This easy Calabacitas Soup is a combo of three of my favorite creations on the site:
Souper Broth -- a tomato-onion-garlic broth that's wildly satisfying and acts as the base for Albondigas Soup and Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Better Vegetable Stock -- a homemade veggie stock that's easy to make and has a bump in flavor from some nutritional yeast.
Calabacitas -- a delightful zucchini and corn dish that has quickly become one of the most viewed recipes on the site.
But if you want to make this soup NOW, then don't worry about making your own veggie stock -- just keep it in mind for the future as it will give you a major upgrade in flavor compared to store-bought stock.
The key to the Souper Broth is to roast the tomatoes so we'll start with that.
They'll need about 20 minutes in the oven (400F) but I frequently just grab them when I need them.
A quick saute of the onion and garlic really adds some depth to the broth, so we'll give a roughly chopped onion and 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves a few minutes in some oil over medium heat.
Once the onion is starting to brown we'll add it to a blender where it will wait patiently for the roasted tomatoes.
We'll also add a sliver of jalapeno.
Blend and take a taste.
For more heat simply add more jalapeno. I like this dish best when it has mild heat so I only used half of a jalapeno.
When you combine this tomato-onion-garlic mixture with some high-quality stock then you've officially got Souper Broth on your hands! It could easily be eaten on its own and it will give you a great foundation for your homemade soups.
For the Calabacitas we'll start by cooking some finely chopped onion over medium heat.
Once the onion is starting to brown we'll add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30-60 seconds. Then we'll add:
1.5 lbs. chopped zucchini (approx. 2 larger zucchinis)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
Briefly cook and then add the tomato mixture from the blender.
I usually let this cook a couple minutes, and then add 5 cups of stock and 2 cups corn.
I used canned corn (drained and rinsed) but if using fresh corn you can add it in when you add the zucchini.
Once it comes up to a simmer it's ready to serve. I usually don't let it go much longer or the zucchini will get mushy.
Be sure to take a final taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt so that's close to 1.5 teaspoons for the whole batch, but keep in mind this will depend on which stock you use.
The zucchini gets along so well with this tomato mixture, and when you let it swim in some Souper Broth it gets even better. I'm always amazed at the flavor produced from such a simple, healthy list of ingredients -- I hope you are too!
Okay don't forget that your choice of stock will impact this Calabacitas Soup, so try to use some stock that you trust. And if you want to experiment with a homemade batch then see this Better Vegetable Stock.
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- 1.5 lbs. zucchini (approx. 2 larger zucchinis)
- 1/2 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups corn (I used a single can)
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- freshly chopped cilantro (optional)
- squeeze of lime (optional)
For the broth:
- 4-5 plum tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 5 cups stock
- 1 jalapeno
- Give the tomatoes a good rinse and roast them in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes or so. I usually de-stem them knowing that any juices leftover in the roasting pan will go in the blender.
- Saute a roughly chopped onion and 3 whole, peeled garlic cloves in a glug of oil over medium heat. When the onion starts to turn brown (approx. 6-8 minutes) add the mixture to a blender or food processor along with the roasted tomatoes and 1/4 or 1/2 of the jalapeno. Combine well and taste for heat, adding more jalapeno for more heat. I like this dish best with only mild heat so I used only 1/2 of the jalapeno.
- Finely chop 1/2 onion and get it cooking in some oil over medium heat.
- As the onion cooks you can prep the zucchini. Give the zucchinis a good rinse and cut them up into 1/4" sized pieces -- be sure to cut off the ends and discard.
- When the onion starts to brown add two minced garlic cloves and cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the chopped zucchini to the onion-garlic mixture in the pan, along with 1 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano. Stir well and let it saute briefly.
- Add the tomato mixture from the blender to the pan. I usually let this cook for a couple minutes, then adding in 5 cups of stock along with 2 cups of corn. Note: I used a single can of corn, drained and rinsed, but if using fresh corn you can add it in when you add the zucchini.
- Bring this up to a simmer and take a final taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch, so that is close to 1.5 teaspoons total for this batch, but keep in mind this will vary based on which stock you're using.
- Serve immediately with your choice of fixings. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Want to see the latest recipe? It's this Easy Taco Salad.
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I made this soup because my niece loves calabacitas. It has such a fresh and unique flavor blend. Absolutely wonderful recipe!
Delicious right out of the gate (and I stuck to the recipe without changes the first time through). Best part, though, was coming in the next day from three hours of snowshoeing and finding one, last bowlful ready to heat and enjoy. Sopa Calabacita, fresh corn tortillas with melty cheese: Yeah!
Ha yes that is a perfect way to warm up, thanks for your note PSP. Cheers.
Charles Michael Waddington
Howdy. Merry Christmas! Was wondering if you have tried any other vegetable than zucchini. I was thinking peas or maybe Lima beans or green beans ? Thank you for your time!
Hey Chaz! Hmmm I almost always use zucchini with this recipe and haven't really tried it with much else. Cheers.
What fixings do you recommend for this soup? Excited to try this recipe!!!
Hey Natasha! My default for soups is crispy, cheesy corn tortillas, sometimes with refried beans inside them 🙂 Just add cheese to a corn tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat. Once it warms up a bit you can fold it in half, then cooking each side until light brown spots are forming.
This sounds delicious. Calabacitas are a favorite in my family. I actually just made a guisado with calabacitas for my parents' 46th anniversary "party." I'll definitely be trying this recipe when the weather cools down a bit.
Thanks Stephanie, I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Loved this soup! The zucchini I had lying around found itself in an exciting dish.
Surprised by the kick the nutritional yeast gave the broth.
Thanks Mary Anne! Yeah I'm a huge fan of that nutritional yeast now 🙂 Cheers.
Thanks, Patrick! I really love your soup stocks and this Calabacitas Soup sounds like a winner. Looking forward to trying it.
Thanks Skyye! So glad to hear you are making your own soup stocks...such a gamechanger! Cheers.