Mexican Shells Soup | Easy Sopa de Conchas

This Mexican shells pasta soup, sopa de conchas, uses simple ingredients to make a hearty, filling, budget friendly meal that the will become a family favorite — yes, even the picky eaters. Serve it for lunch, dinner or as an entrée, it’s delicious every way.

Mexican shell soup or sopa de conchitas served inside a blue and white bowl and topped with cilantro.
Sopa de Conchas

Sopa De Conchas

In English sopa de conchas means shell soup, as in shell pasta soup.

This hearty flavorful tomato sauce based comforting Mexican soup recipe is filled with memories for all Mexicans. This, just like sopa de fideo, is a soup we all grow up eating. You can say it’s ultimate comfort food.

As any Mexican and they’ll recount memories of their mama or abuelas serving a big bowl of this pasta shell soup.

Shell pasta for sopa de conchas in a small brown bowl.
Shell Pasta for Sopa de Conchas

Other Mexican Sopita with Pasta

But this Mexican shell pasta soup isn’t the only type of sopita  or Mexican pasta soups that we eat.

This soups is also categories as a “sopa aguada” which means a brothy soup. There are many varieties of shapes of pasta range and with other type of pasta shapes.

There is sopa de fideo made with thin and short vermicelli noodles, there’s estrellita which is star pasta, coditos which is elbow macaroni, letra which is alphabet pasta, moño which is bow ties …just to name a few.

We Mexicans eat sopita all year round, doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside or if it’s hot…sopas and caldos are served.

Sopa de conchitas inside of a white and blue bowl.
Sopa de Conchitas

Mexican Shell Soup Ingredients

These simple ingredients are pantry basics so you should always have them available in your kitchen. A great thing about this easy recipe is that they are all budget friendly items and you can make a big pot of this to feed quite a few people.

Check the bottom of this post for ingredient links as well as more Mexican noodle soup recipes.

Pasta Shells

You can find it at any Mexican food store, on Amazon or even in regular grocery stores. Choose dry shell pasta that is small so it works best with the other ingredients called for. If you can’t find this then use small elbow macaroni, like the one pictured here.

The pasta is semolina and durum wheat and, at least the one I use and linked to above, uses no animal products, so it’s vegan!

To make it gluten free then simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Roma Tomatoes

In Mexican cooking you always want to use fresh roma tomatoes. We don’t use canned tomatoes, tomato sauce — and in fact tomato paste is incredibly difficult to find. There’s nothing wrong with these ingredients, they just have a very different taste that is not typical of authentic Mexican cuisine.

White Onion and Garlic Cloves

These two ingredients are absolutely vital to the recipe. They lend such deliciousness so don’t skip them. Do use fresh for both instead of powder or ground, again it’s just a different taste not to mention that this recipe has not been tested like that.

Water and Broth

You’ll need a little bit of water to get the blender going. The broth you’ll need to cook the shell soup.

Traditionally chicken broth is what’s used, but we are going to use vegetable broth instead to make this sopa a vegan one. (Be careful with this when you go out to eat, more often than not it’s chicken broth that they’ll use.)

If you don’t have vegetable broth you can mix the cups of water with vegetable bouillon powder or a vegan base like Better Than Bouillon, just follow the package instructions.

Salt and Cilantro

The seasonings for this soup are so basic. Most of the flavor will come from the tomato sauce and a good veggie broth But salt and cilantro also play their part in the flavor profile.

Can you Add Vegetables

Yes you can, it’s not necessary but some people do like to add veggies for a heartier soup.

Let me point out that if you add vegetables to the recipe below, then you’ll need to add more vegetable broth. Also if you’re going to add veggies then make sure they are chopped into very small pieces.

Some vegetables you could use are small pieces of green beans, carrots, peas, chayote or zucchini. Do keep in mind that chopping the vegetables will add additional prepping and cooking time to the recipe.

