A quick trip to the store, and here we are in my kitchen, Margaritas on hand; after all, we are cooking a Mexican dish, starting to cut, broil, and blend to make this very refined Aztec Soup.

It is always so much fun when friends come to visit. We had fun talking and catching up, laughing, dancing, yes dancing in the kitchen, as the aromas of the roasted Pasilla chilies in our soup surrounded us.

Aztec Soup

There are not too many steps to this beautiful soup. Please bear with me as the pictures did not come as bright as we had hoped.

In this Article

What is Aztec Soup?

Aztec Soup, or Sopa Azteca as it’s known in Mexico, is a flavorful and comforting dish with deep roots in Mexican culinary history.

This delicious soup is a perfect blend of rich tomato-based broth, crispy tortilla strips, velvety avocado chunks, melted cheese, and a dollop of sour cream, often garnished with dried Pasilla chilies for an extra kick. 

Its origins trace back to the Aztec civilization, making it a dish steeped in tradition and cultural significance.

A bowl of Aztec Soup warms the body and offers a delectable journey into the heart of Mexico’s vibrant gastronomic heritage.

What are Pasillia chilies?

Pasilla chilies, also known as “chile negro,” are dried chilaca peppers native to Mexico.

They are long, thin, and black in color with a rich, berry-like flavor.

Their heat is considered mild to medium. Pasilla chilies are often used in traditional Mexican dishes, including moles and soups, adding a unique depth of flavor.

The name “Pasilla” comes from the Spanish word ‘pasa’ which means ‘little raisin’, referring to the dark, wrinkled skin and sweet, raisin-like flavor.

Recipe tips 

We enjoy a thicker soup; therefore, we used less chicken stock.

Adjust consistency to personal preferences.

If you have a Vitamix blender, use the puree setting. If not, strain the soup if chunks are not broken down.

Equipment needed

Chef’s Knife

Lodge frying pan

Vitamix Blender

Large Soup pot

Soup serving bowls

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02/18/2024 05:45 pm GMT

Step by Step

As with any of my recipes, I always advise you to assemble all your ingredients before cooking.

May I also suggest you prepare an excellent spicy Jalapeno Margarita mocktail to enjoy with your soup?

  1. Cut the flour tortillas into strips and fry over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove the tortilla strips from the oil with a slotted spoon. Place on a paper towel.
corn tortillas strips
  1. Broil the tomatoes in a large pot until the skin blackens, and peel off the skin.
  2. Broil the pasilla chilies halves until the skin blackens, and peel off the skin. Sautee in a skillet with a shadow of olive oil, garlic cloves, roasted pasilla chilies, and basil for about 2-3 minutes.
Pasilla chilies with onion.
  1. Puree these ingredients with the fresh tomatoes and the juice rendered by the tomatoes, if any. Make sure no chunks are remaining.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot and add the pureed mixture. Boil until the puree thickens and turns red, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and salt to taste. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. To serve, place tortilla strips in each bowl and pour the soup on top. Garnish with cubed fresh avocado and crumbly cheese. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and enjoy.
Pasilla chilies with onion.

What Cheese Can You Use in Place of Oaxacan Cheese?

Oaxacan cheese, also known as quesillo, is a white, semihard cheese from Mexico similar to unaged Monterey jack, but with a mozzarella-like string cheese texture.

If you can’t find Oaxacan cheese, you can use several suitable substitutes in your Aztec Soup. 

Monterey Jack is an excellent alternative due to its mild flavor and smooth melting quality.

Mozzarella, particularly the fresh variant, is another excellent option because of its similar texture and mild flavor. String cheese could also work due to its resemblance in texture. 

Another good substitute is Asadero cheese, which is another Mexican melting cheese.

It has a creamy and smooth texture and is perfect for garnishing hot soup.

Lastly, mild cheddar or Colby cheese can also work if you want a more readily available substitute.

Just remember, the goal is to have a cheese that can provide a creamy, melty contrast to the vibrant flavors of the Aztec Soup.

Substitutions and Additions

While the traditional Sopa Azteca has its unique charm, there are numerous ways to customize this soup to your preference or dietary needs:

  • Protein: Besides shredded chicken, you can add shrimp or tofu for a vegetarian version. If you prefer beef or pork, substitute the chicken stock with beef or vegetable broth.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add more vegetables like red bell pepper, zucchini, black beans, or corn for extra texture and nutrition. 
  • Pasilla Chilies: If you can’t find Pasilla chilies, Guajillo or Ancho chiles make a good substitute. 
  • Tortillas: Gluten-intolerant? Use gluten-free tortillas such as corn tortillas. Or, for a healthier version, bake the tortilla strips instead of frying them. 
  • For Vegan Option: Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute, and use plant-based sour cream or skip it altogether in this easy recipe. 

