The Difference Between Taco Soup And Tortilla Soup

It's the food we often turn to when we have a cold and according to Penn Medicine, soup is an optimal choice when we don't feel well since we can digest it easily and it usually contains nutritious ingredients. And sickness aside, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a big bowl of soup to help you feel cozy on a cold day. Even when the weather is fair, soup can be the perfect meal since it can be made ahead of time, freezes well, and reheats easily. It's also transportable, thanks to a thermos or a leak-proof container, which means it's a great lunch for the office or school.

When it comes to soups that are easy to prepare, big on flavor, and have nutritious, flavorful ingredients, there are a couple of soups that come to mind, like taco soup and tortilla soup. Both are wildly popular, with the latter appearing on the canned soup aisle at the grocery store, on restaurant menus, and sometimes even in the hot prepared foods area of grocery store delis. While both taco and tortilla soup may seem like they have the same flavor profile and some overlapping ingredients, these two soups are pretty different from one another. Before you go filling your bowl with either, let's take a peek into what makes each recipe unique, and the nutritional value of each soup.

Taco soup typically features beef

When it comes to taco night, you may serve up those handheld crowd-pleasers with a side of your favorite style of beans, from refried to black or pinto beans and dress your tacos up with anything from shredded cheese to salsa. Taco soup takes some of the best things about tacos and transforms them into a bowl of comforting, and filling, goodness. What's even better about taco soup? It's a recipe that comes together quickly with many items you may already have in your pantry.

This soup is made with ground beef, canned tomatoes, canned beans (usually black beans), plus canned or frozen corn, beef or chicken stock, and gets its flavor from chopped onions, garlic, and taco seasoning. You can make homemade seasoning with cumin, chili powder, and other ingredients, or use the packet. Once it's in your bowl, then the real fun begins, since taco soup gets adorned with whatever trimmings you prefer — like shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, crushed tortilla chips, lime juice, or a spoonful of salsa (via The Pioneer Woman).

Tortilla soup contains more broth

While taco soup is typically made with a hearty portion of ground beef, tortilla soup can be a bit of a lighter, but still flavorful soup. Like taco soup, chicken tortilla soup contains canned (or sometimes pureed) tomatoes, corn, and black beans, as well as some of the same seasonings that appear in taco soup, such as cumin and chili powder.

But the similarities between the soups end there since tortilla soup usually contains shredded chicken, strips of soft tortillas, and it usually calls for more broth or stock than taco soup recipes, as detailed by Spend with Pennies. The base of tortilla soup also contains a few flavorful additions such as cilantro, lime juice, and peppers, like jalapeno or red pepper, and bowls are traditionally topped with sliced avocado, and often more tortilla strips. Although many versions of tortilla soup call for using chicken, there are also vegetarian tortilla soup versions that are still hearty and flavorful, yet they omit the meat.

Nutritional differences

We think both of these soups are so delicious, you shouldn't have to choose between one or the other, but you may want to enjoy both of them at different times, depending on what ingredients you have on hand, or what you're craving. If you're looking for a filling soup, but you're counting calories, then you may want to stick with a bowl of tortilla soup. Since it gets so much of its flavor from chicken or vegetable stock, it's lower in calories than taco soup. And, since you can make tortilla soup with or without meat, that allows for greater flexibility with your nutritional value.

According to Livestrong, a bowl of chicken tortilla soup has 140 calories, six grams of fat, and eight grams of protein. Keep in mind that when swapping out the chicken for a meatless version, many recipes include more tortillas, which can increase the calorie and fat counts in a recipe. For example, Eating Well reports the vegetarian version of this soup contains around 200 calories per serving, 13 grams of fat, and six grams of protein. A bowl of taco soup isn't quite as kind to your waistline as tortilla soup, since taco soup comes in at nearly 500 calories, contains 30 grams of fat, and 26 grams of protein per serving. No matter which soup you decide to eat, be sure to top your bowl with all the tasty trimmings you like, then grab a spoon and dig in.