Recipe | Spicy Tortilla Soup

In this weekend’s Globe and Mail, the centerfold article focused on the high cost of groceries in Canada. This is evident with the recent buzz about the ludicrous $8 price tag for a head of cauliflower and a 30% increase in beef.

Like Alberta, the country’s largest beef producer and my former home province needs anymore economic setbacks.

The rise of foods prices isn’t a fear mongering tactic by the media … it’s our new standard.

Consumers will have to make smarter and strategic choices at the grocery stores and meal planning.

Soups are one of the most cost-effective meals for an individual or families. It’s a great way to use local and seasonable produce; creatively use up leftovers and easy to freeze for future meals.

I first stumbled upon a Spicy Tortilla Soup recipe on This is the result of my first attempt.

Spicy Tortilla Soup 1

It looks pretty close to the original recipe minus the shrimp. And most importantly, the hearty soup filled me up thanks to all of the protein and fiber from the chicken, beans and vegetables.

My second time yielded an underwhelming outcome. Even though I used a bit more adobo sauce to increase the heat, I found the flavours and texture to be lackluster.

Spicy Tortilla Soup 2.png

I also used cilantro as a garnish.  Cilantro is a funny herb because people either LOVE it or HATE it. I found it to subdue the smoky spiciness from the chipotle.

My latest concoction is my favourite because of the following adjustments:

  • Chipotle paste is much better than whole peppers. Use a food processor or mortar and pestle to grind up the peppers and adobo sauce.
  • I prefer using whole tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes for the broth.
  • I added maple syrup instead of brown sugar to balance out the acidity and heat.
  • Avocado is a better cooling garnish than cilantro.

Spicy Tortilla Soup 3



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 can (15-ounce) whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 12 ounces peeled shrimp
  • 2 tbsp maple/agave syrup (optional to taste)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Tortilla chips
  • Avocado
  • Lime juice
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add oil then onion, garlic, cumin, chili power, chipotle paste and stir. Cook until onions are translucent, about 1 -2 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots. Cook until vegetables are tender about 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and vegetable stock.
  4. Bring to a boil then add beans, corn and chicken.
  5. Stir to combine. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Garnish with suggested toppings and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Recipe | Spicy Tortilla Soup

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