How about a taco Thursday? So my taco Tuesdays sort of got a little side-lined during my traveling but that doesn’t mean we can’t still go Mexican today, right?
So my sister and I were in Southern California for over 4 days and we just barely managed to eat Mexican food once. Okay, I know, I know, Mexican food is the thing there. People come from all over the world and know that it’s the place to get the authentic stuff. It’s just that ironically, out of a huge family that all love Mexican food, my sister and probably like it the least. For her it’s that she doesn’t enjoy spicy food much, but for me it’s not so much that I don’t like it, it’s more that I just enjoy so many other kinds of cuisine just a little bit more so I rarely choose Mexican.
While we were there, we had a pretty open schedule and I think we did ourselves a favor by not setting any strict plans for each day and just going with the flow. However, there was one thing we really wanted to do and that was visit a place called Ruriberto’s Taco Shop because it’s literally my dad’s favorite food on the planet and we knew it was a must. It’s this little unassuming, hole-in-the-wall type of place, but oh my gosh!
It’s also the source of a funny story in my family. You see, my dad grew up nearer to the East Coast and my mom was a Cali-girl so when they met my dad wasn’t very familiar with the flavors of authentic Mexican food. Haha, don’t tell them I said this but this was back in the dark ages before chains like Chipotle had swept the country and the internet was bombarded by avocado toasts. I’m pretty sure my dad had never even had avocados. Anyway, he once told us this story of the first time my mom introduced him to this taco place and as he was describing it my mom walks into the room and barely catches Dad so fondly saying the words “….and that’s when I met………….” Unfortunately for my dad, he finished the sentence not with “you’re mom” but with “….cilantro!!!!”, and my mom has never let him live it down. Haha, so whenever someone says cilantro we all laugh.
Like I said, we don’t even consider ourselves big fans of Mexican food but this was amazing. Yes, if you’re ever in San Diego you have to go there. It’s pretty casual dining so they served the food with plastic forks and, not even joking, the chicken was so tender you could cut it with the flimsy plastic forks. I have to find out how they make it. So about now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with this recipe. Well, I guess what I’m getting at is that my dad might have forever converted me into a Mexican foodie by recommending that place. That’s why I thought I’d share something Mexican today and this soup seemed perfect.
It’s really fast and easy to make and it’s perfect for weeknights when you want something quick and easy. I actually made it in the crock-pot once and it turned out amazing. Most of the time I’ll lighten it just a little by using coconut yogurt instead of full-fat coconut milk. Also, feel free to spice it up if your family likes it hot. Top it with some “sour cream”, fresh chives, and maybe a little guac if you like, and then serve it with tortilla chips for dipping. Also, don’t forget the cilantro!
Cheesy Quinoa Fiesta Taco Chicken Soup (Vegan+GF)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 mini sweet bell peppers or 3 regular [and they can be any color], seeded and diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- 1 lime medium juice and zest
- 1 handful fresh cilantro chopped
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can sweet corn, drained
- 1 8 ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup non-dairy plain yogurt such as coconut or cashew
- 2 teaspoons sriracha or you're favorite hot sauce, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra non-dairy plain yogurt or non-dairy "sour cream"
- tortilla chips
In a large non-stick skillet, add about 1/4 inch of water and the peppers, garlic, and onion. Cook for 3 - 4 for minutes until starting to brown, then add the quinoa and stir over heat to toast for about 2 minutes.
Now add in the broth, tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, lime, taco seasoning, corn, and beans.
Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender.
Now stir in the "yogurt", hot sauce, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir well. Adjust spice level if you want it spicier, then simmer until heated through. Turn off heat and serve soup hot with desired toppings.