Real Meals Modified

Level 0: Thin Sopa Azteca

This delicious Level 0: Thin soup is spicy and savory. It’s customizable for everyone’s tastes and is perfect for a get-together.

Level 0: Thin Sopa Azteca

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Sopa Azteca = Tortilla Soup

This Sopa Azteca is one of the best things I have ever made for myself. Unlike a traditional tomato soup, it is very thin and perfect for Level 0: Thin. I modified this amazing Sopa Azteca from Farideh Sadeghin’s Mexican Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca) posted on

I discovered this type of tortilla soup at a restaurant here in Tucson – BK Tacos. Tucsonans have strong opinions about BK’s, but I am heartily in the “for” category. Their “Sopa de Tortilla” absolutely blew my mind the first time I tried it. If you’re anything like me, you expect a tortilla soup to be either basically a chicken chili or a creamy, yellow-orange glob. This thin, spicy, tomato soup is served with avocado and soft, fresh cheese as well as strips of tortilla and lime wedges.

I originally attempted to create a Level 1: Slightly Thick by blending the traditional toppings into the soup base. This was delicious – but it never thickened up enough for a Level 1. This is why we test before we serve! Luckily for us Level 0 lovers, this means that you can add a fair number of toppings and stay nice and thin (just remember to test!).

Sopa Azteca
Sopa Azteca

Level 0: Thin

Level 0: Thin is appropriate for individuals who can consume liquids with the texture of plain water. Foods at this level flow quickly, and can be drunk from a cup, spoon, or straw easily. Foods are tested using the Flow Test at this level.

The IDDSI Flow Test is a standardized test for determining the level of a liquid sample. You must have a 10ml syringe for this test, and not all syringes are created equal. Hold a ruler up to your syringe and the distance from the very bottom line to the 10ml mark must measure 61.5 mm. We recommend watching IDDSI’s Youtube video of the Flow Test as well as this comparison between Levels 1-3 before you cook as well as during the testing of your final modified portion.

Always test your food before serving to ensure that it meets all the IDDSI testing guidelines.

Top it off!

I love to serve this soup to my friends with the toppings “family-style” in the middle. I typically also stir this up a little less spicy and leave the hot sauce on the table. Some of my friends have more sensitive gastrointestinal tracts, for them, I dish out a few servings of soup before I add any hot sauce and warm it up again when they arrive.


The absolute best hot sauce to use for this is the spiciest sauce from your neighborhood taco shop: we’ve added the sauce from BK’s, the Taco Shop, and Coronado’s Mexican Food to different versions of this soup. Of course, you can use whatever you prefer and have on hand. Sriracha works fine, as well as Tapatio and Tabasco.


The original recipe I modified called for pasilla chiles. I couldn’t find these in my grocery store, so I’ve used “chiles negros.” I probably could have gone to a carniceria, but I have such a hard time pronouncing that word that I never want to ask Josh to take me.


The most stressful part of this recipe for me is toasting the chiles. It’s really not hard, you just put the chiles in the pot – I just get nervous that I’m going to burn my fingers. After toasting, you’ll need to stem and seed the chiles. I have Josh do this for me because I am cursed with Hot Pepper Hands. If he’s not home, I put Ziploc bags on my hands and just rip the chiles to pieces (no shame). If you end up with Hot Pepper Hands, I’m sorry. Alternating washing your hands in dish soap and vegetable oil works best for me.

I was able to find pasilla chile powder at my grocery store as well. For a quicker version of this recipe, substitute 3 tablespoons of the pasilla chile powder for the whole chiles and skip right to Step 3.

Toasting dried peppers

After I blended my chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and onion together I had to run it through a sieve. If you have an incredibly powerful blender that can break up those tomato seeds, you may not need to. As you can see, I had quite a bit of *flavor* that I had to remove because of chunkiness.

Sopa Azteca
Sopa Azteca
Sopa Azteca

This soup is a delicious and amazing addition to your Level 0: Thin eater’s diet as well as to your entire family and friends. Always remember to test before you serve!

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Level 0: Thin Sopa Azteca
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Level 0: Thin Sopa Azteca

This delicious Level 0: Thin soup is spicy and savory. It's customizable for everyone's tastes and is perfect for a get-together.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 7 cups
Calories: 152kcal


  • 3 large dried black chiles**
  • 3 medium tomatoes cored and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper white pepper if available
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Toppings Diced avocado, lime, tortilla chips, queso fresco or other soft cheese


  • Toast the chiles in a saucepan over high heat, turning, until fragrant.
  • Remove the stems and seeds and chop.
  • Place chopped chiles into blender with tomatoes.
  • Heat oil in saucepan. Cook onion and garlic over medium-low until soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Transfer onion and garlic into blender with chile and tomatoes. Puree all until smooth.
  • Run tomato puree mixture through a sieve and pour into saucepan.
  • Cook mixture over medium-high until thick, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add salt and pepper.
  • Add hot sauce to the taste of the pickiest eater. Serve with extra hot sauce, diced avocado, quartered limes, queso fresco, and tortilla chips.
  • Blend toppings into the portion for your modified eater. Remember to test thickness again as toppings may thicken the soup! We found that adding half an avocado and an ounce of cheese still measured at a level 0, but always double-check before serving.


** If you can find pasilla chile powder at your grocery store, you're welcome to use that instead of toasting and crushing the whole dried peppers and skip the first two steps. Starting right at Step 3, add 3 tablespoons of chile powder into the blender with your tomatoes.


Calories: 152kcal

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