Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes

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Last Updated on January 22, 2021 by Chef Mireille

Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes – Sopa de Fideos y Queso con Papas is a simple Vegetarian soup that is perfect for cold winter temperatures.

Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes

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Today’s post is kind of both a food and travel post. I have given you a little insight into my city. Almost everyone wants to come to NYC at least once in a lifetime. This will give you a little idea about what it’s like.

NYC Culture

I love living in New York City and I have always lived in the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. It’s the best of both worlds. Instead of feeling like a big city, the outer boroughs is more like a community of villages with each village having it’s own cultural identity. Staten Island the the Bronx are also the same. Manhattan is only a short train ride away, so you are not too far either from the center of action and all the tourist attractions.

We have a lot of villages representing the different cultures of NYC – there’s Caribbean, Greek, Latin, Asian, Indian, African, Middle Eastern, Polish, Italian, Jewish, Russian and more… This is where you will get the most traditional, authentic foods of these regions of the world.

If I want good traditional Russian food, I am going to go to Brighton Beach (see my post on Brighton Beach here) – not some fancy restaurant in Manhattan for double the price and half the flavor and authenticity.

Little Italy

Tourists who only stay in Manhattan they just don’t know what they are missing by skipping out on visiting the diverse communities of the outer boroughs. Little Italy in Manhattan is a highly commercialized 2 block section where all the food tastes the same, however Little Italy in the Bronx is a thriving traditional community of mom and pop shops, where the owners are so friendly and will talk to you like you are their long lost cousin.

I will never forget once I was in Teitel Brothers just browsing and the owner calls me over and says “Hey, would you like to try a fresh ricotta salata I just got in from Sicily today. It’s stuffed with dried apricots and a special I only get once in a while.” Who would refuse that? Well he took out a piece and just started sharing with everyone in the store. Everybody was oohing and aahing over the amazing flavor and talking with each other about the cheese. It became like a family party with everyone fawning over the special dish. You will never have that experience in the faux Little Italy in lower Manhattan.

Jackson Heights

I grew up in Jackson Heights in Queens. Now Jackson Heights has two sections – an Indian section and a Latin section with people being mostly from South American countries like Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. In fact, one of my favorite restaurants Urubamba is here. Do check out the restaurant review I wrote here.

My mom still lives there so when I was on my way home after visiting her the last time, I decided to take a walk around instead of going straight to the train station to return home. I walked about a 20 block area from the Latin section to the Indian section and stopping at every supermarket on the way. Yes, I am a New Yorker and we are walkers!!!

Truth be told, I was on the lookout for Queso Paraguaya, a Paraguayan cheese to make Mbeju, a gluten free Paraguayan flatbread. I never found the cheese, but I refuse to give up. This is NYC. I know it is here somewhere, I just have to be patient and I will eventually find it. Of course, I could substitute another cheese – but where’s the fun in that?

Although Queso Paraguaya was no where to be found, there was such a huge variety of cheeses from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Honduras, I still picked up a few that I haven’t tried before just to sample.

After coming home with some Ecuadorian food products, I decided to settle on something from that country to the last of my three South American recipes this week. Ecuador sits right on the equator so the country is simultaneously in three hemispheres – southern, northern and western. With that , they have a diverse climate and a diverse cuisine.

Specialty Ingredients

  • Ecuadorian Cheese – I realize Queso Ecuatoriano is not something that everyone is going to have access to. It is basically a fresh white cheese, like a farmer’s cheese. The cheese has just a hint of salt and is actually perfect for breakfast also with just some toast and jam. The cheese should be diced and then crumbled by hand. I like mine a little chunky, but if you would like it smoother, you can even put the cheese in a food processor to really crumble it fine.  If not farmer’s cheese, ricotta, goat cheese or homemade paneer (store bought paneer is too firm) are good substitutes.
    The cheese is a semi hard cheese. Firm enough to be diced but soft enough to crumble by hand.
Ecuadorian Cheese

  • Pasta – I used Ecuadorian pasta, but you can use any small pasta shape you find.
Ecuadorian Pasta

  • Annatto Oil – aka achiote – This flavored oil is made by boiling oil with annatto seeds. You can check out the procedure here.
  • Sofrito – The sofrito is optional but does add some extra flavor. You can check out my Puerto Rican style sofrito recipe here. There are slight differences from country to country, so this sofrito will work just as well in this Ecuadorian soup.

