If you love tacos and you love soup…well, taco soup is a no brainer! It’s a Tex Mex invention like taco salad, basically a mashup between a Mexican tortilla soup and American chili. Each bowl is warming, savory and smoky, and a cozy canvas for toppings like sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. The best part: it’s done in 30 minutes and customizable for eaters of any diet! This makes it endlessly versatile and an ideal weeknight meal. This easy taco soup recipe was a hit in our house: and we hope it will be in yours, too! Let’s get cooking.
Ingredients in this easy taco soup
There’s nothing traditionally Mexican about taco soup: in fact, it’s a Tex Mex invention: chili meets tortilla soup. In fact, it’s closer to chili than anything: it’s just more aggressively taco-spiced. For this recipe, we put a spin on our tortilla soup to add “taco meat” and more taco seasonings. Here are the basic building blocks of this easy taco soup recipe:
- Taco meat: You can use either plant-based veggie crumbles or ground beef for meat lovers. This makes it work for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or meat-eating diets (see below).
- Onion, bell pepper and garlic: This mix of fresh veggies hits the spot
- Beans and corn: We like a mix of black beans and pinto beans
- Canned tomatoes: Fire-roasted tomatoes have the best flavor, but use whatever you can find
- Taco seasonings: Use a mix of cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and cumin
- Adobo sauce: This smoky sauce from inside a can of chipotle peppers is the magic ingredient (see below).
Taco soup for any diet: use veggie crumbles or beef!
These days, families are balancing lots of different eating styles at a single table. So we’ve started to make our recipes versatile for many different diets. This easy taco soup recipe works with meat or for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. Here’s how you can do it:
- Use plant-based crumbles. These days there are lots of vegan meat substitutes at the grocery store: and many are less processed than in the past. But be picky when you’re at the store: look for veggie crumbles with a short ingredient list and whole food ingredients. Also, experiment with brands to find a texture you like. So far, we’ve liked Beyond Meat crumbles best: they’re made of pea protein and have a meat-like texture.
- Or, use ground beef. You can simply swap in 1pound ground beef in this recipe. Cook it before you start and drain it.
Adobo sauce adds smoky flavor and body
The flavor secret to this taco soup recipe? Adobo sauce! This magic ingredient brings nuance, body and a lightly smoky flavor to the broth. We use this trick all the time, and it’s especially helpful in adding flavor to vegan and vegetarian recipes. Here are a few notes on what to look for at the store if you haven’t worked with this ingredient:
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are easy to find at most grocery stores near the Mexican products. The can includes chipotle chiles: smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated and canned, and adobo sauce, a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
- You’ll use the sauce, not the chipotle peppers. Use a spoon to remove the adobo sauce from the can, working around the hot peppers.
- The quantity below adds a moderate level of spice to the soup. It’s not ultra spicy. You can add more to taste!
- What to do with the leftovers? Refrigerate or freeze the remainder, and use it for more adobo sauce recipes, like vegetarian fajitas or enchilada sauce.
Taco soup toppings
Just like chili, the best part of taco soup is the toppings! It tastes great as is, but even better dressed up with garnishes. The taco soup is plant-based and vegan without the garnishes, so for a vegan meal simply add plant-based toppings. The first four are required toppings in our mind, then we’ve got some optional ideas:
What would you add to your taco soup? Let us know if you try the recipe below and what you think!
This taco soup recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 15-ounce can black beans
- 15-ounce can pinto beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups (10 to 12 ounces) plant-based crumbles* (or 1 pound cooked and drained ground beef)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
- 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon each dried oregano and cumin
- 1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Toppings: shredded cheese (optional), sour cream (or cashew cream), hot sauce, sliced avocado or pickled jalapenos (optional), crushed tortilla chips
- Dice the onion. Dice the green pepper. Mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Stir in the veggie crumbles (or ground beef) for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes, beans, corn, adobo sauce, broth, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add additional adobo sauce or kosher salt if desired.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and allow to cool to warm. Top with cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and crushed tortilla chips.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Soup
Keywords: Taco soup, Easy taco soup, Taco soup recipe, Easy taco soup recipe
More favorite soup recipes
Soup is always a winning dinner idea: most of the time it’s easy, healthy, and delicious! Here are a few soup recipes to try: