Sopa de Conchas (Mexican shell soup) is a classic and comforting soup made with pasta simmered in a light tomato sauce. This recipe is so simple to make and perfect for a quick meal because it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!
About The Recipe
Sopa de conchas is a Mexican soup made with shell pasta cooked in a light tomato sauce which is made with chicken or vegetable broth.
This type of tomato sauce is sometimes called recaudo and is a basic preparation for many other Mexican dishes.
It’s pretty common to add also some seasonings like chicken bouillon but besides that, the sauce is mainly made of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sometimes a fresh herb like cilantro or epazote.
The recipe can be found also with other names such as sopa de conchitas or sopa aguada as it belongs to the category of brothy soups, such as sopa de fideo.
Conchitas soup have also some variations in the traditional recipe. It can be made simple or it can be prepared with meat, vegetables, or a mix of both.
It is a quick and budget-friendly recipe that you will find often served as a first course in many home restaurants (fonditas) around the country.
- CONCHITAS PASTA: Also known as shell pasta, you will need the tinny format.
- TOMATOES: Use fresh tomatoes or sub with canned tomato sauce.
- ONIONS: White or yellow onions are good for this recipe.
- VEGETABLES: I used carrots, zucchini, and peas.
- CILANTRO: Use fresh cilantro or dried cilantro, whatever is available to you.
- GARLIC: For some flavor, use a clove blended into the sauce or use about 1 teaspoon of powdered garlic.
- STOCK: Use chicken stock or vegetable stock.
- OIL: You can use olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil.
- SAL: Any type of salt.
How To Make Sopa de Conchas
Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables you’d like to add. I used fresh carrots and zucchini, and some frozen peas.
Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender. Add one cup of water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
In a medium soup pot heat a good amount of canola oil over medium heat.
Fry the shell pasta while stirring constantly for about half a minute or until nicely golden.
Drain pasta using a wire colander to get rid of all oil. Set aside.
In the same pot where you fried the pasta add the tomato sauce, vegetables, and cilantro/epazote. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium heat.
As soon as it starts to boil, add the shell pasta and season with salt.
Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are well cooked.
Adjust salt to taste and serve sopa de conchitas immediately.
How To Serve Mexican Shell Pasta Soup
You can eat this shell pasta soup with a dollop of Mexican crema or sour cream, a bit of queso fresco sprinkled on top, maybe a few slices of avocado, and of course, a good squeeze of lime is a must.
Many Mexicans (including myself) love to eat conchitas soup with pickled chiles jalapeños, the sour and tangy touch is something you should really try at least once!
How To Store And Reheat
Once your Mexican shell soup cools down, place the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Since pasta absorbs liquids after sitting for a while, it won’t have the same consistency later, but it will be delicious anyway.
Reheat your sopa de conchas over medium heat on the stove or use the microwave in 1-minute intervals until heated up.
Is this soup spicy?
No. The recipe doesn’t contain any chilies on it. However, if you like spicy food, read the notes where I tell you how to add some heat to sopa de conchas.
Can I add some spices?
Yes! A pinch of cumin, some Mexican oregano, fresh or dried epazote, and cilantro are all good additions to this shell soup.
Where can I buy conchitas pasta?
You can find conchitas pasta at Mexican stores (local and online), and some supermarkets also sell it in their international aisles.
Can I sub conchitas with macaroni pasta?
Yes, you can! Just make sure to add enough oil to fry the pasta, then you can drain it as suggested in the recipe.
What to do with the oil leftovers?
Use it in other recipes. As long as you don’t heat it to the point where it smokes, the oil can be re-used in other preparations.
What other vegetables can I add?
Any type of summer/winter squash, chayotes, leeks, celery, or cabbages are also lovely and healthy options for this shell soup.
Watch How To Make It
Sopa de conchas (Mexican shell soup)
- 1 ⅓ cup shell pasta
- 2 small fresh tomatoes (cut in chunks)
- 3 oz white onions (cut in quarters)
- 1 garlic clove (peeled)
- cilantro sprigs (a few)
- 1 small carrot (cut into small bites)
- 1 small zucchini (cut into small bites)
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- canola oil
- Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender. Add one cup of chicken stock and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
- In a medium soup pot heat a good amount of canola oil over medium heat.
- Fry the shell pasta for about half a minute or until golden and crispy.
- Drain pasta to remove all excess oil.
- In the same pot where you fried pasta, add the tomato sauce.
- Add the zucchini, carrots, peas, and cilantro sprigs.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Return pasta to the pot and season with salt.
- Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are well cooked.
- Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
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Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.