Sometimes I know exactly what I am making, and everything goes just as planned.  Other times, recipes evolve as I am cooking and I end up with something completely different.  Tonight is a perfect example of that.  I planned to make a simple vegetable soup, but I wasn’t happy with the flavor of the broth.  The trouble was I already had the soup almost finished, but it just wasn’t right.

I really had started the soup well.  I grouped all my ingredients together. Then prepped them so the process would be nice and smooth.

I sauteed diced onions until they were tender, then added garlic.  After that, I added my carrots, celery and spices.

I poured my broth over my veggies and added potatoes and brought it to a boil.  The problem was, when I tested the flavor, broth was too bitter.  I knew Bruce wouldn’t love it, and what’s the point of serving something your partner doesn’t love?  I had to try to salvage it.


The trouble was, I wasn’t sure exactly how to fix it.  I decided to see what I had in my “pantry” (a plastic bin full of what most people keep in their actual pantry) and refrigerator.  I sent Bruce to the “pantry” to look for pinto beans and Rotel diced tomatoes, and set about making my soup edible.

Before I was vegan, I really enjoyed trying recipes from Ina Garten’s show “Barefoot Contessa”.  One soup I made was her Mexican Chicken Soup.  The interesting thing about that particular soup is that she added corn tortillas to the broth to thicken it.  It also added an amazing flavor.  It was the best part of the soup!  I had planned to use the tortillas in my original vegetable soup, but I knew they would work well with Mexican flavors.

I drained and rinsed the pinto beans.  I added the beans and the tomatoes to the pot, let them simmer for about 5 minutes, then added the sliced corn tortillas and let it simmer another 5 minutes.  The flavor was AMAZING.

So, what had started as Simple Vegetable Soup became Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup.  My soup was saved, and I could happily serve it to Bruce.  I will admit there are some things I will change the next time I make it.  First off all, the potato, bay leaves, and curry do not really belong in a Mexican soup.  Secondly, I would add a can of corn, a bit of jalapeño, and some fresh cilantro, just to really kick up the Mexican flavor.  I didn’t have any of these on hand, but I have adjusted the recipe below to show those changes.

One more hint… make sure your beans go in when you put your tortillas in.  If not, they will get mushy.

Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup


Serves: 2-4 people    Time: 35 mins


  • 1 small Onion
  • 1-2 large cloves Garlic (or equivalent paste)
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 4 small stalks Celery, diced
  • 1/8 cup Cilantro, fresh leaves, optional
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper, optional
  • Fresh lime, optional

Canned goods

  • 32 oz. Vegetable Stock (or Broth)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 1 (16-ounce) can Pinto Beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) can Corn Kernels

Baking & spices

  • 1 tsp Coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Oils & Creams

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • Vegan Sour Cream, optional

Bread & baked goods

  • 3 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas, sliced into 1 inch strips

Saute onion in oil until tender, add garlic. Cook one more minute.   Add diced carrots, celery and corn, saute another 3-5 minutes.  Add spices, cook another 30 seconds.  Add Broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down to medium-low heat for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, beans, and tortillas.  Cook another 5 minutes until tortillas are mostly disintegrated.  Remove from heat.  Top with jalapenos, cilantro, a splash of lime, and/or vegan sour cream.