This vegetarian taco soup is healthy and delicious, and it’s easy to make in either your slow cooker or your Instant Pot!
I got two slow-cookers (AKA Crock-Pots) when I got married. Actually, three people bought them for me but one of my husband’s friends saw the other two that we had already gotten in our apartment when he came in town for our wedding and took the one he had gotten us back (he subsequently replaced said slow-cooker gift with DVDs of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, much cooler gifts anyway, at least for these children of the eighties). It took me a few years to find my panache as a slow-cooker chef. I don’t really remember my mom using a slow-cooker when I was a kid and honestly I’m not even sure we had one back then (she does have a couple now). My early attempts at slow-cooker cooking included roasts (generally of the chuck variety), beef stew, chili, and taco soup from a recipe given to me by our school nurse (more on that in a minute).
The first food blog that I ever followed with any sort of faithfulness was Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking, which I started reading after seeing Stephanie on The Rachael Ray Show discussing her pledge to use her slow cooker every day for a year. And blog about it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. That was in 2008 and she’s still adding new recipes, though not daily anymore. She’s also released two cookbooks: Make It Fast, Cook It Slow (which I own) and More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow (which I don’t own). Anyway, Stephanie made so many interesting things in her slow cooker….pasta, chicken nuggets, rice, brownies (okay, so none of those foods are particularly interesting….I really just meant that it was interesting that she made them in her slow cooker) and it inspired me to use mine more.
Slow cooking is not fool proof, and you can’t just dump a bunch of ingredients into your slow cooker and be assured a delicious, perfectly cooked meal. Sometimes it happens like that, and sometimes your chicken has the texture of a paper bag (which is why I never cook chicken breasts in the slow cooker. I got burned, figuratively speaking, one too many times). Not all slow cooker meals take kindly to just being left for hours and hours and hours. Baked goods can burn, or you can forget to spray the stoneware when you make slow cooker French toast and then you have to trash your entire slow cooker because no matter how much you soak it the bread just won’t come off the side (not that it’s happened to anyone I know).
Some meals, though, are magical. Like this taco soup. For many years I made taco soup that contained a whole lot of packaged stuff, and chances are if you’ve had taco soup it was probably pretty similar to what I’ve had. This one isn’t devoid of packaged foods…while I had pinto and black beans I’d cooked myself, the only kidney beans I had in the house were in a can, and it’s not tomato season (and even if it was I’m not sure I’d waste perfect seasonal tomatoes in a soup) so I used canned tomatoes. However, I didn’t see any need to add Ro*tel when I could cook a jalapeño instead, and I had all the spices in my pantry to make my own taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix…without the filler. Oh, and I doubled the beans and left out the meat. You could use half the beans and add a pound of cooked and drained ground beef….but I promise this is just as good (if not better).
Yield: 6 servings
This soup is equally simple and delicious whether cooked in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Instant Pot directions are included in the "notes" at the end of the recipe.
15 minPrep Time:
6 hrCook Time:
6 hr, 15 Total Time:
- 1-2 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 1 jalapeno (seeds & ribs removed, diced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely minced-I used my garlic press)
- 2 Cups or 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed if canned)
- 2 Cups or 1 can pinto beans (drained & rinsed if canned)
- 2 Cups or 1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed if canned)
- 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 Cups vegetable broth (you could also use chicken broth if you are not concerned about it being completely vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 Teaspoons onion powder
- 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 3 Ears corn (cleaned, kernels cut off of ears) or 2 cups frozen corn
- grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese, sour cream, and chopped cilantro (if desired)
- Preheat the oil over medium heat in a medium pan. Sauté the onion and jalapeno until softened and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, paprika, and cumin and cook for another 30 seconds.
- While the onion mixture is cooking, place the beans, canned tomatoes, and broth into a 4-6 quart slow-cooker. Add the onion mixture and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- Just before serving, add the corn kernels, parsley, and cilantro. Cover and heat through for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, sour cream, and more chopped cilantro if desired.
To make this in the Instant Pot, preheat the Instant Pot on the saute setting. Follow the directions in step 1 then turn the Instant Pot off once the onions, jalapeno, and garlic are cooked through and the spices have been added. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Close the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is closed. Press the "Bean/Chili" button and set the timer for ten minutes. Once the cooking is complete, quick release the pressure and serve with desired toppings.