Vegan tortilla soup is filled to the brim with beans, seitan, corn, spices, and a fire roasted tomato base. Top yours with crunchy tortilla strips, cilantro, non-dairy cheese, and avocado. A tempting mix of hot & cool in every delicious bite!
Tortilla soup is welcome any time of the year. In cold weather months, it’s satiating and cozy, loaded with hearty stuff like beans, seitan, and corn. It fills you up & warms you from the inside out.
But when the weather turns warmer, tortilla soup is still welcome, because of all the fresh ingredients served on top. There’s cilantro and cooling bites of avocado.
I love aiming for the perfect bite – getting a spoonful of spicy soup with a cool chunk of avocado.
Plus, in the summer a lot of the ingredients are in season – bell peppers, onions, garlic, and corn.
(Although, feel free to use frozen corn, and pour it in directly from the freezer. That’s what I do!)
So whether it’s cool & rainy where you live or sunny & clear, now is the perfect time for vegan tortilla soup.
Tortilla soup is slightly brothier than chili. It’s usually made with chicken. But instead, I like to use seitan chicken. You still get that bite and filling protein, but it’s totally vegan.
Is this soup gluten-free?
No, seitan is also known as wheat gluten. So it’s not suitable for a gluten-free diet. However, it’s easy to replace.
Instead of seitan, here are some gluten-free replacement options:
- Use a second variety of beans like pinto, Great Northern beans, or chickpeas
- Use hydrated Soy Curls, like I did in this meatless chili recipe
Making your own crispy tortilla strips
Of course, it wouldn’t be tortilla soup without tortillas.
I like to use the air fryer to make crispy tortilla strips for topping the soup. Use kitchen shears to cut corn tortillas into strips. Then spray with oil & pop them into the air fryer basket for a few minutes.
Get the full directions in this air fryer tortilla strips recipe.
Don’t have an air fryer? No problem. You can fry strips in oil 2-3 minutes, until crispy. Then drain on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Or use store-bought tortilla chips. Crush them onto the soup with your hands. It’s also a great way to use the remaining broken chips at the bottom of the bag!
How to make vegan tortilla soup
Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a soup pot with oil for a few minutes.
Then add the following:
- Diced fire roasted tomatoes
- Black beans
- Better Than Bouillon no chicken base (or vegetable bouillon cube)
- Tomato paste
- Spices: Cumin, paprika, ancho chili powder, and salt
- Chicken-style seitan
Bring to a simmer & allow the flavors to develop.
Make tortilla strips in the air fryer, fry them in oil in a skillet, or use store-bought tortilla chips to top the soup.
Ladle the soup into bowls & top with:
- Tortilla strips or chips
- Shredded non-dairy cheddar or crumbled vegan feta cheese
- A squeeze of lime
How to store leftovers
Keep the soup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days. (I think it tastes best on day three, once the flavors have really had a chance to meld.)
Obviously, you’ll want to store the soup separately from the toppings (chips, shredded cheese, avocado, and lime).
This soup also freezes well. Put cooled soup into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Then pop it into the freezer.
Once you’re ready to eat it, let the soup defrost in the refrigerator. Or use the thaw setting on the microwave. (If using the microwave, make sure the soup is in a microwave-safe container.)
Then heat in the microwave or stove, stirring occasionally until it’s hot. Then add fresh toppings.
Vegan tortilla soup with black beans & seitan
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 can (14.5 ounce) diced fire roasted tomatoes with juices
- 1 can (15 ounce) black beans drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups)
- ½ cup corn frozen or fresh
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon no chicken base or vegan bouillon cube
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup seitan chicken chopped
- 2 batches air fryer tortilla strips or handfuls of tortilla chips
- ¼ cup shredded non-dairy cheese
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- Bring a soup pot to a medium heat with oil. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and garlic to the pot. Saute a few minutes, until fragrant and softened.
- Add the following to the soup pot: diced fire roasted tomatoes with juices, drained & rinsed black beans, corn, water, Better Than Bouillon no chicken base (or bouillon cube), tomato paste, cumin, paprika, ancho chili powder, salt, and chopped seitan chicken. Stir.
- Bring the pot to a low simmer. Allow it to cook for 15 minutes, so that the flavors can develop & intertwine.
- While the soup is simmering, make 2 batches of air fryer tortilla strips using 2 corn tortillas. The link to the recipe is in the ingredient list. (Or if you'd prefer, you can use store-bought tortilla chips.)
- Ladle soup into four bowls. Top each one with shredded non-dairy cheese, cilantro, avocado, air fryer tortilla strips or crushed store-bought tortilla chips, and a couple of lime wedges. Have each guest squeeze lime onto soup right before eating.