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Chickpeas add body to this smoky, flavorful vegan tortilla soup. Dried New Mexico chiles, are available in most supermarkets; if you cannot find them at your local shop, dried Guajillo or Ancho chiles should work here.
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Vegan Tortilla Soup with Chickpeas and Chile Salt
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. As oven warms, grind chiles and salt in spice grinder until reduced to fine powder.
3. Cut 3 tortillas in half, then slice halves crosswise into thin strips. On a small baking sheet coated with cooking spray, toss strips with 1 1/2 tsp. oil and 3/4 tsp. of the chile salt you just made.
4. Roast 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
5. Using tongs, hold remaining tortilla directly over gas burner flame on high heat for 30 to 45 seconds, or until blackened in spots, turning once or twice. Once cool enough to handle, tear roughly into pieces.
6. Dice all but one bell pepper quarter, and set aside.
7. Using tongs, hold remaining bell pepper quarter directly over a gas burner on high heat. Char skin side only, turning to blacken every spot. Cool, then dice with skin left on.
8. In a large. deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining 2 Tbs. oil in large skillet. Add diced bell peppers, shallots, and charred tortilla pieces. Sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, 1/4 cup chickpeas, tomato, and 1 tsp. chile salt; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until bell peppers are tender.
9. Pour soup into a blender and purée until almost smooth. Transfer blended soup to medium saucepan. Keep warm over low heat, stirring in 1 1/2 tsp. chile salt and black pepper to taste.
10. Divide remaining chickpeas directly into 4 serving bowls. Ladle hot soup over chickpeas. Top with tortilla strips, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with remaining chile salt.