Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Pasta and Noodles, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Spring Sopita de Letras: Foodies Fighting Hunger

May 3, 2016
Sopita de letras is a Mexican vegetable soup made with alphabet pasta loved by kids and grown-ups alike. It is a healthy, easy, and budget-friendly dinner.

We’re gonna step back from the all day-every day Cinco de Mayo fiesta for just a minute. Hope that’s okay.

I’ve got something a bit more serious but very near and dear to my heart that I want to share with you today. A few weeks ago I was asked by the forever lovely, Whitney from Jewhungry,  if I wanted to join in a collaboration with other food bloggers to talk about a silent but growing issue in our society: hunger.

It goes without saying that as someone who thinks of basically nothing but food this is a topic that concerns me a great deal. More importantly as a mama of her own babies it pains me to no end to think about other kids, just like mine, who aren’t getting enough to eat in this very wealthy country.

Spring Sopita de Letras Recipe

What Whitney was proposing is that as talented recipe developers, we food bloggers could come up with meal ideas that would cost very little money (around $5) to pull off. We could also use our voices to spread the reality of what life is like for 15.3 million American children and hopefully urge our readers to take action and help fill the gap wherever we can.

We have teamed up with MAZON, a national nonprofit organization working to end hunger in the United States. They have given us the information we need to make this campaign accurate and help us find ways to stop this growing problem.

Here’s the facts:

  • 1 in 7 Americans don’t get enough to eat. Just take a look at this interactive map that shows how many food insecure households reside in your state.
  • Hunger exists even in a country abundant with food. It is a political problem that doesn’t allow equal access to healthy food.
  • Local charities and food pantries cannot keep up with demand.
  • Even military families are going hungry. Marine and Naval bases hold regular food distributions to families living on their grounds.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Tell Congress to end hunger for military families now.
  • Invest and improve child nutrition programs.
  • Share this information with your loved ones so we can spread the word about this tragic epidemic.

Spring Sopita de Letras Recipe

I wanted my recipe to be something comforting, filling, and fun. This is a simple, but delicious soup that my kids adore, because of the little letter-shaped pasta. It makes enough for 4 generous or 6 smaller servings so you could feed a few people on a little bit of money. I will admit the ingredients did go a bit over my $5 budget but you could leave some things out if you are working with very limited funds.

The necessary ingredients are oil, onion, salt, tomato paste, and small pasta shapes. You could make the soup with just these 5 things and it would still be good. The others are extras that boost the flavor  but are optional and could even be substituted with different dried herbs or vegetables or whatever you have on hand. You could absolutely used frozen or canned vegetables too if that’s all you had.

Spring Sopita de Letras Recipe

Want more ingenious ways to make $5 into something wonderful? Check out these other recipes from the other Foodies Fighting Hunger:

Ramen Alfredo with Fresh Herbs from Jewhungry

Rice Bowl with Egg from Cooking In Heels

Black Beans and Cheesy Tortillas from A Nutritionist Eats

Vegan Kale Tortilla Salad from Greens & Fries

Crustless Veggie Frittate from Kosher Like Me

Avocado Toast with Foolproof Soft Boil Egg from The Kosher Spoon

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats from Let’s Eat Cake

Roasted Tomato Galette from A Jew’s Bouche

Dessert for Two

Fried Green Tomato Sabich from What Jew Wanna Eat


Spring Sopita de Letras Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I've used dried chick peas here for economical and flavor reasons. You can cook them straight from dry but they are going to take a little while (about 2 hours) to soften. You can soak them overnight and this will reduce the cooking time by about an hour or you can substitute a 15-ounce can, drained. If you use the canned chick peas add them at the end with the pasta. The alphabet pasta is super cute and kids love it. Use any small shaped pasta, like orzo, for a more grown-up version.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup dried chick peas, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (7.5 ounce) bag alphabet pasta
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook another minute.
  2. Add chick peas, bay leaf, oregano, and chicken broth. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook until chick peas are soft, about 1½ -2 hours.
  3. Add pasta and cook until just tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add peas and cook one minute more. Add about 1 tablespoon salt and a sprinkling of black pepper. Taste and add more if needed.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

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  • Emily Dingmann May 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    We so appreciate your participation in this important campaign. THANK YOU! (Your pictures are gorgeous!)

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos May 5, 2016 at 2:53 am

      Absolutely, Emily! It is a subject I’m behind 100%.

  • MB @ Bourbon and Brown Sugar May 10, 2016 at 12:09 am

    I love this post, Kate! As I contemplate the next yummy recipe to post, it breaks my heart to think that 25% of the nation’s children go hungry. I love that you have brought attention to the subject. I’m a big fan/supporter of No Kid Hungry, which has similar goals to MAZON. Thanks! xo mb

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos May 11, 2016 at 1:48 am

      Thank you. I feel so fortunate to not have to worry about what my next meal will be, I can’t imagine the stress these families are under. I wish there was something more I could do but bringing awareness to the issue is a good place to start.

  • Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat May 13, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    What a fun soup! I don’t know why I don’t use those alphabet letters more often.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos May 14, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you Amy! They do make everything a bit more fun. So nice to meet you and find your blog. I’ll be browsing the site often.