Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tortilla Soup with Beans & Kale: Party in a Bowl for Cinco de Mayo at Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

It's Cinco de Mayo today, a perfect holiday to celebrate over a festive bowl of tortilla soup. Especially good today because it's cool, gray and drizzly here. I wanted to make a vegan tortilla soup version but add something to make it satisfying. Pinto and black beans seemed like a great alternative--as did adding kale to get some healthy greens in there. To make it even healthier, you could bake the tortilla strips and shapes--but hey, it's a holiday--a little balanced celebrating is good. I like to think of this Tortilla Soup with Beans & Kale as the "mullet" of soups--all (healthy) business in the bowl, all party in the toppings! ;-)

Tortilla Soup (Sopa de Tortilla) with Beans & Kale

by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 6 Servings)

canola oil, to fry tortillas
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips or shapes
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1 dried pasilla chilies, stemmed, seeded and sliced
2 (14.5 oz) canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes
5 cups veggie broth(low sodium or homemade)
1 cup tomato sauce or passata
1 (16 oz) can low-sodium black beans
1 (16 oz) can low-sodium pinto beans
2 cups kale (either frozen or stemmed and chopped into ribbons)
juice of 1 lime
salt and black pepper to taste

Optional Toppings: 
fried tortilla strips & shapes
chopped fresh cilantro leaves
ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced or chopped
fresh baby sweet tomatoes, halved
deep fried jalapeno peppers
Mexican cheese or non-dairy cheese id desired

Put canola oil in a heavy soup pot or pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry the tortilla strips and shapes in small batches until golden brown and crisp, turning after a minute or two, for a total of about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Reduce heat to medium, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minutes or two, then add the dried chilies and spices and cook about 2 minutes to toast. Add tomatoes, veggie stock, tomato sauce and half the tortilla strips and bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, or carefully in batches in an upright blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Return to the stove over medium heat, stir in the beans and kale, and cook about 5 minutes or until heated through. Season to taste with lime juice, salt, and black pepper. 

So you can see the soup "topless"

Ladle the soup into large bowls and top with cilantro, avocado, remaining tortilla strips, tomatoes, fried jalapeno pieces and serve. Or place toppings in small bowls and let everyone top their own bowl of soup. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: Nothing comforts like a big bowl of tortilla soup and this one is full of good flavor and fun. For the broth, I wanted intense tomato flavor and I wanted to use up some of the open bottle of passata I had leftover from Ottolenghi's Barley Risotto so I added it to the broth with a couple of cans of fire-roasted tomatoes. Combined with the cumin, oregano, cayenne and hot paprika, it had great taste. I kept the broth just slightly spicy because I knew I was topping with these Fresh Gourmet Crispy Jalapenos (on sale at my local Safeway this week). They add a good kick. I kept my soup dairy-free and vegan but feel free to add some of your favorite cheese. This really hit the spot--I would make it again. 

Time to visit the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who dropped by!

Spencer (The Mouse) of Live2EatEat2Live Blog is back with this Lotus Seed "Soup" and says, "One of our relatives, read this post, and gave us a container of dried lotus bulb petals. So it’s lotus seed “soup”, the sequel, with bulb petals.  Followed the instructions to the letter. No ginger nor peanut butter this time. OMG!, I actually followed a recipe, without substantial modifications. Amazing! The Cat said it was  pretty authentic."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes shares this pretty and refreshing Lobster, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad and says, "I have to say that Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen has hit another home run.  This salad was light, yet felt rich with the lobster meat and the avocado.  The grapefruit cut through the richness with a sweet tart flavor.  I couldn’t find just arugula, so I used a mix of baby arugula, baby spinach, and baby kale.   Served with a glass of white wine and a nice baguette, it was downright elegant.

My pal Kim of Stirring the Pot tried her hand at Yotam Ottolenghi's Farro and Roasted Pepper Salad with Smoky Paprika Dressing and says, "My favorite part of the salad, however, was the smoky paprika dressing.  The dressing was rather complex with a hint of smokiness from the paprika, a refreshing zing from the lemon juice, and a touch of sweetness from the honey.  I felt like the dressing really brought everything together.  Thanks to all the flavors and textures I found this salad very addictive."  

Joanne of Eats Well With Others changed out the farro in Ottolenghi's dish and made Wheat Berry and Roasted Pepper Salad with a Smoked Paprika Dressing instead. She says, "...this is another new Ottolenghi favorite of mine.  Bright fresh flavors, sultry roasted red peppers, and a hearty background of beans and wheat berries.  And you should know that it was so good that The.Boy ate it TWICE even though he doesn't like olives OR feta, both of which are fairly prominent in here."

Janet of The Taste Space offers up these crunchy Mexican Chili Salad Wraps and says, "...I thought to myself: lets combine the best of both worlds.Beans and flavourful sauces for a high-protein fix. I actually got the idea after Gena posted Brendan’s recipe for a cold chili. Basically all the foundations from a regular chili are combined to make a satisfying dip. It is quite versatile: heat it up to make a regular chili, serve it with chips as a dip, place overtop your favourite green as a salad or place inside Romaine lettuces as a chili salad wrap."

Elizabeth of The Law Student's Cookbook shares these Spicy Asian Hamburgers and says, "...I made this delicious hamburger. Infused with Asian flavors, this made such a great meal. And instead of serving it just with french fries, I roasted some asparagus as well and tossed the french fries and the asparagus in Argyle Street Asian Blend, which I had received from a Foodie Pen Pals some months back. And instead of ketchup for the fries, I mixed up some sriacha, mayonnaise,  and ketchup which also was the spread on the burger. Both the fries and the asparagus tasted good with the dip."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Happy Cinco de Mayo and a Happy, Healthy week!


  1. Oh yum, Deb. I like this healthified version. Looks delicious. :-)

  2. I love how festive your soup is!

  3. Tortilla soup would have been PERFECT for cinco de mayo! If...I hadn't been stuffing my face with Greek food. But what can you do? I love how you compared it to a mullet...too funny!

  4. Great roundup! I love the addition of beans and kale!

  5. Couscous & ConsciousnessMay 6, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    What gorgeous looking soup, Deb - this definitely looks very celebratory. I've never actually eaten a tortilla soup, but looks as though I need to try this.

  6. Gotta love a good mullet! ;P I love this version - not only does it look so fun and festive, it sounds amazing. I've made it with kale before and think that's a fantastic addition.


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