This super quick vegan tortellini soup features vegan tortellini in a creamy tomato broth. It’s comforting, hearty and very delicious!
Creamy vegan soup
This vegan tortellini soup recipe is really all about the broth.
It’s a creamy vegan soup that’s nut-free, soy-free and dairy-free while still being silky, rich, and delicious.
This recipe is based off the creamy vegan tomato soup recipe that I published years ago.
The beauty of that recipe is that it uses three types of tomato products - crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sun dried tomatoes - for a deep, umami tomato flavor.
The sun dried tomatoes are blended in to make the soup thick and creamy before any vegan cream substitute is added. That way, it only needs a small amount of coconut milk for fattiness and flavor without a noticeable taste of coconut.
At the time I thought it would make a great vegan tortellini soup but suddenly I couldn’t find vegan tortellini anywhere and I definitely don’t have the patience to make tortellini from scratch!
A new vegan grocery store opened up in my city and low and behold - vegan tortellini!
So now I can finally make the vegan tortellini soup I’ve been dreaming about for all these years!
Tortellini is generally not vegan. The pasta usually contains egg and the filling can be some kind of ground meat or a vegetarian version featuring cheese.
Fortunately, nowadays there’s many brands of vegan tortellini available in larger supermarkets or online.
If you live in North America you’ll most likely be familiar with the Kite Hill brand with a filling of almond milk ricotta.
The vegan tortellini I’ve used is a German brand with a filling of porcini mushrooms and onion.
If you can’t find vegan tortellini in stores and you’re really determined you can use any of the vegan tortellini recipes available online to make it yourself, despite how tedious it is!
What is in tortellini soup?
In Italy tortellini is traditionally served in a beef broth and resembles a soup but is nothing like the creamy tortellini soup recipe that’s popular in North America.
I googled but couldn’t figure out where this American tortellini soup originated.
Is it an Olive Garden thing? They have a way of “adapting” Italian recipes so much that they no longer resemble how the dish is served in Italy.
(Just check out my pasta e fagioli soup recipe for an example of the Italian version and how different it is from what most people familiar with the Olive Garden version think pasta e fagioli is).
If you google tortellini soup you’ll be presented with a creamy soup, generally tomato-based but not always, that contains tortellini, sausage, and kale.
Vegan versions of tortellini soup will sometimes try to replace the sausage with beans or a store-bought vegan sausage meat substitute.
Personally, I didn’t think it was necessary to try to replace the sausage because I wanted my recipe to be as simple as possible and I don’t like copying what everyone else does, lol.
Since “tortellini soup” isn’t an Italian thing anyway I decided to do it my own way.
My vegan tortellini soup features plant-based tortellini in a creamy tomato broth with a bit of fresh basil sprinkled over it. Simple and delicious!
This vegan tortellini soup features three kinds of tomato for maximum complexity and flavor. Coconut milk adds creaminess but since it’s such a small amount, it doesn’t make the soup taste like coconut at all.
Vegan tortellini: Large supermarkets with a good vegan selection often have a vegan tortellini, usually the Kite Hill brand or you can also easily order online. You can make vegan tortellini at home if you’re really determined.
Sun dried tomatoes: Use jarred sun dried tomatoes packed in oil to take advantage of the flavorful oil to fry the onion and garlic. Sun dried tomatoes add not only a wonderful umami flavor but also help to thicken the soup when blended.
Tomato paste: Tomato paste adds more umami and a touch of sweetness since sometimes canned crushed tomatoes can be rather sour.
Crushed tomatoes: As I mentioned, canned tomatoes can sometimes be a bit sour. The tomato paste helps to offset this a bit but if your soup end up particularly sour you can add half a teaspoon or so of sugar at the end.
Vegetable stock: Choosing low sodium stock helps you control the saltiness of the soup. Use a nice, flavorful store-bought brand or make your own stock from veggie scraps.
Coconut milk: We want creaminess so use full fat coconut milk in a can. If you don’t have/like coconut milk, you can substitute a vegan cream product or cashew cream made from blended raw cashews.
Onion and garlic: Like every good soup, these make up the flavor base.
Basil: Some fresh basil is a delicious garnish. You could substitute it with dried basil or parsley, if desired.
Salt and sugar: Salt to season and the sugar is optional if you're crushed tomatoes are sour.
How to make vegan tortellini soup
What you’ll love about this soup is how easy and simple it is to prepare while being extremely flavorful and comforting!
