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Sopa de coditos is a comforting Mexican soup made with elbow macaroni and healthy vegetables covered in a spicy tomato broth. This recipe is quick, budget-friendly, flavorful, and great for all ages.

Close Shot of a Bowl of Vegetable and Elbow Macaroni Soup on a Plate.
Elbow macaroni makes for a hearty soup

πŸ“– About

Sopa de coditos (or elbow macaroni soup) is a very popular recipe originating from Mexico. It goes by different names and has plenty of variations.

In fact, most sopita recipes are interchangeable by simply swapping the pasta variety. A few examples are shell pasta soup (sopa de conchas), star soup (sopa de estrellitas), or noodle soup (sopa de fideo).

Sometimes, this soup contains just coditos and broth. But, it can be filled with other ingredients like cheese or vegetables to bulk it up.

We wanted to make a filling and healthy sopita, so we opted to add fresh local vegetables. We also spiced up the broth with chipotles in adobo because everything is a little better with some heat!

This soup is a great way to use up leftovers kicking around in your fridge. Plus, it’s cost-effective, quick, and easy to make.

History

Although pasta might not be the first thing your mind jumps to when you think of Mexican food, it’s actually quite integral to the cuisine.

Italian culture has influenced many parts of Mexico since major immigration happened in the latter part of the 19th century.

With so much overlap between Mexican and Italian ingredients, it’s no wonder the two cuisines have made such a great fusion.

Using wheat pasta from Italy and cooking techniques from Mexico (like salsa-based broth), sopita recipes have really come into their own.

🌱 Is it vegan?

Sopa de coditos is generally vegetarian and vegan-friendly, but there are a couple of things to watch out for:

  • Broth: Vegetable broth is common, but chicken stock or broth are occasionally used instead. If you aren’t making it at home, just double check.
  • Pasta: Ensure your pasta doesn’t contain any egg or dairy products.
Tomatoes, Elbow Macaroni, Chipotles in Adobo, Cilantro, Onion, Vegetable Broth, Garlic, Carrots, Celery, and Zucchini.
Fresh ingredients really make a difference

🍲 Ingredients & substitutions

For complete ingredient measurements and instructions, see our recipe card.

  • Coditos: Use elbow macaroni or any pasta variety you prefer like short vermicelli, shell pasta, star pasta, rotini, or alphabet pasta.
  • Tomatoes: We use Roma tomatoes in this sopita, but feel free to use canned tomatoes or other tomato varieties. Tomatoes are one of the most abundant sources of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Chipotles: For spice and smokiness, we like adding chipotles in adobo. They are optional, so feel free to use other Mexican chiles or omit them altogether.
  • Onion, garlic: Used to add depth and savoury flavors. If you don’t have any fresh onions or garlic, just use powdered.
  • Vegetables: To add bulk, texture, and flavor, we prefer carrots, zucchini, and celery. You can use other vegetables like green peas, corn, mushrooms, potatoes, or peppers.
  • Cilantro: Used to infuse the broth. Serve more on top of your sopita with a squeeze of lime juice to add a fresh element.

πŸ”ͺ Instructions

If you have questions about this sopa de coditos recipe, check out our FAQs or leave a comment.

Step 1: Add tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, chipotles in adobo, and about 1 cup of vegetable broth to a blender. Mix everything on high until the consistency is smooth, then set that aside.

Blended Tomato Salsa in a Blender.
The tomato salsa should be smooth

Step 2: Heat some olive oil in a stockpot over medium. Add the elbow macaroni in and toast them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden.

Toasting Macaroni, Cooking Vegetables, Adding Tomato Salsa, and Simmering Vegetable Soup in a Stockpot.

Step 3: Add in the carrots and celery, and let those cook for another few minutes. Transfer the tomato salsa into the pot and season for another 5 minutes, then pour in the rest of the broth and cilantro sprigs.

Vegetable Broth With Zucchini Simmering in a Stockpot.
Add zucchini last so it doesn’t overcook

Step 4: Bring your soup to a light boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add in the zucchini and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the pasta and vegetables are tender.

Bowl of Sopa de Coditos With Lime Wedges on the Side.
Serve sopa de coditos warm or cold!

Step 5: Taste and season with salt and pepper to your preference, then serve your soup with a squeeze of lime, cilantro, hot sauce, or corn tortillas. Happy eating!

