Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup
Share the food curiosity!

What does one do with leftover turkey or chicken when you’re looking for flavor punch? Tortilla soup has all the makings of a hearty meal and its easy to assemble! After cooking a turkey dinner, the next couple days, I want to cook with as little effort as possible. This is one of the best fridge cleaners or use of leftover meats that one can make. So, while one can add old tortillas to make this recipe more authentic, I didn’t have any tortillas around. <Hence Tortilla Soup without tortillas. My life really is that simple. LOL>

Taste: Great range of flavor – tangy tomato base offset by sweet corn, spicy kick and muted settlement of black beans. Sour cream gives a creamy zing to tie the soup together.
Texture: Truly a hearty soup with a variety of textures. Soup will have great body due to the excess liquid from the canned beans has starch for a natural thickener. The variety and softness of vegetables, sandy black beans, firmness of turkey or chicken to balance. And if garnishing with sour cream and/or avocado, the creamy component is a lovely finish.

So, what makes this Tortilla Soup hearty and thick?

Aquafaba is latin for aqua water and faba beans. Fancy right? When opening a can of black beans, one will find tender black beans and a thick viscous water that will be more clear at the top of the can and thick and muddy with bean residue on the bottom of the can. The liquid in a can of black beans, white beans, navy beans, chick peas is….Ta Da! Aquafaba!

But what is aquafaba? Aquafaba is the liquid that remains after boiling legumes. (Did you know that beans are boiled after they are canned and before its sent off for packaging and distribution?). This starchy liquid has a bit of protein, but also has a unique structural component, called saponins. Found in quinoa and legumes, saponins when extracted are able to trap air similar to egg whites in meringue. In fact, the saponins in the aquafaba are so strong, that aquafaba can be whipped, even to make meringues! Really! Utilizing aquafaba as an egg white replacement is currently a common vegan alternative! <Don’t tell my family I want to try making cookies primarily from beans. I can already see the faces and hear the comments of my kids – “Really Mom??” Insert evil emoji here. Hahaha!!!>

To get to the point, the starch in aquafaba also has binding capabilities. Thus, aquafaba acts as a natural thickener. And therefore, this hearty, thick soup is created. Yum!

On an interesting side note, saponins is slightly bitter in taste, creating natural pest control capabilities in plants.

Alright! Time to test out the thickening capabilities of aquafaba and enjoy leftover turkey or chicken in the Tortilla Soup (without tortillas, unless you have some around 😉 ). Cook with me!

Tortilla Soup with Cilantro, Sour Cream and Avocado

Tortilla Soup

A flavorful tortilla soup, using leftover turkey or chicken, cleaning out the fridge and utilizing the natural thickening agent in beans. Tasty!
Course Main Course, Soup


  • Large stock pot


  • 2 jalapenos roasted
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 leek chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 carrots chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 celery stalks chopped (optional)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 540 mL/ 18oz can of black beans including liquid – DO NOT strain!!!
  • 796 mL/ 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 796 mL/ 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cup corn kernels fresh, frozen, or canned
  • 28 oz chicken broth or 1 chicken bouillon with 28 oz water
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 2+ cups leftover chicken or turkey
  • 1 bunch of kale chopped fine (optional)
  • ¼ cup cilantro minced


  • tortillas cut into strips or broken nacho chips
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro minced
  • lime wedges
  • avocado cut into chunks
  • sour cream


Remove Jalapeno Skin and Seeds

  • Roast 2 jalapenos over gas burner or flame until it skin burns black or white to lift off the flesh. Immediately put jalapenos into a bowl and cover with a lid and set aside for 10 minutes. This will allow the skin to lift off the flesh by steaming.
  • On a cutting board, slice jalapeno in half lengthwise.
  • Use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds on the inside. Flip jalapeno over and use back of knife to scrape off the black and peeled skin from the jalapeno.
  • Remove skin and seeds from cutting board. Mince the jalapeno and set aside

Make Soup

  • In large pot on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When hot, add onion, garlic, leek, carrot, or celery and cook until softened.
  • Add cumin, chili powder and ground coriander to vegetables to toast the spices. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add black beans, chicken broth, crushed and diced tomatoes, corn.
  • Bring contents of pot to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or more.
  • Add leftover turkey or chicken to reheat. At the same time, if adding kale, add to soup and allow to turn bright green about 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat off stove.
  • Stir in ¼ cup cilantro.
  • Serve with tortillas, avocado, cilantro, sour cream or/and lime wedge.
Keyword aquafaba, avocado, beans, black beans, chicken, corn, fridge cleaner, garlic, hearty, kale, leftover, lime, Mexican, onion, tortilla, turkey

Leave a Reply