Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This pantry staple Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe is a meatless “one pot wonder” that I’ve been making and freezing for years for my family. Filled with beans, tomatoes, chilis, corn, and more, it only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Photo Credit: Hélène Dejardin: From Freezer to Cooker

Why Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup?

Years ago I implemented a small goal of having at least one day a week be meatless for our family. This is for three reasons: it’s cheap, it’s often healthier, and it’s better for the environment (raising animals utilizes much more of our natural resources than raising crops).

The great thing about Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is that it’s hearty enough for any meat eater in your family and makes a big batch for a crowd or just to have on hand all week long.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup in a large stock pot

Another benefit is the flexibility of this soup. You can prepare it on the stove, in the Instant pot, or in the slow cooker. Plus, we also include instructions for how to make it ahead and freeze a batch for later.

Not only that, but you can use up what you have on hand with this “kitchen sink”-type soup. Don’t have green chilis? Add a little more salsa. Don’t have rice? Try quinoa. Have fresh veggies on hand? I’ve thrown in chopped zucchini, spinach, and diced bell pepper before with great results (just cook until they are soft).

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup in a bowl on a plate with chips

Ingredients for Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Yes, this soup is super easy. But, here’s something that you should pay attention to. Since there are quite a few convenience foods included, be sure to select canned items with as few ingredients as possible.

Read labels and look for canned foods or mixes that don’t contain trans fats, MSG, or other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

You also need to look for canned items that do not use BPA in the can lining. When it doubt, look for organic versions.

Also, despite what my picture shows below, you should make your own Taco Seasoning!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup ingredients including rice, taco seasoning, corn, beans, vegetable stock, tomatoes

Keep these pantry staple ingredients on hand all the time, and you’ll always have a delicious, healthy meal ready to go in minutes.

How to Make Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

It’s hard to mess up Vegetarian Tortilla Soup! Just follow this simple recipe using either the stovetop, Instant Pot, or slow cooker instructions.

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This one-pot wonder is packed with flavor but is also vegetarian! This winning combination of ingredients and flavors is sure to impress your family and friends.


Ingredients

  • 1 (32 ounce) box vegetable stock (Sub: chicken stock or broth)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can vegetarian refried beans* (Sub: drained pinto beans that have been smashed with a fork)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (Sub: kidney or pinto beans)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained (Sub: 2 cups frozen corn)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (juice and all) (Tip: Fire-roasted diced tomatoes are delicious!)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (Sub: 1/2 cup salsa)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural taco seasoning mix
  • 12 cups cooked brown rice (Sub: cooked quinoa)
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, lime wedges, diced avocado

Instructions

Make It Now:

Stovetop Method: In a large pot, combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while it cooks. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Slow Cooker Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Instant Pot Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Freeze For Later:

Method 1 (Uncooked): Combine all ingredients in a pot/bowl, except rice and optional toppings. (Don’t worry if the refried beans aren’t completely integrated.) Carefully ladle the soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers and seal. Package the cooked rice in a small freezer bag and freeze alongside the soup.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook the soup according to instructions. Stir in the rice. Let cool. Freeze in freezer bags or containers, as individual servings or one full meal. Freeze until ready to use.

Prepare From Frozen: 

Method 1 (Uncooked): Fully thaw the soup. Cook according to instructions.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked):

Stove or Slow Cooker: Warm over low heat on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Instant Pot: Turn on Saute button and warm over low, stirring frequently.*


Notes

*If you want to cook the soup from frozen in the Instant Pot, you’ll need to freeze it in a round container that is smaller than the diameter of the pot. When ready to cook, turn on the “Saute” function and saute the frozen block of soup for 5-10 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel”. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12-17 minutes with a quick release.

Gluten-Free: If using a taco seasoning packet from the store, be sure to buy one that is gluten-free.

Dairy-Free: Omit using any cheese or sour cream on top.


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27 replies
  1. Michelle says:

    What do you think of adding a can of enchilada sauce? Also, I have barley instead of brown rice(usually cooks good in slow cooker)? Lastly, if I switch this to the instapot what time would you suggest (14 minutes?) thanks

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      I haven’t tested enchilada sauce, but I’m sure it would work in place of the salsa. Barley would work just fine. 7 minutes with a quick release in the Instant Pot is all you’ll need with barley.

      Reply
  2. Alicia L says:

    This was SO easy and yummy. My husband almost finished his second bowl before saying “is there no meat in here”? I’d say he didn’t really miss it.

    Reply
  3. Sara P. says:

    Found your site while looking for vegetarian freezer meal ideas. This was my first recipe of yours that I tried and it was a big hit at my house. Even my picky 7 year old who eats nothing ate an entire bowl and asked me to make it again sometime. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  4. Tamberly says:

    Love your healthy freezer meal recipes! Right up my alley 🙂 I found a homemade refried beans recipe for the crockpot on another site, but cannot recall which one. At any rate, it calls for 2 cans of kidneys, a quartered onion, garlic, and Mexican seasonings to taste. I use dried kidneys or Anasazi instead of canned. It is TASTY, healthy, and EASY! 🙂 Plus – no can. I just throw it all in the crock before going to bed. Ready in the morn.

    Reply
    • Rachel says:

      What a great idea! Do you smash the mixture when it’s done or use an immersion blender on it? Just wondering how you can get a smoother consistency.

      Reply
  5. Becky says:

    Does this freeze well? Also, would you cook it first then freeze or add all ingredients and freeze before cooking?

    Reply

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