Soup is always a great go-to freezer meal. If you’re trying to prep for a busy time in your life or if you just need a great meal in your freezer, this easy black bean tortilla soup is just the thing you need! This recipe is also naturally gluten-free so it’s a great dinner idea for gluten-intolerant guests!
You could make this soup with dried black beans, but it would be more involved. Using canned black beans is a quick shortcut and still leaves you with a very delicious soup. I like to add a few chipotles to mine which gives the soup a little spice and a subtle smokey flavor. Totally optional though. Leave them out if they aren’t your thing!
What is tortilla soup?
Let’s back up a bit. What exactly is a tortilla soup? Some people think that tortilla soup gets its name because you serve it with tortilla chips or tortilla strips. While the soup is normally served with those garnishes, tortilla soup gets its name from actually cooking ripped-up tortillas in the soup.
The corn tortillas kind of dissolve in the soup, thickening it slightly and giving it a wonderful taste and texture.
Normally chicken tortilla soup is the standard (like my slow cooker chicken tortilla soup), but you can make tortilla soup with almost anything!
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Dried or canned black beans?
I love making dried beans. Simmering a big pot of beans with spices is a great meal prep idea, and you absolutely can use those cooked dried beans in this soup.
But, to be honest, I would just used canned beans for this soup.
For starters, it makes the soup really easy to make and this is an easy weekday soup at its core.
Second, there are enough other flavors and texture going on in this soup that you wouldn’t get much difference in using dried beans.
So, save yourself some time and go with canned black beans.
How to make crispy tortilla strips
You could skip this recipe piece and just serve the soup with tortilla chips, but these are a nice touch.
To make them, slice the tortillas into thin strips and add them to a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Bake these for about 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through. You can bake them for longer if they happen to not be crispy enough for you. Just remember that they will continue to crisp up as the cool after baking.
Making the black bean tortilla soup
This is an all-in-one-pot, vegetarian meal. Couldn’t get easier.
Start by adding the olive oil to a large dutch oven with a diced onion. Let that cook over medium heat until it’s translucent and then add the garlic, chipotle pepper, and cumin. A pinch of salt and pepper at this point wouldn’t hurt also.
Stir that all together and then add the beans, corn, and diced tomatoes. Remember to rinse and drain the beans really well before tossing them in the pot.
Add the vegetable broth as well and bring everything to a simmer. The liquid should just barely cover all the ingredients. If it doesn’t, add a bit more stock or water.
Once the soup is simmering, add in the chopped corn tortillas. These will dissolve in the soup and thicken it a bit. YUM.
After 15-20 minutes of simmering, this bad boy is ready to serve.
I serve my black bean tortilla soup piled high with homemade crispy corn strips (or just tortilla strips), sliced jalapenos, fresh cilantro, and a few fresh lime wedges. You could jazz it up even more with grated cheese or sour cream or leave those out for a vegan version of the soup.
Couldn’t get easier and it’s a delicious and healthy meal.
Making this soup in a slow cooker
I usually don’t make this in a slow cooker just because it’s very fast to make just in a pot on the stove.
But, if you wanted to, I imagine you could add all the ingredients to a slow cooker (including the corn tortillas) and cook the soup on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Substitutions and ideas
Here are a few substitutions or additions you could make to this soup.
- Spices! Feel free to add more spices that go well with tex-mex flavors like cumin seeds, dried chiles, garlic cloves, and Mexican oregano (go easy on the oregano as it can quickly overpower the soup).
- If you aren’t shooting for a vegetarian meal, you could add some shredded chicken to this soup for a more traditional chicken tortilla soup recipe.
- Add more toppings like sliced avocado, crema, queso fresco, pickled jalapenos, etc.
Storing and reheating this black bean tortilla soup
BONUS: This meal freezes perfectly which is one of the reasons I chose it. Let the soup cool to room temperature and then store it in freezer-safe bags. It’ll keep beautifully for three months. Reheat it slowly on the stove for best results.
It’s soup season and this one should be on your list!
Easy Black Bean Tortilla Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teas ground cumin
- 2 chipotle peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ c. sweet corn
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 4 corn tortillas, chopped
- 1 qt. vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
Crispy Corn Strips
- 6-8 corn tortillas, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 teas chili powder
- 1 teas kosher salt
- 1 teas black pepper
- Fresh jalapenos
- In a large dutch oven, add olive oil and diced onions. Cook until onions are translucent over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes. Then add minced chipotle peppers (opt.) and garlic. Stir to combine.
- Add in drained and rinsed black beans, corn, and tomatoes along with vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Add in chopped corn tortillas and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Tortillas should mostly dissolve. Season soup well with salt and pepper.
- Serve soup with any all garnishes you want, but most importantly crispy corn strips (or corn tortilla chips in a pinch).
- For Crispy Corn Strips:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice corn tortillas and toss with olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake corn strips for 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Remove corn strips and let cool. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
- Freeze this soup by letting it cool down to room temperature. Then transfer to freezer safe bags. Stores in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat slowly on the stovetop.