Sometimes here in New England, we have chilly August nights. The temperatures are down into the sixties and you just want something cozy. Even though I am not quite ready for fall, I do love the cozy soups and find myself having them more and more these past two weeks. Sometimes for dinner, or even for a quick lunch. There are so many ways to make a quick soup!
This recipe is is something that I threw together with what we had on hand. It is incredibly versatile and and adaptable so feel free to substitute or experiment. I will include some variations and tips at the end of this post.
Before I go any further: this apparently is taco soup according to my hubby. So… yeah. He is right. I just thought Mexican Minestrone sounded catchy and never thought that is was very similar to a taco in soup form. So I posted on my instagram account a picture of the soup with the Mexican Minestrone title. Too late. That’s what it is and here’s the recipe.
First, brown a pound of beef with 1-2 t. fresh garlic. Drain the fat and add 4 cups of water. Add one 16 oz. jar of salsa. We used mild salsa so that all of us could enjoy it. My husband and oldest son put hot sauce on top of their own serving. Drain and rinse one can of your choice of beans. (The kidney beans made me think minestrone, haha). Next, add a can of diced tomatoes, and about 1-2 cups of cooked corn. We had leftover corn on the cob which I cut off and added to the soup. I forgot to get a picture of the corn. Oops!
Let this all simmer together for about 20 min. As the flavors are meshing, prepare shredded cheddar cheese, crushed corn chips, and guacamole to serve on top. I hope you have a favorite soup bowl. Everything just tastes better in its proper serving dish. I love these hearty, earthy green pottery bowls that my mom has.
After you’ve ladled a couple of spoonfuls into your bowl, top it with the cheese, chips and guacamole.
Everyone in my family LOVED this soup! The kids liked getting to customize the toppings and enjoyed the SMOKEY flavor from the fire roasted tomatoes. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did. Happy cooking!
Variations and substitutions:
- 1 lbs. of ground turkey or 2 cups of cooked veggies such as cauliflower and carrots could be substituted for the meat.
- Try your favorite salsa! Probably not a sweet mango salsa though. I don’t think that would work.
- Black or pinto beans would be a delicious alternative to the kidney beans.
- I used fire roasted tomatoes and it lent a wonderful, SMOKEY flavor to the soup. If that sounds gross to you, use regular, salted, diced canned tomatoes. You could also use fresh, garden tomatoes if you wish. You would want to de-skin them first though. Look up how to do that if you don’t know how. It will add a little bit more time to the cooking process.
- Frozen (preferred) or maybe even canned corn (in a pinch) could be used in place of the fresh.
- cheddar really is the best cheese for this because it melts so smoothly and is not stringy like mozzarella. For dairy free, use vegan cheese.