vegetarian recipe: fideo seco


Fideos are a household staple for Latin-American families across the country and it rivals a pressure-cooked pot of beans in ease. Growing up, we ate my mom’s variation of the dish that was affectionately referred to as sopita. Her “little soup” consisted of noodles in a tomato-chicken broth and we would slurp it up on weekdays when life was too busy for the slow-simmered stews that we loved.

What I’ve been making lately is a fideo seco. It’s even less finicky to make than the noodle soup my mom made and is a versatile base for whatever fresh veggies or toppings I may have around.

Fideos Secos
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 package of fideos (or spaghetti broken up into 1” pieces)
1/2 can of tomatoes (crushed or diced)*
water or broth
salt & pepper
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)*
red onion slices
lime juice

Heat up oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add fideos and fry till they start to brown. Add your tomatoes and cook a little more. Add just enough water to cover the noodles. Salt & pepper to taste. Cook until all the liquid is gone. Divide into bowls and top with black beans, red onion, avocado & lime juice.

* You can substitute equal portions of fresh pureed tomatoes or black beans if you have them on hand.

I chose to use this meal as part of the Capital Area Food Bank’s Hunger Awareness Challenge because it can be made exclusively with pantry items and topped off with inexpensive SNAP-approved toppings. AND…if it’s the end of the month, when pantries and Lonestar cards run bare, you can make a portion for 4-6 people for well under $5.

The addition of beans takes it from snack to a full-size meal and helps to stretch the single package of fideos for more portions. It works like a salad, really, so topping off with whatever you have on hand can help make sure that those 1/4 onions and 1/2 cukes get used up.

Some other suggestions for toppings would be:
Sweet peppers
Jalapeños or serranos
Cabbage or lettuce
Pinto beans or garbanzos
Lemon juice
Pickled red onions



  1. Kim

    i love your fideos recipe, with super healthy toppings. i was even more impressed with the suggestion on how to use SNAP benefits (aka food stamps). having used benefits myself, and now more than ever people are on benefits (i saw here on the news in new mexico that persons applying for benefits rose more than 13% this year), people we would not expect to be on benefits, need access to healthy recipes and ways of using food, instead of reaching for prepackaged, over processed food items and sugary drinks.

    thank you for the post!

    1. aneelee

      thank you! i’m hoping to write a few more posts before the month is out to talk about SNAP benefits. And you are sooo right. Applications for SNAP benefits are on the rise, but it is still an underused resource for families that are struggling to put food on the table. I’m trying to pull together a few more posts before the end of the month to talk more about it.

      thanks again and i hope you enjoy the fideos. 🙂

  2. Monica

    I’m sad that I’ve never had this before, and never got to eat it at friends’ houses growing up in San Jose. Thank you for sharing this recipe, Aneelee. It sounds just as homey as tuna noodle casserole but at least 100 times better. After I make it I’ll let you know what the kidlets thought about it 🙂

    1. aneelee

      it makes it into our meal plan just about every week. 🙂 and uber kid-friendly! i’ve always thought that toppings are a great way to get kids to try new veggies. cabbage!

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