Vegetarian Tortilla Soup Slow Cooker Recipe

Soup! for vegetarians! I get an email (or six) daily telling me that I need to make more vegetarian dishes.

I know. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to exclude you, I promise. I just sometimes forget that dinner isn't synonymous with meat.

I really like this soup. I like that the dried beans add protein and fiber, and I like the smoky flavor from the paprika and chipotle chile powder.

There's some heat here, but if you use the floating pepper trick instead of cutting, the heat doesn't burn but instead nicely warms.

also? totally vegan-friendly if you skip the cheese I sprinkled on top.

The Ingredients.
serves 8

1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
4 whole serrano chiles
baby spinach (to add later, optional)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the presoaked beans into your slow cooker.

 If you don't have time to soak the beans overnight, you can quick soak them by boiling rapidly on the stove for 10 minutes, and then letting the beans sit in the closed pot of hot water for 1 hour.

Drain and then put into the cooker.

Add the entire can of tomatoes, the onion, and the garlic. Follow with all the spices and then pour in the broth and water. Wash and float the uncut peppers on top.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 4 to 5. Remove the chiles before serving. If desired, drop in a few handfuls of baby spinach into the pot and stir.

The spinach will wilt quickly! If you'd like, garnish with shredded cheese or sour cream (or both!)

The Verdict.

My girls found this soup too spicy, but Adam and I both really liked it. Your sinuses will clear, but it's not offensively hot. If you're worried, tone down by not adding all 4 chiles.

I ended up adding the end of a bag of Tostitos to the kid servings but the kids really weren't that impressed.
I have good kids, I really do, but they honestly would prefer boxed mac and cheese all the time.
That said, they ate enough to "count" it as dinner. :-)

If you'd like to stretch the leftovers, try stirring in some already cooked rice or pasta when reheating. It freezes quite well!

Not too spicy but packed with flavor vegetarian or vegan tortilla soup made in the crockpot slow cooker from

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at November 28, 2016

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What they say about this article

  1. I love that you included the thing about freezing well. I always worry about recipes and freezing since I live alone and only cook for one. Thanks!

  2. Perfect timing! I need a soup for the week and have just added the "missing" ingredients to my grocery list. Thanks!

  3. do you think canned beans would work in this too?

  4. Hi KV, oh sure. You can use 2 cans of your favorite beans, drained and rinsed.

  5. So excited!!! This looks yummy and we're veggies here. There just aren't a lot of veg recipes for the crockpot out there. you really have to dig! Thank you!!!

  6. Sorry that the kiddos didn't go for it, Steph, but it sure looks good to me! :-)


  7. Anonymous10/04/2010

    I'm so glad that you've decided to start posting every day again! I always look forward to your yummy recipes, and this one is no exception!

  8. This looks great! We are meat eaters, but I use dried beans quite a bit to keep the budget down. I'll be trying this soon!


  9. That broth is what sold this to me. It looks so flavorful! I love tortilla soup, and this sounds like a lovely light version.

  10. Love it! I'm a vegetarian so keep these recipes coming!

    I added corn - tastes good and makes it look even prettier.

  11. This looks great. I may make it next week when my mom is here; her diet is mostly vegan.

    But--psst--when I'm making it for our family, I'll use chicken broth. :-D

  12. This came out too liquidy for me! Perhaps it's because I used black beans instead of kidney beans? Anyway, I've never cooked with smoked paprika, and I loved the flavor of it! Next time I make this, I think I will just use 1 or 2 cups of water instead of 4. I think I will prefer the intensity of flavor if I do that too. I'm new to your blog, and I am enjoying reading it and can't wait to try out more recipes! :-)

  13. This is a great recipe.

    My kids have asked a question that I don't have a good answer to.

    Why do you pour out the "soaking" water from pinto beans?

  14. HA, I'm glad you and your children enjoyed the soup.
    I dump the water to help diminish the gas that beans give off. :-)

  15. I'm on a vegan diet for the next few weeks, and was so excited to be find this recipe! Thanks!

  16. I dont have fire roasted tomatoes on hand.....I do have canned organic whole tomatoes. What can I do to them or add in that will make it similar in taste? Thanks!

  17. Hi Debra,
    go ahead and use whatever diced tomatoes you have on hand. The spices in the soup give it plenty of flavor, and I don't think you'd miss the fire roasted component unless you do a side by side comparison.

  18. Sarah Dickison9/10/2012

    Going to be great I already know ! My personal changes to make it fit my family will be: 1 can chicken, mild rotel, chicken broth, tortilla chips on the side. Garnished with IMO & shred cheese. Thank you.

  19. Thanks for this recipe. The pictures help us amateurs!

  20. A meal full of vegetables! Can't wait to try it.

  21. Hooray for vegan friendly! I use your black bean recipe as well as the same "formula" to cook beans because I had to give up canned beans to cut out salt. The more recipes, the better even if my husband is a huge fan of plain pintos cooked in water with Tabasco added to taste.

  22. Yay! This looks like an awesome vegetarian recipe for me. I might have to cut down the peppers for myself though! Thanks!

  23. Love having another soup for my vegetarian son - looks like it is quick to make and perfect for when he is sick <3