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Food & Drink


Sopa De Letras (alphabet soup) is a hearty and delicious Mexican tomato soup. It’s full of flavor. This soup is perfect for a weeknight meal if you want a large bowl of comforting food. The meal is easy to make (it takes only 20 minutes!) It’s vegan, and you can freeze a large batch! Note: You will be searching for words with every spoonful.

What is SOPA de Letras?

This Mexican soup is made from toasted alphabet noodles, vegetables, spices, and broth. This quick and easy recipe is perfect for days when you have no time to cook. My friend Yvette Sharpnack gave me this recipe, who has just published it in Muy Bueno Fiestas, her latest cookbook. The book is a must-read for anyone who loves easy, delicious, and approachable Mexican food. Her recipes are fantastic!

Ingredients for SOPA de Letras

It only takes a few simple steps to make this soup! If you want a simple and filling recipe perfect for busy days, here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Sopa De Letras.

Alphabet Pasta – You can find this tiny pasta in the Latin aisle of most supermarkets. You can substitute it with other small pasta like ditalini or couscous. Or you can use star-shaped pasta to make Sopa de Estrellitas.

Roma Tomatoes- form the base for the broth. The tangy, savory flavor of tomatoes enhances the flavor. You can use 1 pound of fresh tomatoes or a 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes.

Garlic and Onions are aromatics that add earthy sweetness and complexity. Substitute the onion for 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and the garlic for 1/8 teaspoon.

Vegetable Broth makes this soup vegetarian, but you can use chicken broth instead if that is what you have.

Topplings for SOPA de Letras

Enjoy your soup just as it is, or spice things up with tasty toppings!

Yogurt or sour cream will add richness and tanginess to your soup.

Shredded Cheese adds creaminess and flavor.

Cilantro adds a herbaceousness to the soup and adds a splash of color.

Add lime wedges to the soup for acidity and brightness

Hot Sauce and Chile Flakes will add some heat to your soup.

Chopped Avocado adds creaminess and bulk.

What to serve with Sopa de Letras

Add some sides to make the soup more filling. Serve it with Cilantro Lime Rice or Homemade Garlic bread. Or Southwest Salad With Taco Ranch Dressing. You can serve the soup with Black Bean and Avocado Enchiladas or Sheet pan Chicken Fajitas.

How to store SOPA de Letras

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove. You may need to add veggie broth when reheating the pasta, as it will absorb much of the broth. You can freeze the broth if you want to. When you reheat the broth, add the pasta after toasting it.


Half white onion quartered (0.33)

3 Roma tomatoes, quartered ($1.35)

One clove of garlic, coarsely chopped (0.07)

Black pepper, 1/2 tsp ($0.02)

2 cups vegetable broth ($0.37)

2 tbsp Olive Oil ($0.12)

7 oz alphabet pasta ($4.42)

2 Cups Water ($0.01)

Salt to taste: 1/4 tsp (or more if you like)


Combine the onion, tomato, garlic, pepper, and veggie broth in a blender and puree until smooth.

Warm the oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the alphabet noodles and stir until they are lightly toasted. This should take 1-2 minutes.

Stir well and add the pureed mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until it thickens and turns dark.

Stirring occasionally, add the Water, and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve with salt and ladle the soup into bowls.

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Joseph M. Kay

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