An Oscar Party Recipe for South-of-the-Border Tortilla Soup (Recipe Redux February Challenge)

Every year when the Oscars roll around, we stay up late to hear the results, but then we wonder, “Why on Earth did we stay up so late? We haven’t seen any of the movies!” This year is no exception … with the exception of Lincoln. I prefer watching my movies from the comfort of my own home, and the movies I often gravitate to are the ones with a foodie theme. Over the years, some of my faves have been Babette’s Feast, Big Night, Eat Drink Man Woman, Food Inc., and my ALL-TIME favorite … Tortilla Soup.

Last year, 39 million people watched the Oscars; that’s a lot of parties! In honor of Oscar night, this month’s Recipe Redux cooking challenge theme was to create a healthy recipe inspired by a favorite food scene or featured dish from any movie. Once I heard about the challenge, Tortilla Soup came immediately to mind … and so did this bean-filled recipe for South-of-the-Border Tortilla Soup, adapted from our second cookbook, No Whine with Dinner.

I had so much fun taking photos of this colorful and nutrient-rich soup!

I grew up in a family of three girls — I’m the “pickle in the middle” — so maybe that’s why I loved Tortilla Soup so much. It’s about a Mexican-American family living in California. The dad is a widower, and his three grown daughters still live under his roof. The dad is a chef, and his elaborate, home-cooked meals always bring the family together. The movie is filled with all sorts of hilarious happenings (which often unfold at the dinner table), though some of the scenes are a bit spicy. Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (AKA Too Hot Tamales) worked on the movie set preparing and styling the food.

I made some tweaks to our original recipe. Instead of using a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce, I used a 15-ounce can of super-flavorful Muir Glen Organic 2012 Reserve Fire Roasted Petite Diced Tomatoes. I pureed the tomatoes before adding because my boys don’t like lumps. I added a few pinches of chipotle chili powder, and for the toppings, I tossed in some leftover roasted chicken.

South-of-the-Border Tortilla Soup

Makes 6 Servings

This recipe is adapted from No Whine with Dinner: 150 Healthy, Kid-Tested Recipes From the Meal Makeover Moms. It calls for making your own corn tortilla chips. But you could certainly use your favorite store-bought chips instead. I love this recipe because it’s perfect for cozy family dinners and entertaining. You can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and opting out of the optional chicken topping.

  • 2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • One 32-ounce carton all-natural chicken broth or vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • One 15-ounce can fire roasted petite diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce), pureed as desired
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • Ten 6-inch corn tortillas, sliced in half and then sliced into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Optional toppings: Shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese, diced avocado, diced roasted chicken, chopped fresh cilantro, reduced-fat sour cream, lime wedges

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili powder and cook an additional 1 minute.

2. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Cover, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F.  Place the corn tortilla strips in a large bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until well coated.  Place on a baking sheet and cook until golden and crispy, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking, 10 to 15 minutes.

4. To add more body to the soup, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl (this is called a slurry). Bring the soup back up to a boil, stir in the slurry, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

5. Serve in individual bowls, top with the tortilla chips and the optional toppings as desired.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1 generous cup): 210 calories, 6g fat (0g saturated, 0.4g omega-3), 630mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 7g protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 10% iron

Print Recipe

I used my Diptic app to merge my two photos together. Which photo do you like better? The one on the left features a flow blue plate that I bought at a local antique shop. The picture on the right showcases a bowl that was handed down from my great grandmother, Katie London. (And yes, she emigrated to the U.S. from the U.K.)

Read on for all of the other amazing and nutritious Oscar party recipes from my fellow Recipe Redux dietitian bloggers:
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12 Responses to “An Oscar Party Recipe for South-of-the-Border Tortilla Soup (Recipe Redux February Challenge)”

  1. Emma Stirling on February 21st, 2013

    Liz this soups looks divine and I’ve never heard of that movie here in Australia – will have to try iTunes.

  2. Dea on February 21st, 2013

    Hi Liz- love the idea of this soup! will definitely try this soup soon- or maybe when the weather gets a bit cold! and I second Emma, I have never heard of that movie!

  3. Danielle Omar - Food Confidence RD on February 21st, 2013

    I’ve never seen the movie but the soup looks great! It’s a great “pantry meal” as I would normally have most of these ingredients on hand!

  4. Katie - Healthy & Happy Hour on February 21st, 2013

    Love that you chose a lesser-known movie, I think it adds to your post. I’m always looking for new soup recipes, especially in light of the snow we just enjoyed in Colorado!

  5. Cherie on February 21st, 2013

    I always love a good tortilla soup! Those Glen Muir tomatoes are fantastic, aren’t they? I love to use that brand when I make salsa.

  6. Deanna Segrave-Daly on February 21st, 2013

    OK, how have I never seen this movie – it’s now on the list! I’m a sucker for tortilla soup but don’t make it enough – now I have reason to. And love the two different style shots – the blue is gorgeous with the soup but I like the backstory on the bowl of course!
    I actually saw one Oscar nominated movie – Argo – and it was fantastic so I’m pulling for my boy Ben :)

  7. Kat @ Eating The Week on February 22nd, 2013

    Glad I read your post & was reminded of this movie – I haven’t seen it but remembered that I’d earmarked it as one to watch. Maybe a good pick for my friends’ upcoming movie club night! Recipe looks great, as always.

  8. Lauren on February 22nd, 2013

    Great idea and looks delicious! I usually have these ingredients on hand, I’m definitely going to have to try this one!!!

  9. Liz on February 23rd, 2013

    You should definitely rent Tortilla Soup for your upcoming movie night. It’s awesome!

  10. Liz on February 23rd, 2013

    I just saw Argo too. Loved it. Glad you like the bowl. I’m totally obsessed with antique dishes!!

  11. Jen on February 23rd, 2013

    Never saw Tortilla Soup but want to now! I could eat soup every day, and will be adding this to my list!

  12. Regan @ The Professional Palate on February 25th, 2013

    Blue bowl for me. Makes the color of the soup look richer :)

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