Back when I was a newlywed, I read that the average American family makes the same 9 meals on rotation. 9 meals. 9 meals? “How can the vast flavors of the world be explored in just 9 meals?” I wondered. I vowed then and there that I would never allow myself to become the “average American family” in that regard. I had only been cooking for a couple of years at this point and was bound and determined to explore food as much as my palate and budget would allow.
Over the years I have experimented with many cuisines ranging from Greek to Indian and everything in between. We’ve had many weeks of meal plans that are akin to a hot air balloon ride around the globe, never stopping in the same country twice. As a result, my children have fairly adventurous palates.
However, after spending the last 7 + years in Texas, my family has shown a strong preference for Southwestern and Mexican flavors. I don’t mind at all because let’s face it, beans, rice, and potatoes are healthy and easy on the pocketbook. We usually have some type of Mexican-esque dish at least once a week ranging from simple 5 Layer Burritos to Taco Stuffed Potatoes, or even Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for a little sweet and savory twist. And please note that even in the writing of that sentence, I couldn’t stick to one language either. Mexican-esque?
THAT’S NOT EVEN A WORD!
10 virtual points if you can name the show that quote hails from.
Since by now you are familiar with my love of soup, Mexican flavors, and slow cooker dishes, today I bring you a Slow Cooker Taco Soup. This dish is so simple, requires minimal prep work, and makes your house smell fantastic all afternoon. The soup itself has a nice, balanced flavor that is brightened up before serving with some fresh lime juice, made heartier by the addition of rice, and rounds out with some creamy avocado. Feel free to add another jalapeño if your family likes spice. Since my kiddos aren’t all on board with spice yet, I only use one and then spice up my own bowl with some hot sauce.
Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes (not pictured, sorry!)
- 2 cans bean blend, drained and rinsed (or beans of your choice)
- 1 16oz can vegan refried black beans
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 10 oz frozen corn
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 package taco seasoning* (or make your own: 1 TBS chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp oregano)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: Fresh lime juice, avocado (or guac), cilantro, hot sauce, cooked rice, etc
*Note: Many store bought taco seasoning packets contain fillers, dairy (why?!), gluten, and/or have a high sodium content. If you choose to use a packet seasoning, be sure to read the ingredient list!
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker (except the salt, pepper, and garnishes). Stir well to dissolve the refried beans.
- Cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4.
- Check soup for seasoning before serving.
- To serve, add a squeeze of lime juice to each bowl and serve with rice, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, or any other toppings you’d like. Serves 4-6. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If there was one genre or style of food that you could eat for the rest of your life without getting bored, what would it be?