When I was in graduate school, the small campus cafe was a great place to study with a snack. My friends and I would often walk there between classes to squeeze in some extra steps, pick up a cup of coffee, and to chat with our friend who worked behind the counter. Being a frugal student, I rarely bought lunch from the cafe – unless it was tomato tortellini soup day.Jump to Recipe
Tomato tortellini soup at our campus cafe was a transcendent experience. Creamy and tangy and bursting with flavor, this soup was always worth forgoing whatever I had packed and spending a little extra cash. This rare occasion, occurring only a couple of times each month, was remarkable enough that once news reached our classroom, we knew we had to rush to the cafe to buy a bowl before they sold out.
I’ve tried to re-create the experience of tomato tortellini soup for you to try at home. It’s vegetarian friendly – and even vegan friendly, if you can find vegan tortellini near you. My favorite part about this soup? It’s incredibly fast and easy to throw together. Including cook time, you can go from pantry to table in just 30 minutes. While I couldn’t quite grasp the nostalgia, I think you’ll still find this soup worth the effort, especially on chilly weeknights when you need a quick yet hearty meal.
You’ll need a few basic ingredients for this recipe.
- Avocado oil (to sauté your vegetables)
- Crushed tomatoes AND diced tomatoes
- Several herbs, either dried or fresh – oregano, basil, and cilantro
- Vegetable broth
- Coconut milk, for creaminess (though you can substitute heavy cream if dairy is not an issue)
- Cheese tortellini (you may substitute vegan tortellini, if it’s available in your area)
- Grated parmesan for garnish (again, optional)
Start by getting out a Dutch oven or your favorite soup pot and placing it over medium heat. Dice your onions and mince your garlic before sautéing them in the avocado oil, until the onions are translucent.
Add tomatoes and spices, stirring to combine, before pouring in vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. This will help thicken the soup and also bring the flavors together. Pro tip: cover the pot while it simmers to avoid getting tomato splatters all over your kitchen (and yourself).
Next, pour in your coconut milk (or heavy cream, if that is your preference). If you like the way the soup looks right now and don’t want to alter the texture, proceed to the next step. If you would prefer the soup to be slightly less chunky and slightly more creamy, get out your immersion blender. I blended mine on high for 10-15 seconds total in order to get a creamy soup with just a few tomato chunks remaining. Once you have finished blending, make sure your soup is at a robust simmer before moving on to the next step.
Pour one 9-ounce package of refrigerated tortellini into your simmering soup and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, until the pasta is tender. You are welcome to use dry tortellini, or to adjust the amount of tortellini you use. When I used two nine-ounce packages, the dish turned out less like a soup and more like tortellini bathed in a thin sauce.
Disclaimer: I’ve never made this dish using dried tortellini. If that is the type available to you, I recommend following the package instructions and cooking (probably boiling for 15-18 minutes in salted water) before adding to the hot soup base I’ve described above. If you’ve used this method at home and have any recommendations, feel free to let me know in the comments!
Voila! Your tomato tortellini soup is ready to enjoy – perhaps with a garnish of aged parmesan cheese. I hope it lives up to your expectations for a tangy, wistful, creamy dish. If you make it at home, please tag @WhiskAverseBaking on social media, or leave a message in the comments below.
Tomato Tortellini Soup
- 2 yellow onions diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15- oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon cilantro
- 1 cup coconut milk can substitute ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 package cheese tortellini can substitute vegan tortellini
- Grated parmesan optional, for garnish
- In Dutch oven or other large pot, saute onions in avocado oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook one additional minute.
- Add diced tomatoes and spices and stir. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for an additional 10-12 minutes.
- Pour in coconut milk. Optionally, you may use an immersion blender to ensure that all ingredients are pureed to your preferred texture.
- Add refrigerated tortellini and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Serve immediately.