A bunch of fresh epazote leaves.
Fresh Epazote Leaves

Can You Add Other Spices or Ingredients

You could if you’d like. But the recipe I’m providing is the more traditional method.

I did a quick search and apparently some people use epazote instead of cilantro. For the spices some suggested additional ingredient variations of oregano, cumin for a smoky touch.

If you wanted to add a touch of heat you could add a serrano or jalapeño pepper to the pot. Just rinse and slice in half to add the spicy touch.

Additionally I saw a recipe that called for adding ground beef, but I don’t know about this because my mom never used it…so I don’t know if it’s authentic or not.

Is The Oil Necessary

This step is quite a similar recipe to when making Mexican rice. The pasta needs to be toasted until slightly golden brown.

The oil is used to toast or brown pasta shells until golden. This gives the shells a slight nuttiness to them and makes for a more flavorful soup.

If you skip the oil and toasting step then the texture of the shells will be different. It’ll still taste good…just not as good, in my opinion.

How to Make Sopa de Conchitas

One of the most beautiful things about this soup is that it’s so easy to prepare. Unlike other recipes that use salsa, in this one you’ll never have to boil or roast the tomatoes before blending to make the salsa!

Tomato, onion, garlic and water in a blender to make tomato sauce for sopita.
Making Tomato Salsa for The Sopa

Make The Tomato Sauce

Place the roma tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, salt and water. Blend until completely smooth then set aside for a few minutes.

Toasting dry pasta shells in hot oil to make Mexican sopa de conchas.
Toasting Pasta to Make Mexican Sopa de Conchitas

Toast the Shells

In a large stockpot and over medium heat, warm up the olive oil or vegetable oil. Then once hot carefully pour in the dry pasta shells. Stir often and allow to toast.

You need to keep a close eye on it so the pasta doesn’t burn.

Adding the fresh tomato sauce to the toasted pasta.
Vegan Sopa de Conchas

Add The Tomato Sauce

Next pour in the blended tomato sauce over the shells. Stir until well combined and allow to simmer for over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes or just until the sauce thickens up.

Pouring vegetable broth over the soup to simmer.
How to Make Vegan Sopa de Conchas

Add Broth and Simmer

Now you’ll carefully pour in the broth and drop in the cilantro sprigs. Give the pot a good stir, partly cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until you have tender pasta shells.

Check on the sopa now and again so it doesn’t burn or overcook.

Cooked Mexican sopa de conchitas or shell soup inside a large stockpot.

Test for doneness and also seasoning, adjust seasoning if desired.

How to Serve Sopa de Conchas

This soup is incredibly flavorful and delicious just on it’s own right out of the pot.

But toppings such as queso fresco (vegan or regular), some lime juice or even lemon juice, a little bit of sour cream, all make a delicious addition to the soup.

If serving as a main dish you could serve with warm tortillas, I like corn best. If serving as an entrée then this would be great with just about any main dish. The day I made this sopa recipe I served some Mexican sopes as the main dish and the sopita as the entrée, it was delicious!

You could also serve it as a side dish to any entrée.

How to Store

This soup, like my fideo recipe and other pasta soups, is really best enjoyed the day you make it. The reason being that the pasta keeps absorbing the tomato sauce or broth and it gets thicker and thicker.

However, you can store any leftovers in the refrigerator and try to eat within a few days for the best flavor and texture.

I wouldn’t recommend freezing because again the pasta will absorb too much liquid and the texture will change. Freezing pasta holds up better when it’s dry.

How to Reheat

To reheat your leftovers place is back on the stove top for about 8 minutes or until warmed through. In the microwave it takes but a couple of minutes.

Is Sopa de Conchas Vegan

Yes, this sopa de conchas recipe is 100% vegan!

The pasta shells are made without any egg or animal products and the rest of the ingredients are naturally vegan.

