Sopa Azteca

We often share this recipe on ArtsUnion Market Tours because many of the ingredients are available at La Internacional (318 Somerville Ave.). It’s pretty easy to makeā€”and delicious! Also known as Aztec Soup or Tortilla Soup, Sopa Azteca is a staple of Mexican cuisine. The recipe varies slightly by region. in Guanajuato State, they use guajillo peppers; in Oaxaca State, they use pasilla peppers. Epazote is an herb that was used by the Aztecs and is still common in Mexican cuisine. If they’re out of it at La Internacional, the soup still tastes great without it. This recipe was adapted from several different online recipes and carefully tweaked in the Arts Council test kitchen. If you make adjustments or have suggestions, let us know!


2 large dried pasilla chiles, (available at La Internacional)

8 plum tomatoes or three regular tomatoes

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled

3 cups chicken broth

1 large epazote sprig (optional; dried epazote often available at La Internacional)

1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out, cut into small cubes

1 cups chopped queso fresco (available at La Internacional)

tortillas (found in refrigerator at La Internacional)

Optional, for garnish:

Mexican crema (available at La Internacional)

1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


  1. Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic
  2. Meanwhile, toast chiles in a pan, for 2 minutes each side. Do not burn. Then de-vein and de-seed the chilis. Next, add chili pieces to a pan of boiling water (use enough water just to cover chiles). Soak for a few minutes to soften.
  3. Add chili mixture to a blender and puree. Next add roasted onions and garlic. Next add tomatoes.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large pan and heat. Add tomato mixture and boil for 5 minutes; the mixture will reduce. Then add chicken stock (and epazote if using) and cook on low for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste (go easy if stock is salty).
  5. Cut several tortillas into strips and fry until golden brown in about a half inch of vegetable oil. Put onto a paper towel.
  6. In a bowl, arrange pieces of avocado, cheese and tortilla strips. Pour the broth over these ingredients.

Optional: garnish with Mexican crema and a lime wedge.