πŸ₯— Serving suggestions

Sopitas are often served “as-is” or with a simple squeeze of lime. But, you can make your bowl of soup more robust by serving it with the following:

🌑️ Storage

Sopa de coditos makes a great meal for leftovers. Keep the following storage times in mind:

  • Fridge: After cooling, sopa de coditos lasts in the fridge for up to 4 days. The pasta will soak up some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to add more liquid as you go.
  • Freezer: This recipe should last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to store it in freezer-safe bags or containers. Thaw the amount you’ll be eating in your fridge overnight.
  • Reheat: Heat the soup over medium-low for about 10 minutes on the stove, or until its warmed all the way through.
Spoon Holding up Vegetables, Broth, and Elbow Macaroni Over a Bowl of Sopa de Coditos.
Add vegetables to make your soup more filling

♻️ Variations

  • Oil-free: Don’t fry the noodles to limit or omit the oil in your soup. It adds a nice toasty flavor but is absolutely not necessary.
  • Use spices: Try using Mexican oregano, cumin, coriander, cayenne, or paprika to change the flavors of this dish.
  • Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free pasta brand in place of the wheat-based pasta like Barilla.
  • Add cheese. Some sopitas include meltable cheese in the cooking process. Add some shredded vegan mozzarrella to see what you prefer.

πŸ§‘β€πŸ³ Top tips

  • Make it brothy. For extra hydration and fullness, don’t be shy with the vegetable broth! It will also stretch your soup longer.
  • Eat it hot. We always find the pasta tastes best when it’s served soon after making the soup.
  • Watch the pasta. To avoid burning your coditos, don’t stray far from the pot while they are toasting.
  • Time the vegetables. For evenly cooked veggies, add the zucchini or other soft vegetables in at the end.

πŸ’¬ FAQ

Is sopa de coditos gluten-free?

No, coditos (elbow macaroni) are made from wheat. To make a gluten-free version, swap in any brand of short pasta that doesn’t contain wheat or gluten products. See our variations for tips.

What do I do if my soup turns mushy?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if the macaroni overcooks or turns mushy. But, the recipe will still taste great! Just note, the longer it sits in your fridge, the softer the macaroni will become.

Close Shot of a Bowl of Sopa de Coditos.

Sopa de Coditos

Mitch and Justine
Sopa de coditos is a quick, easy, and comforting Mexican soup. A lightly spiced broth surrounds tender noodles and fresh vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and celery.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican, Vegan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 270 kcal

Equipment

  • Stock pot
  • Chef knife & cutting board

Ingredients
 

Sauce

  • 3 Roma tomatoes ($0.48)
  • 1 small white onion, quartered ($0.24)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled ($0.08)
  • 1-2 chipotles in adobo, seeded ($0.04)

Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil ($0.11)
  • 7 ounces elbow macaroni ($0.22)
  • 1 medium carrot, diced ($0.14)
  • 2 small stalks celery, diced ($0.10)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth ($0.40)
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro ($0.01)
  • Β½ medium zucchini, diced ($0.08)
  • Salt & pepper to taste ($0.02)

Garnishes optional

Instructions
 

  • Add tomatoes, onions, garlic, chipotles in adobo, and 1 cup of broth to a blender. Mix on high until smooth, then set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium. Add the macaroni in and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden brown.
  • Add in the carrots and celery, cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Transfer the tomato mixture into the pot and season for another 5 minutes, then pour in the rest of the broth and cilantro sprigs.
  • Bring to a light boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add in the zucchini and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the pasta and vegetables are tender.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper to your preference, then serve immediately with a squeeze of lime, cilantro, hot sauce, corn tortillas, etc. Happy eating!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Make it brothy. For extra hydration and fullness, don’t be shy with the vegetable broth! It will also stretch your soup longer.
  • Eat it hot. We always find the pasta tastes best when it’s served soon after making the soup.
  • Watch the pasta. To avoid burning your coditos, don’t stray far from the pot while they are toasting.
  • Time the vegetables. For evenly cooked veggies, add the zucchini or other soft vegetables in at the end.
  • Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
  • We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.4g | Protein: 7.8g | Fat: 4.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1483.9mg | Potassium: 409.6mg | Fiber: 4.2g | Sugar: 8.3g | Vitamin A: 4036.8IU | Vitamin C: 18.8mg | Calcium: 40.4mg | Iron: 1.2mg
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🍴 Similar recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out some of our other popular soups and stews:

  • Sopa de habas: A 1-pot meal with tender fava beans, vegetables, spicy chiles, and loads of garnishes.
  • Sopa de lentejas: Another great meal-prep recipe featuring fiber and protein-rich lentils.
  • Pozole rojo: A plant-based take on this traditional hominy soup.
  • Sopa de tortilla: Crispy strips of corn tortillas covered with a tomato and chile-infused broth.
  • Potato soup: A quick, easy, and creamy potato soup made with just 4 ingredients.

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