Sopa De Conchas (Mexican Shell Soup)

Sopa de Conchas (shell soup) is a classic and comforting Mexican soup made with pasta simmered in a light tomato sauce. This recipe is so simple to make, yet delicious and perfect for a quick meal because it only takes 15 minutes to prepare!

Sopa de conchas in a white bowl.

This shell soup is very appreciated by kids and grown-ups and you’ll find it almost at every fonda (small restaurant) around the country.

What is sopa de conchas?

Sopa de conchas, sometimes also called sopa de conchitas, refers to a Mexican soup made with a specific type of pasta called “conchas” (in English: shells). The recipe is extremely easy and budget-friendly and everyone loves it!

Just as other types of sopitas, this one can be made in a simple version only with the broth, or with vegetables and/or meat.

Raw shell pasta, aka conchitas.
Conchitas pasta.

Mexican Sopas de Pasta

Mexican pasta soups are prepared with a tomato sauce which is made with chicken or vegetable broth, this type of light 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.

Shell soup, aka sopa de conchas served in two bowls, with some lime wedges on the side.

Those sopas are mostly made with tomato sauce and short pasta (like shells) but sometimes to make them richer and more nutritious some veggies are added, such as zucchini, carrots, green beans, or also peas and potatoes.

Most Frequent Questions

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 this type of pasta at Mexican stores (local and online), some supermarkets sell it also 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 nice and healthy options for this shell soup.

Step by Step Instructions

Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables you’d like to add. I used fresh carrots and zucchini, and some frozen peas.

Zucchini, carrots, and peas in a white bowl.

Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender. Add one cup of water and blend until you will have a smooth sauce. Set aside.

The recaudo sauce for sopa in a blender.

In a medium soup pot heat a good amount of canola oil over medium heat. Cook pasta while stirring constantly for about half a minute or until nicely golden.

Frying shell pasta in a pot.

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.

Sopa de conchas being made in a pot.

As soon as it starts to boil, add the conchitas pasta and season with salt.

Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are well cooked.

Showing cooked sopa de conchas with a spoon.

Adjust salt to taste and serve immediately.

How To Serve

You can eat this sopita de conchas 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 sopa de conchas with pickled chiles jalapeños, the sour and tangy touch is something you should really try at least once!

A close-up on Mexican shell soup, aka sopa de conchitas.

Tips and Tricks

  • This is a brothy soup, so don’t be scared by the amount of stock needed in the recipe.
  • I suggest cutting the vegetables into small pieces so they will cook quickly and evenly with the pasta.
  • If you like spicy food, pinch a jalapeño or serrano pepper with a fork, then slightly fry it before frying the pasta. Return the pepper to the pot when you add the vegetables to cook it too.
  • For a smoky flavor kick, add 1 teaspoon of chipotle or guajillo powder to the tomato sauce.

Storage & Reheating

Once you 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 with 30 seconds intervals until heated up.

Sopa de conchitas leftovers in a glass airtight container.

Make It Healthier & Vegan

  • If you want a healthier version do not fry the pasta, add it once the sauce starts to boil. It changes the texture and the taste a bit, but definitely you’ll leave out a lot of calories!
  • For a vegan version, you can replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and load your Mexican soup with your favorite vegetables too!

Watch How To Make It

More Mexican Sopitas To Try

shell soup

Sopa de conchas (shell soup)

Sopa de conchas (shell soup) is a classic mexican soup that is made with pasta and tomato sauce. This soup is very appreciated by kids and grown ups and you’ll find it almost at every fonda (small restaurante) around the country.
PREP 7 minutes
COOK 8 minutes
TOTAL 15 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 ⅓ cup (130gr) shell pasta
  • 1 cup (180 gr) fresh tomatoes (cut in chunks)
  • 3 oz (85 gr) white onions (cut in quarters)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • cilantro sprigs (to taste)
  • 1 small carrots
  • 1 small zucchini
  • ½ cup (75 gr) frozen peas
  • 4 cups (1 lt) chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • canola oil
  • salt

Instructions

  • Place tomatoes, onions, cilantro 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 pasta for about half a minute or until golden and crispy.
  • Place pasta onto a colander to drain all oil into a bowl.
  • In the same pot where you fried pasta add the tomato sauce. Add the remaining chicken stock and peas, then bring to a boil.
  • Add the vegetables, low the heat and then add pasta. Let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until pasta and vegetables are well cooked.
  • Adjust of salt and serve immediately.

NOTES

  • Once you get the cup of chicken stock you need to blend the tomatoes; put the remaining stock on a sauce pan and place it on the stove over medium heat. Keep it there until you need it for the recipe.
  • Mexican loves their sopita with a lot of broth. So if you want it like that too, you might need to add a little more chicken stock to the mix.
  • If you want to add epazote, don’t blend it with tomatoes because the taste is pretty strong. Add it when you add the vegetables.
  • If you want a healthier version do not fry the pasta, add it once the sauce starts to boil. It changes the texture and the taste a bit, but definitely you’ll leave out a lot of calories!
Nutrition
Calories: 425kcal
Don’t miss any recipe.Subscribe for free to our Newsletter!

Loved this Sopa de Conchas recipe? Please, don’t forget to rate it and leave us a comment below. Also, you can share this recipe using the buttons below and follow this blog on PINTERESTINSTAGRAMFACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE

A small stockpot and two bowls with sopa de conchas on a white background. Lime wedges on a bowl on the side.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




4 Comments