Prep: Start by putting a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, dice up the onion and garlic. Also, roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes until they measure half a cup.
Cook: When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it for the length of time indicated on the package. In my case it was 12 - 15 minutes.
Sautee: While the pasta cook, heat a couple tablespoons of the sun dried tomato oil in a large pot over medium heat. Fry the onion until soft and transparent, then add the garlic and fry for another minute or so until soft.
Add the tomato paste and fry for a couple of minutes until it darkens slightly in color.
Simmer: Toss in the sun dried tomatoes, crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Blend: Using an immersion blender or carefully transferring the soup to an upright blender, blend the soup until no chunks remain.
Blend in the coconut milk and season to taste with salt.
Combine: When the tortellini is cooked, drain it. You can add all the pasta to the soup directly or you can do what I do and divide the pasta amongst the serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.
I do it that way in case there are any leftovers. I don’t like to store soup with pasta in it because the pasta tends to go mushy.
Garnish each bowl with some fresh basil and vegan Parmesan, if desired.
Substitutions and variations
Protein: Most recipes for “tortellini soup” will call for sausage. You can add a vegan protein to this recipe in the form of kidney or white beans, brown lentils, or a store-bought vegan sausage product.
Veggies: You can add pretty much any veggie: diced carrot, celery, spinach, kale, etc.
Cream: If you don’t like coconut or are allergic, you can substitute a store-bought vegan cream product or make cashew cream by blending raw cashews with water or plant-based milk.
Garnishes: I sprinkled some basil but you could use parsley or swap the fresh basil for dried. Vegan Parmesan is delicious grated over the soup or some croutons.
Spice: Add some spice in the form of red pepper flakes in with the garlic.
Tortellini is traditionally filled with ground meat, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Vegan tortellini can be filled with a nut- or tofu-based ricotta, mushrooms or vegetables.
Tortellini is not usually vegan because the pasta is made with egg and the filling contains meat and cheese. Several brands of vegan tortellini have become available in supermarkets and online in recent years.
Tortellini in brodo is the traditional recipe for tortellini. It is meat-filled tortellini served in beef stock. It does not resemble the tortellini soup that is popular in North America.
You can cook tortellini in soups that call for a lot of stock. I don’t recommend cooking the tortellini in the soup for this recipe because the broth is too thick.
Tortellini will float to the surface when it is cooked.
Vegan tortellini can sometimes be hard to find. You can substitute another type of pasta. For my creamy vegan tomato soup recipe that uses the same base soup as this vegan tortellini soup, I used alphabet pasta.
I recommend storing the cooked tortellini separate from the soup so that the pasta doesn’t become mushy. Store both in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Can you freeze tortellini soup? Just like with refrigerating leftovers, if you freeze the pasta in the soup it will likely become mushy upon reheating.
If you cooked the pasta separately from the soup, you can freeze the soup (for up to 4 months) and cook some fresh tortellini when you’re ready to serve.
How do you reheat tortellini soup? You can reheat tortellini soup either in the microwave or on the stovetop.
What to eat with tortellini soup?
Like with any good soup recipe, you can’t go wrong with some crusty bread and a green salad.
Other side dishes for tortellini soup include:
- Roasted artichokes
- Garlic bread
- Black lentil salad
- Pesto quinoa salad
- Stuffed sweet potatoes
- Any kind of roasted vegetable with authentic romesco sauce.
- Vegan grilled cheese sandwich
Vegan Tortellini Soup
- 1 (9 oz / 250 gram) package vegan tortellini
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup (100 grams / 3.5 oz) roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 ¼ cups (540 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 (400 gram / 14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup (120 ml) full-fat coconut milk, from a can
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
- Optional: chopped basil or parsley, grated vegan Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the tortellini and cook for the length of time indicated on the package. In my case it was 12 minutes. When cooked, drain.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes in a large pot over medium heat. Fry the onions until soft and transparent then add the garlic and fry for a minute or so more until soft and transparent.
- Add the tomato paste and stir well. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the tomato paste has darkened slightly in colour.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, vegetable stock and can of crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a blender and blend, with the lid ajar to allow steam to escape, until smooth.
- Blend in the coconut milk. If you're worried you might be able to taste it, add it a quarter cup at a time, tasting as you go, until you're happy with the creaminess. Taste and add salt. If you find it a bit sour, add the sugar. If you'd like it thinner, add another splash of stock. Add the cooked tortellini and garnish with chopped basil, if desired.