Recipes » Soups » Vegan Caldo Tlalpeño
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies


  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped and divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 large zucchini, diced into triangles
  • Fresh cilantro and epazote sprigs
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1–2 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • Avocado, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • Warmed corn tortillas, for serving (optional)


  • 1. Prepare the tomato puree: In a medium saucepan, sauté the tomatoes and ½ of the red onion over medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • 2. Transfer the sautéed tomatoes and onion to a blender, add two cloves of the garlic and vegetable broth and blend until smooth.
  • 3. In a medium saucepan, sauté the remaining onion over medium heat for 3–4 minutes. Mince the remaining two cloves of garlic, and add it to the saucepan along with the water, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  • 4. Stir in the tomato puree, chickpeas, zucchini, and a sprig each of cilantro and epazote. Season with salt and add one or two chipotle peppers in adobo, depending on your desired spiciness. Simmer for 3 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • 5. Serve in deep bowls and garnish with avocado chunks, lime juice, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Cooking Tips

  • 1. Traditionally, caldo tlalpeño includes shredded chicken. In this vegan version, the flavor is concentrated in the tomato sauce and the infusion of chipotle peppers and herbs. For a “meaty” substitute, you can add sautéed mushrooms and their cooking juices.
  • 2. You can add other vegetables to the broth, such as green beans or cauliflower, to make it even more nutritious.
  • 3. If you don't have chipotle peppers in adobo, you can use dried guajillo or ancho peppers. Simply soak them in hot water until softened, then blend them with a little bit of the soaking water to make a spicy paste.
  • 4. For an extra smoky flavor, you can roast the tomatoes and onion before blending them for the puree.

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