Quick & fool-proof turkey taco soup [Recipe]


Turkey taco soup

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I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I don’t think my waistline would thank me. Fortunately, this healthy turkey taco soup is one of the few recipes I have memorized, and it has saved me on many a busy weeknight. This Southwestern-inspired soup also is proven to cure homesickness in any Texpatriate’s heart, as I learned navigating the most brutal winters of my life in New York City.

As most of the ingredients are canned or frozen, I try to keep the ingredients on hand in my pantry, so I can have dinner ready for a crowd in less than 30 minutes. It’s also a great opportunity to use up any stray produce sitting in your fridge. Got some extra bell peppers or a spare zucchini? Chop those up, and throw them in there. Trust me, you can’t mess this up! I do recommend opting for low-sodium versions of any canned ingredients, however. Although high in protein and low in fat, the salt content of this soup could add up if you’re not careful.

The secrets to this quick meal’s tastiness? That classic Tex-Mex staple: Ro-Tel, a magical combination of diced tomatoes and green chiles. I recommend the “Mexican” variety, which includes lime juice and cilantro for extra flavor. And the addition of refried beans adds a thickness and creaminess to the soup, as if it has been simmering away on your stovetop for hours. Pretty sneaky.

To make this meal vegetarian and vegan-friendly, substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth, and switch out the ground turkey for some cooked quinoa or an extra can of beans.

Makes 8-9 one-cup servings, each with about 200 calories, not including toppings.



  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 16-oz. can refried beans, traditional or black bean variety (fat-free, if possible)

  • 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn

  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Ro-Tel (if you can’t find Ro-Tel at your grocery store, substitute 1 can diced tomatoes plus a 4-oz. can of diced green chiles)

  • 2 ½ cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 T homemade taco seasoning (see recipe below) OR 1 1.25-oz. packet of taco seasoning

  • Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, chopped scallions, jalapeno slices, shredded lettuce, crumbled cotija, shredded pepperjack, sour cream, tortilla chips


  1. In a large soup pot, brown the ground turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon. When cooked through, drain excess grease.

  2. Add onions and peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, until soft.

  3. Add beans, corn, tomato sauce, Ro-Tel, chicken broth and taco seasoning.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes until ready to serve.

  5. Serve with tortilla chips and/or your favorite toppings.

To prepare homemade taco seasoning, combine the following and store in an airtight container:

  • 1 T chili powder

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp oregano

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp (about 15 cranks) fresh black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp corn starch (optional, for thickening)

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper