14 Vegetarian and Vegan Side Dishes for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetarian and Vegan Side Dishes for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Are you looking for delicious vegetarian and vegan side dishes to pair with your chicken tortilla soup?

While tortilla soup is undeniably tasty, the right side dish can elevate your meal. The challenge is finding complementary flavors and textures that don’t rely on meat or animal products.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 14 incredible vegetarian and vegan options that will perfectly accompany your comforting tortilla soup.

From crispy toppings to fresh salads and hearty extras, these side dishes will add variety and depth to your meal without compromising your dietary preferences.

Get ready to discover a world of tasty possibilities to make your tortilla soup experience even more satisfying and enjoyable!

The Importance of Complementary Flavors

When planning a meal with chicken tortilla soup as the star, choosing side dishes is vital in creating a satisfying and well-rounded dining experience.

The right sides can balance the soup’s rich and spicy flavors, enhancing the overall taste and ensuring a diverse palate.

Selecting dishes with complementary flavors and textures can transform a simple tortilla soup into a more fulfilling meal that leaves your taste buds craving more.

Focus on Vegetarian and Vegan Options

There has been a growing demand for vegetarian and vegan options in recent years as more people adopt plant-based diets for health, environmental, or ethical reasons.

By incorporating vegetarian and vegan side dishes into your tortilla soup spread, you demonstrate inclusivity and cater to guests with various dietary restrictions.

Moreover, these options often boast additional health benefits, such as increased fiber and nutrient intake, making them an attractive choice for health-conscious diners.

Adapting Traditional Sides

Many traditional side dishes accompanying chicken tortilla soup can be easily adapted to suit vegetarian and vegan preferences without compromising their essence.

For example, when preparing refried beans, you can substitute meat-based proteins with plant-based alternatives like lentils or mushrooms, maintaining the dish’s heartiness and flavor.

Similarly, when making Mexican cornbread, opt for dairy-free cheese or omit it altogether, ensuring that vegans can enjoy this comforting side.

By making simple swaps and adjustments, you can create delicious and inclusive side dishes that complement your tortilla soup.

Vegetarian Side Dishes For Chicken Tortilla Soup

A wide array of vegetarian side dishes can elevate your chicken tortilla soup meal, offering health benefits and catering to various dietary preferences.

These sides range from crunchy snacks to fresh salads, hearty extras, and flavor enhancers, ensuring something for everyone at the table.

Categories of Vegetarian Side Dishes

  1. Crunchy Snacks: Lightly salted Air Fryer Tortilla Chips and zesty Baked Tortilla Chips seasoned with Mexican spices provide lighter, crispy options for dipping into fresh salsas and creamy guacamole.
  2. Fresh Salads and Slaws: Refreshing Couscous Corn Salad with a tangy lime dressing, crunchy Jicama Salad with a citrusy kick, colorful Mexican Slaw with a zesty dressing, and tangy Red Cabbage Slaw offer crisp textures and vibrant flavors to balance the richness of the soup.
  3. Hearty Sides: Flavorful Instant Pot Mexican Rice infused with tomatoes and spices, creamy Polenta with a smooth texture, protein-packed Quinoa Stuffed Peppers filled with veggies, and tender Slow Cooker Black Beans simmered with aromatic spices add substance and filling options to the meal.
  4. Flavor Enhancers: Smoky Chipotle Salsa blended with roasted peppers and fresh Guacamole made with ripe avocados enhance the dish with bold, fresh flavors that complement the soup’s spices.
  5. Unique Offerings: Mildly spicy Blistered Shishito Peppers with a delightful charred exterior and tender Roasted Mexican Carrots seasoned with cumin and lime add a distinctive, flavorful twist to the palate, offering something different from the usual sides.

List of 14 Vegetarian Side Dishes Complementing Chicken Tortilla Soup

1. Baked or Air Fryer Tortilla Chips

Baked or Air Fryer Tortilla Chips

These crispy chips are lightly salted, ideal for dipping, and contain less oil, making them a guilt-free, healthier choice.

2. Blistered Shishito Peppers

Blistered Shishito Peppers

These mildly spicy peppers offer a subtle heat and a delightful blistered, charred texture that adds interest and depth to the meal.

3. Couscous Corn Salad

Couscous Corn Salad

This refreshing salad combines light, fluffy couscous with sweet corn kernels and a tangy, creamy lime dressing, providing a bright and refreshing side dish.

4. Guacamole


Rich and creamy, made from perfectly ripe avocados and seasoned with fresh lime juice and cilantro, guacamole enhances any dish it accompanies with its smooth texture and vibrant flavors.

5. Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Instant Pot Mexican Rice

Packed with traditional flavors like tomatoes, onions, and aromatic spices, this fluffy rice is easy to make and a comforting addition to any meal.

