Tortilla Soup With Vegetables
You may have tried tortilla soup, that yummy Mexican soup with shredded chicken, tortilla strips, cilantro and avocado swimming in a lime-zested steamy broth.
Here’s a similar version, suitable for vegetarians, that’s guaranteed to spice up your cold winter nights.
For those of you who feel bound by the recipe, I hereby grant you permission to lighten up! If you don’t like zucchini or bell pepper, leave it out. If you can’t stomach tofu or you’d rather have a nonvegetarian version of the soup, substitute leftover chicken or use chicken broth instead of veggie. Remember, it’s soup. It’s forgiving!
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 2 jalapeño or serrano chili peppers, seeded and minced
1 can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
1 large ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cups broken tortilla chips or 4 flour tortillas, cut into ½-inch-wide strips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Shredded soy cheese, Monterey Jack or mild cheddar (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, zucchini, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeño or chili peppers. Cook six to nine minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft. Transfer to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.
Return the puréed mixture to the pot. Purée the tomatoes and their juice, then add them to the pot. Stir in broth, water, oregano, cumin and salt. Bring to a boil, stir and set to simmer.
Meanwhile, drain tofu, rinse, pat dry and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook in a single layer, stirring every two to three minutes, until it begins to brown, about six to eight minutes total.
Add the cooked tofu to the pot and continue simmering the soup for 30 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with avocado, tortilla chips/strips, chopped cilantro and cheese, if desired. Squeeze in a lime wedge and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the American Heart Association’s heart-healthy recipes and “150 Vegan Favorites” by Jay Solomon.