Storage 

The Aztec Soup is an excellent dish for making ahead of time and storing for future meals. Here are some tips on how to do this effectively:

Refrigerator:

Leftover soup should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, pour the desired amount into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally.

Freezer:

The soup can also be frozen for longer storage. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag. It can be frozen for 2-3 months for best quality.

Reheating:

To defrost from the frozen, place it in the refrigerator until fully defrosted. At this juncture, you can reheat it in a pan over medium heat.

If you wish to prepare the soup ahead of time, you can make the tomato-chili puree and store it separately in the refrigerator (for up to 3 days) or in the freezer (for up to 3 months).

You can also prepare the tortilla strips up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

When ready to serve, prepare the broth, assemble the soup, and enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can use canned tomatoes. Choose canned whole tomatoes for the best flavor. Remember that canned tomatoes are usually salted, so adjust the salt in the recipe accordingly.

Is there a way to make this soup less spicy?

Yes. You can reduce the spiciness by using fewer Pasilla chilies or removing the seeds and veins from the chilies, as that’s where most of the heat resides. 

Can I use dried basil instead of fresh?

Fresh basil is preferred for its vibrant flavor, but you can substitute it with dried basil if unavailable. Use one teaspoon of dried basil for every tablespoon of fresh basil.

What if I don’t have a blender to make the puree?

You can use a food processor if you don’t have a blender. If you don’t have either, you can finely chop the ingredients and then simmer them longer to soften and integrate the flavors.

Can I skip frying the tortilla strips?

Yes, you can bake the tortilla strips in the oven. Brush them lightly with oil, place them on a baking sheet, and bake at 375°F until crispy. This usually takes 10-15 minutes. Turn them once halfway through for even baking.

What can I do if the soup is too thin?

You can thicken your soup by simmering it uncovered longer if your soup is too thin. Alternatively, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a bit of cold water to make a slurry, then add this to the soup and cook until the soup thickens.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can. After sautéing and pureeing the tomatoes and chilies, transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add the chicken stock, and cook for 3-4 hours on low heat or 1-2 hours on high heat. Add the garnishes just before serving.

Aztec Soup

If you are enjoying this great Aztec Soup, you may want to look at my other recipes:

Easy Cream of Carrot Soup

Roasted Bell Peppers Cream Soup

Asparagus Soup with Caramelized Leeks

Potage Parmentier – Potato Leek Soup

Aztec Soup

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aztec soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Aztec Soup, or Sopa Azteca as it's known in Mexico, is a flavorful and comforting dish with deep roots in Mexican culinary history.

Ingredients 

  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 2 garlic, peeled
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 5 cups sodium free chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 leaves basil
  • 2 Pasillia chilies, cored and seeded and halved
  • 3 corn tortilla
  • ½ cup vegetable Oil
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup Oaxacan cheese
  • lime, quartered lime

Instructions

  • Cut the tortillas into strips and fry over high heat until golden brown. Remove the tortilla strips from the oil with a slotted spoon. Place on paper towel.
  • Broil the tomatoes until the skin blackens, peel off skin.
  • Broil the pasilla chilies halves until the skin blackens, peel off skin. Sautee in a skillet with a shadow of olive oil, the garlic cloves, roasted pasilla chilies and basil for about 3 minutes.
  • Puree these ingredients with the tomatoes and the juice rendered by the tomatoes if any. Make sure there are no chunks remaining.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot and add the pureed mixture. Boil until the puree thickens and turns red, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and salt to taste. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally
  • To serve place tortillas strips in each bowl and pour the soup on top. Garnish with cubed avocado and cheese. Squeeze desired amount of lime and enjoy.

Notes

Substitutions and Additions
While the traditional Sopa Azteca has its unique charm, there are numerous ways to customize this soup to your preference or dietary needs:
  • Protein: Besides shredded chicken, you can add shrimp or tofu for a vegetarian version. If you prefer beef or pork, substitute the chicken stock with beef or vegetable broth.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add more vegetables like red bell pepper, zucchini, black beans, or corn for extra texture and nutrition. 
  • Pasilla Chilies: If you can’t find Pasilla chilies, Guajillo or Ancho chiles make a good substitute. 
  • Tortillas: Gluten-intolerant? Use gluten-free tortillas such as corn tortillas. Or, for a healthier version, bake the tortilla strips instead of frying them. 
  • For Vegan Option: Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock, skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute, and use plant-based sour cream or skip it altogether in this easy recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1645IU | Vitamin C: 31.8mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

Did you make this?

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