Tortilla soup

My current lunch obsession. I make this in rather large batches (doubling the recipe below), separate into lunch-sized portions, freeze, and take to work. The soup thaws on my desk all morning, and takes 4-6 minutes (stirring and breaking up remaining ice chunks) after 3 minutes.

As with many of my other recipes, this is adapted from multiple sources.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour, more or less; Yield: ~8 servings


  • 2T oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, 1/4-1/2 inch dice, your choice of color (I prefer red, but white and yellow have been tested and work fine)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced or minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, 1/4-1/2 inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1/4-1/2 inch dice
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (or substitute your favorite—fire roasted tomatoes add an interesting bit of flavor—or add ~4 diced tomatoes with juice and a can of green chilies or two, or whatever… none of this is particularly exact)
  • 8 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken broth, if you like that sort of thing)
  • 2T Cumin
  • 1T Chili Powder
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, drained or not
Heat oil in a large, heavy pot until it begins to shimmer, add onion and bell peppers, and cook until almost-soft, then add garlic. Cook, stirring often, for a bit, then make a well in the center and add the tomato paste. Fry the tomato paste for one minute, then stir to combine with vegetables. Add diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, and spices, bring just to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 or 30 minutes. Add the corn and black beans and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve immediately with some combination of tortilla chips (or fresh-made tortilla strips), sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheddar or jack cheese (or both), and anything else you can think of, or nothing. Leftovers freeze well and reheat nicely, though the peppers tend to get a bit slimy.
When I make this, I portion the soup out immediately after adding the corn and black beans, omitting the  final simmer phase. This seems to help the bell peppers retain a bit of their crunch. I also double the recipe with no ill effects.
I have no idea about the exact nutritional value of this soup, but I expect it’s reasonably healthy.
If you try it out, let me know how you like it and suggest areas for improvement!

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