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Nourishing Soups Series: Salsa Soup (a Starter Soup)

“That dip is good enough to eat with a SPOON!”

Ever said that about something into which you’re only supposed to dip carrots or chips?

This salsa soup recipe is a way to cut out the middleman and have an easy starter for Mexican night. While you’re finishing up the homemade tortillas, or better yet, while one of the spicy casseroles from Better Than a Box is baking, the family can sit down and have some nourishing homemade stock and vegetables before digging into the main course.

Homemade Salsa Soup

The salsa soup is a very simple, meatless soup meant to be served as a “starter soup,” a pretty neat technique for getting healthy foods in first. Particularly if you have young children who might not be huge fans of soup (or vegetables, or both), serve the soup first with a few toppings and no chips (or very few).

Winter Soups - a best of community cookbook

You’ll be amazed at how the combination of genuine healthy hunger and pureed vegetables that they can’t see to identify or pick out works to get even picky eaters to the bottom of the bowl. (Important note: This strategy will not work if you allow your kids to eat within an hour of dinner. Say, “The kitchen is closed,” starting by 4:00 or 4:30.)

This recipe is the child of my canned salsa recipe and Kimi Harris’s Mexican Tortilla Soup from the book Ladled (found on Amazon), from which many of my soup recipes are inspired.

Homemade Salsa Soup

This post is sponsored by Real Salt, because any soup – but especially simple purees – are only as good as the perfection of the amount of salt in the stock. Real Salt is an American-mined, unrefined sea salt that is our family’s favorite (we buy it by the 10-pound bucket). Real Salt has over 60 trace minerals (white table salt has two, whoop-de-doo), has been hidden from modern pollution for centuries (it’s from an underground ancient sea in Utah), and turns on its head the notion that salt is bad for you. Click HERE for a quick video explaining why unrefined salt is actually necessary for good health.

Recipe: Salsa “Starter” Soup

Homemade Salsa Soup
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Salsa Soup (a Starter Soup)

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer


Serve this soup at the beginning of a Mexican meal. Pureeing vegetables is a great way to get kids to eat them since you can’t pick anything out, plus kids are hungriest at the beginning of the meal – so serve a starter soup as a first course all by itself, not next to the rest of the plate.


  • 12 Tbs. fat of your choice
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 34 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash cayenne
  • 4 c. homemade chicken stock
  • 2 c. diced tomatoes (1 can with juice)
  • 1/4 c. uncooked white rice or 2-4 c. cooked brown rice (optional)
  • green pepper
  • spicy peppers
  • greens: kale, spinach, chard, etc.
  • cubed avocado
  • sour cream
  • squeeze of lime
  • fresh cilantro
  • shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
  • diced red onion

ship kroger


  1. Melt fat (lard, butter, ghee, refined coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)) over medium heat. Saute the peppers and onions for 5-10 minutes until softened. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne and stir for 1-2 minutes. Pour in stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  2. If you are adding the rice, stir it into the boiling broth, reduce heat to a simmer and cook at least 15 minutes until the rice is tender. For grain-free OR to serve over already-cooked rice, just cook for 5 minutes to let the flavors blend together.
  3. Turn off the heat and blend partially (or completely) with an immersion blender.
  4. If using cooked rice, put a large spoonful of warm rice in each bowl and ladle the soup overtop.
  5. Serve with cheese, chopped fresh cilantro and/or some of the other ideas below.


* If you have too many tomatoes to can, freeze or eat at the end of the season (or the middle), this is a great way to use a bunch of them.

* If the soup seems flat, add salt. Homemade stock often needs plenty of salt to magnify the flavors.

* Don’t have Mexican oregano? You should buy some and use it for refried beans too (try Mountain Rose Herbs (Link Removed)), but in the meantime, regular oregano is just fine.

* Don’t have an immersion blender? You should buy one; they have so many handy, time-saving uses, but in the meantime, you can eat the soup without blending or wait for it to cool slightly, then carefully pour into a regular blender and puree gently. You may need to work in two batches depending on the size of your blender.

* Feel free to use a good vegetable broth instead of chicken stock if you need a totally meatless dish. If you’re making your own stock, you might want to include plenty of garlic and maybe even some peppers.

* It’s the perfect opportunity to use the “bottom of the bag” chips (tortilla chips). You can even save the crumbles in the freezer until you have a bunch and serve with this soup.

  • Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!
Homemade Salsa Soup

As with any simple soup, it’s really all about the toppings. You can keep it really basic with nothing on top and dip quesadillas or chips into it, or you can add multiple goodies on top, a squeeze of lime or some cheese and make it something really special.

Homemade Salsa Soup

Certainly one could also add chicken or taco meat and make it a whole meal, or pair with a taco salad for a warming winter upgrade. Yum!

Kid friendly Salsa Soup

If you like the idea of “vegetables first” on Mexican night, be sure to pin this recipe for later – and let me know if you try it out!

Check out the rest of the Nourishing Soup Series:

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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6 thoughts on “Nourishing Soups Series: Salsa Soup (a Starter Soup)”

  1. Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

    This looks spectacular. I’ll be sharing it with my FB fans on Monday – and I’ll be making it for lunch too with a grilled panini on the side. YUM! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Blessings, sweet friend, Kelly

  2. I have to reply here to your attune article because I’m the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a facebook account 😉

    I read about the trans fat ban too, although I’m worried that the food companies will replace trans fats with other unhealthy fats like vegetable oils. The NY Times article said Crisco has already replaced trans fats in their products, not sure with what. Probably still better, though.

    I think about this issue a lot. I want to be able to cheat and eat unhealthy foods once in a while, but I’m not sure it’s worth it when I do. This summer, 2 months after my baby was born, I decided it would be fine if I had an ice cream cone but then ended up with mastitis the next day. Later in the summer I had a weekend of cheating at a family reunion because I didn’t want to be weird and offensive and bring my own food. This was also combined with disrupted sleep and the day we got home I had a UTI that went into my kidneys and I had to use antibiotics, which I despise. My kids also got sick that day with hand, food and mouth disease. I decided that next time I’ll risk being offensive and bring at least some of our own food. I also think that missing my probiotics that weekend contributed to it, so maybe that’s the key. Of course, I don’t get sick every time I eat a cheat food, but it’s happened often enough that it gives me pause.

    1. Lindsey,
      Ugh, that’s hard to notice correlations like that and regret the cheats. 🙁

      And Crisco got rid of trans fats?? That seems so weird, because Crisco IS a trans fat right? I wonder what they are using…veg oils aren’t solid. ???

      At Attune if you scroll down past the FB comments, they have regular comments too – but I agree it’s a little confusing. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

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