You can pull off this turkey taco soup mostly with pantry ingredients and minimal effort, because this healthy taco soup is either ready quickly on a stovetop or cooks itself in slow cooker while you are gone. Whatever method you choose, I’m sure it will work perfectly for this chaotic time of the year with back to school and sports. I’m certainly feeling “under the weather” of math homework and hockey tryouts. But then summer is nice, but kids are home – no perfect scenario in this life exists.
I always keep ground turkey and a huge bag of organic corn from Costco in the freezer, as well as canned organic tomato sauce in the pantry. I cook and freeze organic dried beans in batches, and I highly recommend you learn how to cook dried beans because you will save a ton of money if you usually buy organic BPA free canned beans. For toppings, use what you have – we like Que Pasa organic tortilla chips, Greek yogurt and kids like cheese. Even if you don’t have any, this soup will be delicious on its own. Oh, and you can make your own taco seasoning at home without preservatives => homemade spice recipes. My kids love Mexican food (I think most kids do), so I kept taco soup mild, just with a bit of a bite that they can handle.
How to Make Turkey Taco Soup
No matter whether you choose stovetop or slow cooker turkey taco soup cooking method, first you have to fry turkey with a bit of oil (=> healthy cooking oils I use) – it separates turkey into small pieces, and helps to release meat’s and spices’ flavours. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to skip this step.
Afterwards, all you have to do is literally dump remaining ingredients along with pre-cooked meat and cook low and slow.
I make taco soup in a dutch oven (heavy bottom pot works as well) when I’m in a rush for dinner – it is ready in 45 minutes, with 15 minutes max actual work time, the rest is idle time while soup is simmering. The longer it simmers, the deeper are flavours, however soup is ready pretty quick since all ingredients are already pre-cooked. I even used frozen ground turkey (in fact you are looking at it above) because I forgot to take it out the night before. Times when quality dutch oven comes in handy – I cooked meat on low covered for about 10 minutes, opening to scrape off cooked meat of all sides and flip the frozen blob to “steam” further. It works.
I choose slow cooker method, when I want to start dinner in the morning for the evening – busy with work or out running errands and driving kids to sports. I know there is a lot of hype around Instant Pot these days, but frankly I think it’s overrated – I will share my thoughts this week. I think there is nothing dutch oven or slow cooker can’t do what that pot does.
Turkey Taco Soup
Turkey Taco Soup Recipe made healthy with ground turkey, pantry ingredients, on a stovetop or in slow cooker.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours 8 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 servings
- 2 lbs ground turkey, lean
- 3 x 15 oz cans tomato sauce, low sodium
- 2 x 15 oz cans red kidney or romano beans, drained & rinsed
- 3 cups corn, frozen or canned (drained)
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 tbsp onion powder or flakes
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste*
- 4 cups water
- Avocado oil
- 1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- Greek yogurt and tortilla chips, for serving
- Stovetop Method: Preheat large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium – high heat, swirl a bit of oil to coat, and add turkey. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking into pieces. Add taco seasoning and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, onion powder, maple syrup, salt, pepper, water; and stir. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-60 minutes (longer – deeper flavours but overall soup is ready fast). Add cilantro and stir; serve hot with tortilla chips and Greek yogurt (if desired).
- Slow Cooker Method: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium – high heat, swirl a bit of oil to coat, and add turkey. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking into pieces. Add taco seasoning and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large slow cooker along with tomato sauce, beans, corn, onion powder, maple syrup, salt, pepper, water; and stir. Cover and cook on Low for 7 – 8 hours or on High for 3 – 4 hours. Add cilantro and stir; serve hot with tortilla chips and Greek yogurt (if desired).
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.
Make Ahead (Slow Cooker) for Freezer: In a large Ziploc bag, add cooked ground turkey (let it cool first) along with all ingredients (except water, cilantro and garnishes). Let air as much as possible, seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, add to slow cooker along with water, and cook as per further instructions + 1 hour.
*You might need to use less salt if using regular (not low sodium) tomato sauce.
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