Tortilla & squash blossom soup

Tortilla & squash blossom soup

V is for Vegan

This is a big favourite in the United States and Mexico, but you don’t see it very much in the UK. Do not be afraid: the high proportion of dried chillies is not spicy, as pasilla and anchos are very mild. They do give a deep, authentic taste to the soup. This is a very Frida Kahlo-esque soup – colourful and floral. I once did a Frida Kahlo-themed supper club and almost every guest arrived with a drawn-on mono-brow.

Only add the flowers towards the end of the cooking, as they just need to wilt in the steam of the soup. But if they are the female courgette flowers, which have a tiny courgette attached, cook them a little longer in the heat of the soup so that the courgette part softens a bit.

You can use courgette flowers or any flowers from squash, but remove the larger stamens from squash flowers. Check the insides for insects. To obtain these flowers, make friends with a gardener or, ideally, grow your own.


Quantity Ingredient
5 dried pasilla or ancho chillies
3-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
olive or vegetable oil
2 white onions, diced
5 tomatoes, diced
750ml vegetable stock
1-2cm achiote paste
10-15 squash or courgette flowers
1 lime, juiced
handful coriander leaves
sea salt
4-6 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
or blue or white corn tortilla chips, to garnish


  1. Soak the chillies and retain the red-coloured soaking water.
  2. In the meantime, toast the garlic cloves in a little oil in a frying pan over a low heat until softened – about 15 minutes. Slip off the skins and blend the garlic in a food processor with the drained chillies and a little of the reserved red chilli water.
  3. Fry the onions in some oil in a large saucepan until soft, then add the tomatoes and fry lightly. Add the chilli and garlic mixture and stir well. Then add the stock and achiote paste, taste and add a little salt, depending on how salty your stock is.
  4. Cook for at least 30 minutes over a medium-low heat, stirring from time to time, then add the squash or courgette flowers and lime juice. Check and adjust the seasoning and add the coriander leaves.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the fried tortilla strips or chips and serve at once.
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