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Sopa de Conchas, or Mexican Shell Pasta Soup, is as classic as Mexican rice and tamales. This easy-to-make soup is comfort food at its best. Ready in minutes and perfect for little picky eaters. Watch the VIDEO or see the step-by-step pictures to recreate this Mexican food favorite.
You know you’re Mexican if you grew up eating Sopa de Conchas. This goes right up there with Sopa de Fideo and Frijoles de la Olla. My mom would make this for us when we got home from school. And now, I make it for my redhead when he comes home from a long day of adding and subtracting, science experiments, and girls.
The ingredients are simple: 2 Roma tomatoes, ¼ onion, garlic, chicken bouillon, conchas pasta, oil, and water. This is a basic recipe for Sopa de Conchas. You can add more ingredients if you like. My mom would add a pinch of cumin and a pinch of oregano. Sometimes potatoes and veggies were added too.
I rough chopped the tomatoes before adding them to the blender.
My handy dandy blender here is a Nutribullet. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
Also add the onion and garlic to the blender. Some people will dice up the onions and cook them with the shells. That way, the Sopa de Conchas will have sauteed onions. YUM! Either way works fine.
Add water to the blender.
Blend everything until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. You can totally bypass this and go straight for a can of tomato sauce. That works just as well, and in a pinch, I’ll confess that I use canned tomato sauce too.
Heat up the oil in a large stock pot. Don’t skimp on the oil. We are about to “toast” our pasta. To make Sopa de Conchas, you will need a pot. We need room to groove.
The star of the show is this Conchas pasta, or pasta shaped like shells. It is commonly found in the Hispanic aisle at the grocery store. Or, you can purchase it online. If your store carries fideo pasta, it more than likely will sell this pasta.
Once the oil is nice and hot, add the conchas. Get out your spatula and start stirring. Here’s the thing: you don’t want this to burn. If you end up burning it, you will have to start all over again. That’s not fun. My advice is to stir, stir, stir.
You gotta be on the lookout for when the pasta starts to toast and it’s about to burn. That’s the time to add the rest of the ingredients. This isn’t it! Lol. Do you see how it’s starting to change colors? Look at these golden beauties. A few of them are really toasted. They are almost, almost burnt. That’s totally ok. As long as they aren’t burnt, it’s all good in the hood.
Now add the rest of the water. Some people will use chicken broth, and if you have it, awesome! If you opt use chicken broth, don’t add the chicken bouillon.
Time for the tomato mixture. Pour all of it in. I like to leave one cup of water to get all the tomato sauce out of the blender. However you do this is fine too.
Chicken bouillon is a common ingredient in our Mexican cuisine. You can omit, and as I mentioned, use chicken broth instead. Both work well when making the Sopa de Conchas.
Lastly, cover up the pot for 20 minutes. Check the pot at around 18 minutes. All you want is to make sure the pasta is soft and fully cooked. The shells will puff out, almost 3 times bigger than their dried version.
Serve your Sopa de Conchas in a large bowl. I call this Mexican comfort food. It warms your belly and your soul. Childhood memories swarm with each spoonful and many more to be had. Hope you enjoy!
Don’t forget to watch the Sopa de Conchas Video
Sopa de Conchas
- 2 Roma tomatoes chopped
- ¼ onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup water + 4 cups water divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 16- ounce package of conchas
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- To a blender, add tomatoes, onion, garlic clove and 1 cup of water.
- Blend until smooth.
- Set aside until ready to use.
- Heat oil in a large stock pot.
- Add package of conchas pasta.
- Stir frequently until golden brown.
- About 5 minutes.
- Do not let this burn, or you will have to start all over again.
- Add 4 cups of water, tomato mixture, and chicken bouillon.
- Stir to combine.
- Cover and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until pasta is soft and the conchas have puffed up.
- Serve and enjoy
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
More Mexican Soups & Stews
Birria de Res, or Mexican Beef Stew
Mexican Fish Soup, or Caldo de Pescado
Roasted Poblano Corn Soup
Mexican Lentil Soup, or Sopa de Lentejas
Mexican Star Soup, or Sopa de Estrellitas
Caldo de Verduras, or Mexican Vegetable Soup
Caldo de Pollo, or Mexican Chicken Soup
Caldo de Camarón – Mexican Shrimp Soup
Caldillo Durangueño, a Traditional Beef Stew from Durango, Mexico
From age 17-22 I lived with my best friends mother and her 5 children. She was born in Mexico & her family moved to the States when she was 3 years old. She taught me a lot when it came to cooking and because she had a big family, she generally would start cooking something around 1pm so that her hungry kids would have something hot and ready when they came running through the door on school days. This was always one of my favorites that she made every week and she taught me how to make it as well. The only difference with her sopa recipe is that she made it with peeled and cut potatoes as well which I highly recommend! She’d also add a Sazon packet to each pot of sopa. But it was ALWAYS made with conchas (medium size shell pasta) and for some reason it’s a must for me as well or it just doesn’t feel the same with other pasta varieties.
This recipe was spot on and reminded me of the forgotten recipe that I hadn’t made in close to 5 years. Thanks for posting!
I love food memories. Thank you for sharing this story.
THANK YOU! I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH! I had no idea this was a traditional dish! Mi abuelita made this every day after school for us after school. We’d top it with as much cheese as we were allowed. My cousins could always make it, but I’m a wedita, and I never got the recipe. I didn’t know about the toasting part! My father is now in hospice, and my brother took me to a local restaurant and secretly ordered it for me. I was shocked. I rushed home, found your order, and made it with a tres leches cake with peach filling. Thanks again, I simply had no idea.
Awww.. I love food memories! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Love the recipe but my conchas soak up too much water and I’m left with huge conchas and little water. Any help to remedy this?
That happens to everyone. My advice is to add the tomato sauce right before serving the sopa de conchas. Once it’s heated up, then serve immediately. Hope this helps.
This is the 2nd recipe I tried and my husband said this was perfect. I don’t have to look any further. Thank you!
Awww! That just made my day. I love hearing that people love this sopa de conchas recipe.