6. Jicama Salad

Jicama Salad

This crunchy salad features crisp jicama, vibrant bell peppers, and a zesty lime dressing with a hint of chili powder, offering a refreshing contrast to the soup.

7. Mexican Slaw

Mexican Slaw

A colorful and tangy slaw featuring shredded cabbage, carrots, and a zesty lime dressing complements the tortilla soup’s richer, heartier flavors.

8. Polenta


Creamy and soft with a smooth texture, polenta provides a comforting base or side dish that pairs well with the bold flavors of the soup.

9. Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

These hearty peppers are filled with a nutritious blend of quinoa, vegetables, and savory spices, offering a protein-rich and satisfying vegetarian option.

10. Red Cabbage Slaw

Red Cabbage Slaw

Vibrant purple cabbage tossed with a tangy apple cider vinaigrette, this slaw adds a crisp and refreshing element that pairs excellently with rich and creamy soups.

11. Roasted Mexican Carrots

Roasted Mexican Carrots

Tender carrots roasted with aromatic spices like cumin, paprika, and a squeeze of fresh lime, these flavorful veggies offer a satisfying and healthy vegetable side.

12. Slow Cooker Black Beans

Slow Cooker Black Beans

Simple yet flavorful, these tender black beans are slow-cooked with onions, garlic, and aromatic spices, providing a substantial vegetarian protein source.

13. Chipotle Salsa

Chipotle Salsa

This smoky salsa, made with roasted tomatoes and spicy chipotle peppers, adds a bold and fiery layer to any dish it accompanies.

14. Instant Pot Refried Beans

Instant Pot Refried Beans

These vegetarian-friendly refried beans, made without traditional lard and cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot, are a healthy and delicious side dish suitable for all diets.

Vegan Modifications of Vegetarian Side Dishes for Chicken Tortilla Soup

Making vegan modifications to side dishes is crucial for creating inclusive meals that cater to all dietary needs.

By adapting recipes to be vegan-friendly, you ensure that everyone at the table can enjoy the delicious flavors and textures of your side dishes, regardless of their dietary preferences or restrictions.

Common Substitutions

The most frequent ingredient swaps to convert vegetarian dishes to veganism include plant-based dairy alternatives, such as almond, soy, or oat milk, instead of cow’s milk, cheese, or cream.

Replacing honey with agave syrup or maple syrup ensures that the dish is entirely plant-based.

Broth Swaps

Vegetable broth, not broth derived from animal products, is essential when preparing dishes like Mexican rice or soups.

This substitution maintains the richness and depth of flavor while keeping the dish vegan-friendly.

Cheese and Cream Substitutes

For recipes like Mexican Cornbread or Polenta that traditionally contain dairy products, consider using nutritional yeast or vegan cheese alternatives to replicate the flavor and texture.

These substitutes add a savory, cheesy taste without animal products.

Egg Alternatives

In baked goods or dishes that require eggs for binding or leavening, you can substitute flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with water.

These natural alternatives create a gel-like substance that mimics the properties of eggs.

Alternatively, commercial egg replacer products are available for convenience.

Storing Tips for Side Dishes

Optimal Storage Methods

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and quality of your side dishes.

Allow cooked grains like quinoa or rice to cool completely before storing them in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Baked goods, such as Mexican Cornbread, can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days or frozen for longer storage.

Reheating Instructions

When reheating side dishes, it’s important to do so carefully to avoid overcooking or drying them out.

Reheating dishes like Polenta or Quinoa Stuffed Peppers in the oven or microwave with a splash of liquid (water or broth) can help maintain their moisture and texture.

Be sure to stir dishes like rice or beans periodically during reheating to ensure even warmth throughout.


In conclusion, incorporating vegetarian and vegan side dishes into your chicken tortilla soup meal caters to diverse dietary preferences and adds an exciting array of flavors, textures, and nutrients to your dining experience.

Exploring options like crunchy tortilla chips, refreshing salads, hearty beans, and flavorful rice dishes can help you create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that everyone can enjoy.

To ensure inclusivity, consider vegan modifications, such as plant-based alternatives and vegetable broth.

With a little planning and creativity in the kitchen, you can easily prepare these delicious sides simultaneously, making your chicken tortilla soup night a stress-free and memorable occasion.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and prepare to savor a comforting and delicious meal with your loved ones!

Dr. Michael Greger
Dr. Michael Greger

Dr. Michael Greger has made a mark in the field of nutrition and public health and brings over 20 years of experience to our platform. With a medical degree and a specialization in clinical nutrition, his insights are deeply rooted in scientific research. With a career dedicated to nutritional science, he holds an MD and a PhD in Nutrition. Previously, he was a nutrition consultant for various health organizations and a keynote speaker at numerous conferences. He is an amazing chess player who enjoys exploring vegan culinary arts.

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