Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taco Soup

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo…

I came up with this recipe a few months ago, after ordering a version of it in a restaurant and being severely disappointed when it showed up in front of me. Perhaps I took the name of the menu item too literally, but when I order something called “Taco Soup” I expect it to have some kind of taco flavor. Instead, what I got was nothing more than a bowl of chili with corn mixed into it…
Almost immediately, I began thinking of how I would make it, if it were my soup. Perhaps some of you will remember the Chicken Taco Soup I blogged about a few months ago, which was actually a variation of this recipe. This was the initial recipe I came up with, and then I changed it up at the last minute because chicken was on sale at the grocery store. Since then, I made this version, and then I made plenty of extra soup so that I could freeze it for later, any time I want it! You can also brown the meat and then place all of the soup ingredients in a Crock Pot to simmer all day, which will help to make the soup extra tasty. I even throw my frozen blocks of soup into the crock pot when I'm going to be busy, and then I have a nice, hot dinner when I return home!
Please, don't be daunted by the long list of ingredients. This really is very easy to make, and most of the ingredients are for the taco seasoning mix or are the garnishes for the top of the soup. If you don't want to make your own taco seasoning, you may feel free to use the packaged variety... I do encourage everyone to try making their own, though! It's not at all difficult to measure out the ingredients for the seasoning mix, and you can feel so much better about it because you know what you're eating and what's gone into your food. I like being able to control the sodium content in my food, since so many packaged products go overboard with the salt, so I find the little bit of extra time well worth it.
What I think really sets my version(s) of this soup apart is that it really does have taco flavor. For the base, I started with my chili recipe and then changed things to be more of a taco-flavored soup, making sure to put plenty of taco seasoning in the mix, and then topped it the same way I did with the Chicken Taco Soup, the way I imagined it being presented to me the very first time I ordered it. (Wouldn’t you be a little disappointed too, if this was the picture in your head and were given something not even equivalent to your expectations?!) One thing that I did this time was that I added a couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves to the soup, which you don’t have to do. It doesn’t really give it any extra flavor, but it does improve the nutritional value a little bit more! :-)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Printable Recipe

1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey breast
6 Tbsp. chili powder
3 Tbsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. garlic powder
1½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. sea salt
4½ tsp. smoked paprika
3 tsp. ground coriander
1½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 c. low-sodium beef broth
1 (2.87 oz.) container chili powder
2 qt. tomato juice
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained
Fresh tomatoes, diced
Green onion, sliced
Lettuce, shredded
Black olives, sliced
Shredded cheddar cheese
Guacamole or diced avocado
Sour cream
Tortilla chips or thin tortilla strips

Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, coriander, and cayenne pepper in a bowl; divide the mixture into a ⅓ portion and a ⅔ portion, mixing the cornstarch with the ⅓ portion, and set aside.
Spray a stockpot with cooking spray and add the ground sirloin and chicken or turkey breast, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until all of the meat is cooked through and slightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up the meat.
Once the hamburger is cooked through, add the ⅓ portion of spice mixture and beef broth; bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix the remaining ⅔ portion of spice mixture and the chili powder with some tomato juice and whisk until well incorporated, and then add it to the stockpot. Add the remaining tomato juice, tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, and black beans. Simmer the soup for at least an hour to allow all of the flavors to marry and enhance.
When soup is ready, serve it in bowls (make sure to leave some room at the top of your bowl) and top with fresh tomatoes, green onions, lettuce, black olives, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Sprinkle with thin-cut tortilla strips or serve with tortilla chips.


  1. that looks like a delightful soup. i really like mexican food and will try making this soon :)

  2. Hello, Abeer!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    You'll have to let me know what you think of the soup when you make it! It's really very easy to throw together... I love Mexican food too! Anything spicy, really!! :-)

  3. What a fantastic idea. I too have encountered the disappointing taco soup at places :( Nothing about this sounds disappointing. Sounds like I have my dinner for Cinco de Mayo ;)

  4. Hi, Lauren!
    Thank you for the compliments! I'm glad that someone else understands my disappointment... But, I promise, you won't be disappointed with this soup! It's like tacos in a bowl!! :-)
    You'll have to let me know what you think after you try it!

  5. oh, how fun. Excellent idea- I can't wait to try it myself!

  6. Shellina, thank you! Let me know what you think!

    Briarrose, it definitely is!! :-)

  7. That soup looks fantastic. I don't think the avocado would survive long. I'm already wanting to pick the chunks out of the bowl and just savor them. I'm sorry the restaurant's version was so disappointing. I hate it when that happens.

  8. Thank you for the compliments, Christiane! The avocado is a prized food possession in my house too... What you don't see is that there's an entire bowl of diced avocado off to the side that I'd been snacking on while preparing the rest of the ingredients! I LOVE avocado.
    As for the restaurant version... I suppose it's one of the hazards of being a foodie. My mind was thinking about what the soup was like before it even got to the table, so when I ended up with something different it was my own preconceived notions which lead to my disappointment. Oh, well! If we don't like it, then we are more than capable of making it into what we DO want!! :-)