Spring is technically a week from now but it snowed here yesterday so soup is still very much in the regular rotation. Rather than make a tried and true soup this week, I decided to try something a little different and I’m so glad I did! I think I’ve found my new favorite soup recipe. If you’re a fan of Mexican tortilla soup, you have to try this one! Most traditional recipes call for chicken, but this version is insanely flavorful and delicious sans meat. It consists simply of black beans, tomatoes, veggies, and spices. I was honestly surprised at how good it was, but I guess I shouldn’t have been because it has lots of fresh cilantro, which I adore. I think the key to the flavor is the cilantro and lime juice. I was in heaven from the aroma of cilantro and lime in my kitchen and I could almost feel summer. There’s just something about that combination that makes me think of fresh guac, margaritas, and sunshine!
I decided last minute to throw in some frozen mushrooms (if you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit mushroom obsessed), which aren’t a typical ingredient in this soup, but they were great. It’s definitely not essential for the recipe, but if you like mushrooms, why not add them? You’ll get a bit of a meaty texture and some additional nutrients, which is a win-win in my book. For some reason I’ve always been a little weary of frozen mushrooms and never bought them. I just couldn’t imagine the texture to be good. I finally decided to try them in this soup though and I couldn’t even tell that they were frozen! I bought a mixed organic variety from Whole Foods. I can’t vouch for them outside of a soup dish, but in soup, I thought they were delicious, not to mention so much easier than chopping fresh mushrooms. Frozen vegetables often contain more nutrients than fresh because they’re frozen at their peak and don’t have time to break down, so there’s that added benefit too.
I garnished the soup with some cubed avocado and homemade tortilla strips. Although optional, I highly recommend these toppings (it’s called tortilla soup after all!). The avocado adds a nice dose of healthy fats to the otherwise very low-fat soup and also contributes a creamy flavor, and the tortilla strips add a bit of nice crunch.
Aside from being delicious, this soup truly couldn’t be easier to make. If you chop the veggies ahead of time, which I admittedly didn’t do, it’s especially simple. If you try this soup I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 corn tortillas
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
- Slice tortillas into short, thin strips and drizzle strips with a little olive oil. Mix with your hands to make sure the strips are evenly coated. Sprinkle strips with a pinch of sea salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until strips are crispy.
FOR THE SOUP:
- 2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
- 6 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 15.5-oz cans no-salt-added-black beans, rinsed and drained
- 32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen mushrooms
- 1 avocado, cubed (optional)
- Coat the bottom of a large stock pot with a bit of vegetable broth to prevent sticking and add the onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green pepper and cook for another five minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, vegetable broth, spices, lime juice, and cilantro. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let cook for about 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the frozen corn and mushrooms, stir, and cook for a few minutes more, until the vegetables are heated through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with avocado, tortilla strips, and any other preferred garnishes!