Vegan chicken tortilla soup

Tortilla soup was one of the first recipes I ever followed when I was learning to cook in college. I actually can't even find the recipe that I used to use anymore, but I know it involved roasting poblano peppers and making tortilla chips from scratch... a pretty involved recipe looking back! It was always a favorite for myself and Reid, so I wanted to update and re-create it now, using one of my favorite vegan proteins: Butler's soy curls.

I've probably harped on how much I love soy curls enough on this blog, but for real this recipe is the perfect application. The rich, tomato-ey broth with the chewy soy curls, sweet corn, and crispy tortilla strips with a hit of acidic lime juice and creamy cashew sour cream makes for all the right textures and flavors in your mouth at once. Definitely give it a try on a cold winter night when you want something hearty to warm you up.

For the tortillas:


1 small corn tortilla per person

1 tsp neutral oil per tortilla

Sprinkle with salt

Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut corn tortillas into 1/2 inch strips. Coat with the oil and a pinch of salt and either air fry for 8 minutes at 400 F, tossing every 2-3 minutes, or bake at 400 F in a single layer for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

For the soup (serves 6):


6 oz Butler's soy curls

1 tbsp neutral oil

1 red onion, diced

2 poblano peppers, diced

3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 15.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I like the kind with chilis included)

1 16 oz can of sweet corn

1/2 tsp dried oregano

6 cups (48 oz or 3 full cans) vegetable broth or water + vegan chicken bouillon (Better than bouillon or Edward & Sons)

1 to 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp maple syrup

To serve:


Cashew sour cream

  1. Place the Butler's soy curls in a large bowl. Add hot tap water and leave to soak for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, drain the water, and use your fingers to pull the soy curls apart into smaller pieces for a "shredded" texture. You can tear them up as much or as little as you want, but it is better for the soup if they aren't in huge pieces which can be hard to pick up with your spoon. Set shredded soy curls aside.

  2. Add the oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and peppers with a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened and translucent.

  3. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute, until fragrant.

  4. Add the tomato paste, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Use a spatula to stir this into the vegetables, incorporating the tomato paste and spices until the vegetables are coated. Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.

  5. Add the can of tomatoes, can of corn, dried oregano, shredded soy curls, and water+bouillon or broth. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil.

  6. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low so that the mixture is simmering. Simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes to allow the broth to be infused with the flavors of the vegetables and spices. After this, you can cover the pot and continue to simmer for up to 1 hour total. The flavor will only continue to improve, but the soup is ready to eat after 20 minutes.

  7. To finish, add the lime juice and maple syrup. Taste the soup for salt and add salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp).

Serve in bowls topped with tortilla strips, avocado, and cashew sour cream, with optional additional lime juice squeezed on top.

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