I have a confession for you all… And I can only hope that you won’t think I am a totally insane person after I tell you.
What’s it about?? SOUP.
Here it is:
Soup used to be an absolute “no” for me.
I used to dislike all kinds, from tomato to chicken noodle, chili to stews.
I literally would not touch the stuff. When I was a kid, I am pretty sure my mom sometimes wanted to scream bloody murder in frustration at my picky palate.
Soup is a pretty darn easy meal to make. It’s affordable, and big batches mean built-in leftovers, important factors when there are only two of you in the household.
But no matter how often my mom tried, I refused to eat soup of any kind.
It took until I reached college age for me to finally come around to chili. Now, chilis and similar stews are dishes that I crave with all my heart during the winter.
It’s cold outside, and warming up with a hot bowl of goodness is oh-so-inviting after a long commute home.
At least that’s what my husband tells me… I don’t really have to commute at this point.
(Moving from the bed to my desk doesn’t really count, does it?)
So, now that chili is in my life, all of the many soups that bear a resemblance to chili are recipes that I’m willing to consider with renewed enthusiasm.
This vegetarian taco soup is one of the recipes that I will eat voraciously when it’s cold outside, and it takes just 30 minutes to make. It reminds me of chili because it’s loaded up with beans, corn, and other vegetables that are used to make some of my favorite chili recipes.
The best aspect of this dish is the combination of spices that culminates in an intense flavor experience. The mix of cumin, ancho chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper is actually pretty basic, and you likely already have these in your spice rack.
Whether you are feeding your family or inviting a crowd to your house for a party, this recipe is one that has plenty of repeat value.
Why, you ask?
It won’t get boring because of all the different toppings that you can add to jazz it up. Everyone can pick and choose what they like to create their favorite bowl of vegetarian taco soup that’s unique to their flavor preferences.
In the garnish section of this recipe below, I have listed my personal favorite toppings: tortilla chips, chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and lime wedges. But you can feel free to make it yours, with special ingredients or whatever toppings you have on hand, especially if used them recently to make our other Mexican-inspired vegetarian tortilla soup or our spiced vegetarian tacos with onion, pepper, and mushroom.
When you set up this spread, everyone will run to the table to take part in the fun of customizing their own bowls.
It might even make a soup lover out of the most discerning (or picky) eater in your life.
Scale this dish up for a large party, and serve it as a new take on the taco or chili bars that you’re used to, with a soup that can feed meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. No one will feel like they’re missing out, and no one will miss the meat.
The only question is, how quickly can you get to the store to get all the ingredients you need to make this recipe?Print
This taco soup is a flavorful meatless meal that’s perfect for everyone, whether you’re a vegetarian or simply trying to cut back on your meat intake.
For the Soup:
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
- 2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 4-oz can diced green chilies
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
For the Garnish:
- Tortilla chips
- Lime wedges
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Hot sauce
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir frequently until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn.
- Stir in cumin, ancho chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, tomatoes with their juices, beans, chiles, broth, and corn until combined.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid is reduced by a quarter. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with your favorite toppings.
- Nutritional information below does not include optional garnishes.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: meatless, taco soup, vegetarian, beans, soup
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop, Mince, Drain, and Measure Ingredients
Juice about half of a lime. I roll mine on the counter first to make it easier to squeeze, and I save the other half to prep for garnish.
Peel a yellow onion and cut it in half. Dice half of the onion and reserve the other half for later use in another recipe, or to add to your garnish selection.
Peel two garlic cloves and mince them, or prep using your garlic press.
Rinse both cans of black beans in a colander, and set it aside in a bowl or clean kitchen sink to drain.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make the Base
Add the oil to a large saucepan or stock pot and place it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and saute until it is soft and translucent, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the garlic. Stir frequently, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure you don’t let the garlic burn or it’ll ruin the flavor.
Stir in the spices, tomatoes with their juices, drained beans, vegetable broth, corn, and chilies until well combined.
There’s no need to defrost the corn in advance, and you can use rinsed and drained canned corn or even fresh corn as a substitute.
If you’d like a spicier soup, feel free to adjust the cayenne content as you see fit. Remember that a little can go a long way! I prefer to spice mine up after serving with my favorite hot sauce, so anyone who likes a milder version won’t be blown away by the spice factor.
Step 3 – Simmer, Season, and Serve
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about a quarter. Remember to stir occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the lime juice.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot with your favorite toppings.
Change Things Up with Exciting Toppings
In the recipe above, I mention some of my favorite toppings to serve with this vegetarian taco soup. But these aren’t the only ones you can turn to.
Feel free to change things up with toppings that aren’t included among my top picks, like shredded lettuce, pickled jalapenos, chopped tomato, sliced avocado, queso fresco, cotija cheese, or whatever makes your soup-loving heart sing!
If this recipe has inspired you try even more vegetarian soups, check out the following recipes:
What toppings will you sprinkle on your perfect bowlful? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it.
Photos by Megan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 26, 2011. Last updated: January 6, 2023 at 10:00 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.