Vegetarian Three Bean Tortilla Soup

Three different kinds of beans add color, texture, and flavor to this delicious and easy tortilla soup. To make this soup vegan, substitute vegan sour cream and cheese. Slideshow:  More Mexican Recipes 

Vegetarian Three Bean Tortilla Soup
Photo: © Molly Yeh
Total Time:
50 mins
4 to 6


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped

  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

  • 4 cups vegetable broth

  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

  • One 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans, rinsed

  • One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • Six 4-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips

  • 2 lime wedges, plus 4-6 more for serving

  • 3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 medium ears)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the jalapeño and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, oregano, paprika, cayenne, red pepper, salt and a few turns of black pepper; cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in the tomatoes and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over moderate heat until shimmering. Fry the tortilla strips in batches for 3 minutes, until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel and immediately sprinkle with salt and squeeze with lime.

  4. When the soup is finished simmering, gently stir in the corn.

  5. Ladle into bowls and serve with tortilla strips, lime wedges, diced avocado, sour cream, fresh cilantro and shredded Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco.

Make Ahead

The soup and tortilla strips can be made the day before. Garnish directly before serving.

Serve With

Diced avocado, sour cream (optional), fresh cilantro, shredded Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco

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