Now it’s time to check the pantry to make sure we have all of the ingredients!


Have you tried instacart yet? It’s how I get all of my fresh grocery items delivered within 2 hours!


  • First we cook the onions and potatoes with sofrito and spices.
  • Then we add milk and water to cook the potatoes.
How to make Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes - Sopa de Fideos y Queso con Papas
  • Next we add the pasta and cheese.
  • Cook until pasta is done and add cilantro.
How to make Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes - Sopa de Fideos y Queso con Papas
  • To serve, garnish with a few drops of annatto oil.

It’s kind of like Mac & Cheese in soup form. Definitely not low cal, but on cold winter nights when you want something thick and creamy, this soup just screams COMFORT FOOD.
Soup LR 4

If you would like to add some spice to it, you can serve it with Aji Criolla.

Soup LR 6
Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes
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4.91 from 10 votes

Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes

Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes – Sopa de Fideos y Queso con Papas is a simple Vegetarian soup that is perfect for cold winter temperatures. #soup #comfortfood #ecuadorianfood #vegetarian
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Ecuadorian
Servings: 10
Calories: 251.24kcal



  • In a large pot, heat oil.
  • Add onion and sofrito.
  • Saute until onions are softened.
  • Add potatoes, cumin and oregano.
  • Toss well to coat the potatoes with the spices.
  • Add milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook with pot partially covered for 10 minutes.
  • Add salt and raise heat to medium high.
  • Add pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes. (If using larger, shaped pasta, it will take longer to cook until al dente.)
  • Add cheese and another cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add cilantro and stir to combine.
  • Adjust salt, as needed.
  • Serve warm, garnished with a little of the achiote oil.


The soup will continue to thicken and absorb liquid as it cools. You will need to add more water when reheating any leftovers.
Substitute farmer’s cheese if you cannot source Queso Ecuatoriano.


Calories: 251.24kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.78g | Protein: 9.91g | Fat: 11.29g | Saturated Fat: 4.94g | Sodium: 379.42mg | Fiber: 2.19g | Sugar: 5.2g
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Ecuadorians love soup and generally eat it daily. Here are a few other Ecuadorian Soups you might like to try.

Ecuadorian Soup Recipes

Don’t forget to visit the RECIPE INDEX with over 1000 recipes from around the world including lots of Vegetarian Recipes and Gluten Free Recipes!

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Reader Interactions


  1. 5 stars
    The recipe reminds me off a warm soup I had when we were touring k NYC . I don’t recall the name but all I remember was it was soothing on a chill night and I called it a soupy version of Mac n cheese . Love the use of potatoes in your recipe which makes the soup a wholesome meal option

  2. 5 stars
    Ecuadorian Pasta Cheese Soup with Potatoes is hearty, filling soup with totally different flavors from the usual food I prepare. Its definitely a soup I’d love t prepare soon. Mireille, wondering what I can replace the annatto oil with.

  3. 5 stars
    Equadorian Pasta cheese soup with potatoes is so rich and flavourful. Enjoyed reading every bit you your write up about the different cultures. I would love to try this soup sometime. I hope to find similar cheese and the Annatto oil.

  4. 5 stars
    Such a hearty and filling soup of pasta cheese and potatoes in the eEqodorian flavors. Love it! And when come to USA I will love to visit all these places you have mentioned here.

  5. 5 stars
    The soup sounds amazing and I learnt so much about all the ingredients used -all new to me but I know I would like them especially the annatto oil and sofrito. I loved reading about the area you live in and where your mum lives. I felt as though I was walking with you.

  6. 4 stars
    Cheese and pasta we get it at Shoprite , only thing is to get it oil and I am all set, its perfect for cold days like right now.

  7. 5 stars
    the annatto oil is new to me – shall look it up. As for the soup, its delicous, warm and all things good n nice. your entire post makes me want to travel again and in particular to NYC all over again.. this time, I have you Mir as my best guide to show us the right hot and happening food spots 🙂

    • after the pandemnic I will be glad to show you around. I am not sure if you get annatto seed in India, but you can use saffron as a substitute in fact, annatto is sometimes referred to as poor man’s saffron.

4.91 from 10 votes

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