Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)

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Alphabet soup (Mexican sopa de letras) is a childhood favorite! Like tomato basil soup, parents love this easy recipe because it has healthy veggies. Kids love ABC soup because letter-shaped pasta makes mealtime more fun!

📌 PIN ALPHABET SOUP RECIPE

Alphabet Soup (sopa de letras) in a double-handled soup bowl with ABC noodles and saltine crackers.

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Some of us have childhood memories of Campbell’s Alphabet Soup. Others have memories of grandma making ABC soup from scratch. In Mexico this tomato-based soup is called sopa de letras. But it’s all the same thing.

Quick and simple to make, ABC soup is the perfect recipe for busy families. It comes together with basic ingredients and pantry staples. A delicious meal or side, it’s filled with healthy ingredients you feel good about serving.

🛒 INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • Onion (white or yellow)
  • Celery
  • Garlic cloves
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • Vegetable broth
  • Water
  • Russet Potatoes or small yellow potatoes
  • Kidney beans, canned
  • Frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, green beans, peas)
  • Diced petite tomatoes with juices, canned
  • Tomato paste, canned
  • Bay leaves
  • Dry alphabet pasta
  • Optional: Serve with saltine crackers
Ingredients for homemade alphabet soup.

🥣 INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

Missing an ingredient? Don’t put on your shoes and head to the store. Instead, head to your pantry to look for these easy ingredient swaps.

  • Dried Spices: If you’re missing one or more of the dried spices, you can substitute with 3 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or herbs de Province, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garlic Cloves: Use 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic, or just under 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Olive Oil: Use vegetable oil.
  • Vegetable Broth: Substitute with chicken broth or beef broth. Or use a combination of hot water and 2-3 bouillon cubes, to taste.
  • Frozen Vegetables: Use any combination of fresh veggies, or canned (drained) veggies.
  • Potatoes: Replace with a few handfuls of (hand-torn) kale without the tough stems. Or try zucchini or sweet potatoes.
  • Alphabet Pasta: Substitute with pasta stars, orzo, ditalini, or snapped pieces of angel hair pasta. Or use instant rice or quick-cooking barley.
Mexican sopa de letras. This ABC soup is served in a double-handled soup bowl with soup spoon.

🔪 ALPHABET SOUP RECIPE

RECIPE PREP: Roughly chop the fresh veggies.

RECIPE PREP FOR VEGETABLE SOUP: Onion, garlic, potatoes, celery on a wooden cutting board with knife.
  • STEP 1: In a large deep pot (or Dutch oven), heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery and garlic until fragrant and tender (about 5 minutes).
  • STEP 2: Add all the spices to the pot and stir.
  • STEP 3: Add broth, water, veggies, cubed potatoes, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaves.
  • STEP 4: Bring soup to a boil. Cover pot with a lid. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove lid. Add dry pasta. Simmer, uncovered, until pasta is tender and has doubled in size (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently. As kidney beans and pasta soak up a lot of liquid, you may need to add more (hot) water or broth to the pot before serving.

👩🏻‍🍳 RECIPE VARIATION: For sopa de letras, some Mexican cooks do 1 extra step. They lightly toast the dry ABC pasta in oil over medium heat (about 1-2 minutes) before adding it to the soup to simmer and cook until tender.

How to make easy alphabet soup in 4 step-by-step images.

🍲 HOW TO SERVE ABC SOUP: Remove bay leaves from the pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the surface. Ladle vegetable soup into bowls. Serve with saltine crackers on the side.

Alphabet soup (sopa de letras) in a black Dutch oven with a silver soup ladle.

🧑🏼‍🍳 RECIPE FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making alphabet soup, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Where to find alphabet pasta at the market?

In most large grocery stores there are two aisles where you can look for this product. First check the pasta aisle. Then check the Hispanic foods section. Many Hispanic families make “sopa de letras” with Goya (brand) Alphabet/Letras pasta.

Where to buy ABC pasta online?

You can find various brands of ABC pasta on Amazon: DaVinci Alphabet Pasta (this is the brand I use), Goya Alphabet/Letras, Ronzoni Alphabets, and Tolerant Foods Organic.

Do I need to thaw the frozen veggies before making ABC soup?

No. Do not thaw the frozen veggies before making this recipe. You’ll be pulling them from the freezer to add them straight to the pot.

How to make sopa de letras more savory?

Give it more oomph with the meaty flavor of beef stock. Add a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce or sesame seed oil. Boost umami flavor with granulated bouillon, or by simmering the soup with a rind of Parmesan cheese. To make ABC vegetable soup even heartier, add baked chicken meatballs, or 1 pound (cooked) lean ground beef or turkey.

Can I freeze alphabet soup?

Yes. ABC vegetable soup freezes really well. For the best taste and texture, use within 1 month. Thaw in the fridge. Reheat on stovetop with extra liquid. Add more broth or water.

How long does alphabet soup last?

When stored in an airtight container, ABC vegetable soup will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Add more broth or water before reheating. The noodles and beans soak up a lot of liquid.

How to make sopa de letras in a slow cooker?

Start by sautéeing the onion, celery and garlic on the stovetop in olive oil. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the noodles. Cook 2 hours on low. Add ABC pasta. Cook an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour on low.

What to serve with ABC soup?

Enjoy it as a side for a grilled cheese sandwich or cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas. Or serve it as a full meal with saltine crackers.

Alphabet Soup (vegetable soup with ABC pasta) in a double-handled soup bowl with saltine crackers.

🧅 More delicious HEARTY soups

Enjoy these delicious hearty soups as sides or full meals. They’re easy to make and will satisfy even the hungriest appetites.

RATE THIS RECIPE⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Parents say this is the best vegetable soup for kids! If you agree, give this kid-friendly recipe a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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Alphabet Soup in a double-handled soup bowl with ABC noodles and saltine crackers.

Alphabet Soup (Sopa de Letras)


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Description

Alphabet soup is a comforting, nourishing vegetable soup. It’s quick and easy to make, and so delicious. Enjoy ABC soup with saltine crackers, a grilled cheese sandwich, or a cheese quesadilla. 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (yellow or white onion)
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water, or more if needed
  • 1 cup potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, green beans, peas)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups dry alphabet pasta

For serving: saltine crackers


Instructions

  1. In a large deep pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, celery and garlic until fragrant and tender (about 5 minutes). 
  2. Add all the spices to the pot, including salt and pepper, and stir. Add broth, water, frozen veggies, cubed potatoes, kidney beans, diced tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, and bay leaves.
  3. Bring soup to a boil. Cover pot with a lid. Simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid. Add in the dry pasta. Simmer, uncovered, until pasta is tender and has doubled in size (about 10 minutes). Stir frequently. [Because the noodles and beans soak up a lot of liquid, you may need to add more hot water or broth to the pot before serving.]
  5. Remove bay leaves from the pot.  Add a drizzle of olive oil to the surface. Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with saltine crackers on the side.

Notes

Do I need to thaw the frozen veggies? No, don’t thaw the frozen veggies. Just pull them from the freezer and add them straight to the pot.

How long does ABC soup last? When stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, this soup will stay fresh for up to 3 days. Add more broth or water before reheating. The noodles and beans soak up a lot of liquid.

Can I freeze alphabet soup? Yes. It freezes really well. For the best taste and texture, use within 1 month. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stovetop adding more broth or water for a perfect consistency.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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10 Comments

  1. I am not a fan of canned soups, so I’m so glad to find this homemade alphabet soup! Thanks for sharing the recipe!






  2. This ABC soup is so hearty and flavorful! It’s a thousand times better than the canned stuff.