This soup was inspired by a soup that Mike’s sister Cass made for us when we visited her in Arkansas in December 2009. I think her inspiration was this Cooking Light recipe, but needless to say it has changed beyond all recognition from that one. I wanted to make it a pantry meal, the sort of thing where you just put everything into the pot and cook it, so I eliminated onion chopping and minced garlic in a jar in favor of dried spices. These changes turned it from low-fat to fat-free, but of course that is before you put the toppings on it. It tastes very good without any toppings, but if you give me the choice, I will always add them.
In addition to a can of pinto beans, I use Westbrae Organic Soup Beans in this soup, which contain Great Northern, red beans, lentils, and barley. But if you don’t have these, you can easily substitute another can of beans of whatever variety you like.
When the soup is done, you crush up some tortilla chips, and put them in the bowl, and then ladle the soup on top. So I guess the chips are not technically a “topping.”
The actual toppings would be cheddar and sour cream, or any other yummy thing that sounds good. Avocado? Hot sauce?
(Vegetarian) Tortilla Soup
Altered beyond almost all recognition from Cooking Light
32 oz carton of No-Chicken or Vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon (or equivalent in bouillon cubes)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can pinto beans
1 15-ounce can soup beans (or whatever variety you prefer)
1 cup corn, fresh, canned or frozen
1/2 cup rice
1-2 tbsp Vegetarian Worcestershire or lime juice
Combine the broth and the water in a 3-4 qt. soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Don’t forget that I am wimpy with spices, so if you like things hotter, up the chili powder or add cayenne. Add the Better than Bouillon or bouillon cubes and the tomato paste, and stir over heat until they dissolve into the broth. Rinse the beans and corn in a colander, and add them to the soup. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the rice to the soup and cook until the rice is done, about another 20 minutes. Remove soup from the heat, and add the Worcestershire or lime juice.
Crush the tortilla chips into the bottom of each bowl, and spoon the soup over them. Top with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.