Mexican shell soup recipe.
Mexican shell soup

Mexican Shell Soup Recipe

You simple have to make this popular recipe that is a favorite in most Mexican homes. The ingredients are budget friend, it has great flavor, can be made with different types of pasta, and I promise everyone is going to love it.

Ok amigos, thanks for stopping by and I truly hope you give this recipe a try. Below you’ll find the printable recipe or you can click on the heart to save it and come back to it anytime you want.

Below the recipe you’ll find some affiliate links to Amazon so you can get things you’ll need for this recipe. Remember that I make a small commission from sales and that is invested right back into making new recipes for you. Gracias!!

Sopa de conchas or Mexican shell soup inside a pretty white and blue bowl and topped with cilantro.

Mexican Shells Soup | Easy Sopa de Conchas

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This Mexican shells pasta soupsopa de conchas, uses simple ingredients to make a hearty, filling, budget friendly meal that the whole family will love — yes, even the picky eaters. Serve it for lunch, dinner or as an entrée, it’s delicious every way and a great recipe any day of the week. (vegan recipe)
5 from 84 votes
Save Recipe Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 24 mins
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mexican, vegan mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 145 kcal

Ingredients
  

Tomato Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 whole Roma tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion it's about half a medium onion
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup of water

Soup Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • one 8 oz dry shell pasta small conchitas
  • 5 cups vegetable broth store bought or homemade
  • 2 sprigs cilantro optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste keep in mind the saltiness of the broth you use

Topping Options

    Vegan

    • 1 teaspoon vegan sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
    • 2 Tablespoons avocado
    • 1 Tablespoon crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
    • 1 Pickled jalapeños

    Instructions
     

    Tomato Sauce Instructions

    • Place the tomatoes, onio, garlic and water into a blender. Blend until smooth then set aside.
      Tomato, onion, garlic and water in a blender to make tomato sauce for sopita.

    Soup Instructions

    • In a large stockpot and over medium heat, warm up the oilve oil or vegetable oil. Then once hot carefully pour in the dry pasta shells. Stir often and allow to toast.
      You need to keep a close eye on it so the pasta doesn’t burn.
      Toasting dry pasta shells in hot oil to make Mexican sopa de conchas.
    • Next pour in the blended tomato sauce over the shells. Stir until well combined and allow to simmer for over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes or just until the sauce thickens up.
      Adding the fresh tomato sauce to the toasted pasta.
    • Now you’ll carefully pour in the broth and drop in the cilantro sprigs. Give the pot a good stir, partly cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the shell pasta is tender. Check on the sopa now and again so it doesn’t burn or overcook.
      Pouring vegetable broth over the soup to simmer.
    • Taste and adjust salt if desired. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Top with you favorite toppings and enjoy!
      Cooked Mexican sopa de conchitas or shell soup inside a large stockpot.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 4servingsCalories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 1857mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 813IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
    Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!

    More Mexican Sopa Recipes to Try

    Don’t miss any of these yummy sopa recipes!

    Similar Posts

    34 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I love the simplicity of this soup, just the homemade broth and the shells. I have to pin this so I don’t forget this recipe.

    2. 5 stars
      This soup is so simple and yet the flavors are so complex! definitely adding this one to the dinner rotation!

    3. 5 stars
      I was looking for an easy soup recipe like this! I love adding all the toppings too, just for a little something special at lunchtime. Delicious!

    4. 5 stars
      I saw your instagram post about this and had to try it. The recipe was so easy and the sopa is delicious. Thank you Nancy.

    5. 5 stars
      I saw your instagram post about this and had to try it. The recipe was so easy and the sopa is delicious. Thanks Nancy.

    6. 5 stars
      This was so easy to make, and the best part was that I already had all the ingredients in my pantry!

    7. 5 stars
      We loved the Sopa de Conchas. I served it for lunch yesterday and it was so delicious and flavorful. Thank you for this great recipe.

    8. 5 stars
      I love how this soup came out. It was so simple to make, but had so much flavor. The broth was delicious.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Recipe Rating