi seasoning sauce with soy sauce.
- Zucchini would be a great addition to this soup.
Spicy Vegan Tortilla Soup
- 8 Corn tortillas cut into ½ in. strips
- (12 oz.) or 1 block Extra firm tofu, pressed, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 Roma tomatoes, large
- ¼ White Onion, rough chopped
- 1-2 Chile chipotle peppers in adobo
- 1 Dried Chile morita, de-seeded, crumbled
- 8 ½ cups Vegetable stock
- 1 cup Diced tomates, canned, fire roasted
- 2 Garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp. Soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos (see notes)
- 1 sprig Epazote fresh
- 2 Avocadoes, cut in half, pitted, diced
- 3 Dried chile pasilla
- Almond crema (optional)
- 1 Lime, cut into quarters
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
Place the tofu and tortilla strips on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 20 min. or until the tortillas are crispy and the tofu is slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a small pot and add whole tomatoes. Reduce heat and gently simmer for 3-4 min., or until tomatoes are soft and the skin begin to fall off them. Set tomatoes aside.
In a blender, puree cooked tomatoes, onion, chile morita, chipotle chiles, 2 ½ cups of HOT vegetable stock, tomato puree, garlic, and soy sauce until smooth.
Heat a large pot to medium heat and add the tomato-chile puree to it. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes, until it slightly thickens and changes color. Add the rest of the vegetable stock, epazote spring, and baked tofu to the pot and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 min. and season to taste.
Toast the pasilla chile on a comal or saute pan set to medium heat, until crispy but not burnt. Cut into strips
Remove epazote sprig from pot, and serve soup in bowls.
Serve soup with assorted garnishes (baked tortilla strips, avocado, almond crema, toasted chile pasilla, and limes).
You can fry the tortilla strips for a crispier outcome, and traditionally the chile pasilla for the garnish is also fried in oil. I prefer my tortilla soup without the crema, but that’s up to you. If you can't find fresh epazote use dried, or you can also use cilantro. If you would like your soup to be spicy, add 2 chipotle chiles instead of one.