Mexican Minestrone

The other night, we experienced a very rare occurrence in our house. We had leftover taco meat! And a real amount of it too, not just a few spoonfuls. That almost never happens around here.

As I was packing away the leftovers, I decided that I’d use the meat to make a soup. I instantly thought of my friend Amy’s recipe for taco soup.

When the time rolled around for me to make the soup, I decided to just wing it since I didn’t have all of the right ingredients in Amy’s recipe. And as I watched the pot simmer, I decided to toss in a few handfuls of elbow macaroni. When I dished out the bowls for our dinner, I noticed how much the soup resembled a minestrone, albeit a Mexican version.

I thought that was perfect. And judging by how quickly the family gobbled up their bowls, they felt that way too. The spiciness was just right and all the flavors and textures worked together to create a very soul-satisfying soup.

Since I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I was to have extra taco meat laying around, I’ll give the recipe as it would be made from the beginning. But by all means, if you have leftover taco meat on hand, use that in place of the ground beef and seasonings.

Mexican Minestrone

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (do NOT drain)
  • 4 c. beef stock
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
  • Optional garnish: shredded cheese and/or sour cream

1. In a stock pot, brown ground beef with onion, pepper and seasonings. Drain. Stir in tomatoes, beef stock and black beans. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, just to let the flavors develop. (You can simmer this all day at this point, if you want.)

2. About 30 minutes per serving, remove cover from pot. Bring soup to a boil and stir in macaroni. Return soup to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.

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