What are the best sides for taco soup? Taco soup needs hearty, starchy sides for dunking. Try Tex-Mex corn pudding, cornmeal pancakes, or black beans with rice. Add a quick veggie-packed frittata, corn chips with a bean dip, or a fresh, bright salad, like zesty macaroni, citrus and jicama, or simple avocado salad for a light lunch.
With its combination of meat, beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices, taco soup bursts with flavor, color, and texture. Choose sides that don’t compete with this gorgeous soup but add warmth, comfort, and herbaceousness. Let’s look at the best sides for taco soup.
Corn Pudding With Poblano Peppers
This luscious side adds sweet, bright corn and gooey cheese to your steaming soup, making a simple supper into a feast. Bake this hearty, savory pudding while the soup bubbles away.
You need to preheat the oven to 325⁰F (160⁰C) and position your rack in the center of the oven.
Butter an ovenproof dish.
Start by removing the kernels from four corn cobs.
Then heat two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and add one diced onion, two teaspoons minced garlic, and ½ teaspoon dried oregano.
After five minutes, stir in the corn and the flesh of three roasted poblano peppers. Cook for another three minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, beat four eggs and five ounces of grated cheese, either Monterey Jack, mature cheddar, or a mixture. Season.
Finally, combine the eggs with the corn and bake for 30 minutes until puffy and golden.
Savory Cornmeal Pancakes
Instead of making cornbread, try these light, delicious pancakes, smothered in butter and dunked into the soup. They’re pretty straightforward to make:
Step one is heating your griddle pan.
In a large bowl, combine 1¼ cups of yellow cornmeal, a cup of plain flour, 1¾ teaspoons of baking powder, and ¾ teaspoon of salt.
Now, in a smaller bowl, beat 1¾ cups of milk, ¼ cup of melted butter, ¼ cup of maple syrup, and two eggs.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just combined.
Into this thin batter, stir ¾ cup of corn kernels, one diced jalapeno, two tablespoons of fresh coriander, ½ teaspoon of red pepper sauce, ¼ teaspoon of chili powder, and ground black pepper.
Spoon ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle per pancake, leaving room for spreading. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip and cook until the other side is brown.
A frittata is an Italian omelet, cooked until firm and eaten in hearty wedges. Use any leftover veggies to make this tasty, substantial side.
Begin by melting ¼ cup of butter in a heavy frying pan. Cook three sliced onions in the butter until browned.
Now add three potatoes, unpeeled but sliced. Stir the onions and potatoes well, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. (If you have leftover cooked potatoes, add them and skip this step.)
Next, add two sliced zucchini (or spinach, peas, etc.) and cook until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, beat four to six eggs with two tablespoons of water and ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Pour over the vegetables.
Cook the frittata for 10 minutes until the sides and bottom are cooked.
Sprinkle another ¼ cup of cheese on top. Pop the frittata under a hot grill until the top puffs up and browns.
Black Beans And Rice
This hearty Spanish rice will fill up a hungry family in need of comfort food on a chilly evening. The fragrance fills the house along with the spices of the taco soup.
While the soup is cooking, sautée two red onions, two minced cloves of garlic, and one habanero chili, seeded and chopped.
After five minutes of cooking, add two cups of diced tomatoes, three cups of water, and a cup of long-grain rice. Add salt and bring to a boil.
Once the rice is boiling, stir in 1½ cups of cooked or canned black beans.
Cook over medium heat until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and allow the dish to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Adzuki Bean Dip
Your soup probably has kidney beans in it, so to make a change from typical Mexican bean dips, try this dip made with Japanese adzuki beans.
The beans are sweet, creamy, and delicious, served with tortilla chips.
This recipe requires two cups of cooked or canned adzuki beans – they take about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker or Instapot.
Blitz the beans with a tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of chili powder, four tablespoons of the beans’ cooking water, two cloves of chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt. Process until the mixture is smooth.
Add three tablespoons of finely minced red onion and three diced roast chili peppers.
Serve with corn chips.
Zesty Macaroni Salad
Soup and a salad is a healthy dinner. This pasta salad combines your starch and veg in a single vitamin-filled bowl, echoing the cooked veg in your soup.
Make the salad in advance and serve at room temperature with the piping hot soup.
First, cook a cup of elbow macaroni until tender in boiling, salted water. Once cooked, rinse and place in a large serving bowl.
While the pasta is still warm, pour over three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, three tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and two tablespoons of chicken stock. Mix well, season, and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, chop 12 cherry tomatoes, 12 yellow tomatoes, ¼ red onion, 12 black olives, a tablespoon of fresh basil, a tablespoon of fresh parsley, and two tablespoons of fresh mint.
Add the vegetables to the pasta with a teaspoon of grated lemon zest. Mix well and serve.
This salad combines sweet jicama with bright citrus and spicy chili as a refreshing side for your rich soup. Here’s how you make this traditional Mexican side:
Peel, halve, and slice one medium jicama into thin slices and place in a salad bowl.
Add two small cucumbers, six radishes, and one small red onion in long, thin slices.
Next, peel and remove the pith from three navel oranges. Cut into juicy slices and add to the salad bowl.
Pour over the juice of two limes and let the salad stand for 20 minutes to blend.
Finally, sprinkle with two teaspoons of ground ancho chili and a handful of chopped fresh coriander.
Instead of guacamole, serve this simple yet filling salad to make a delicious lunch. It’s straightforward to make and is a hit with youngsters.
For a start, peel and slice one avocado and brush the slices with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Next, chop or tear the leaves of one lettuce. Place in a salad bowl.
Add four roughly chopped tomatoes, four cold, sliced potatoes, one diced green pepper, and one small diced onion. Add to the salad bowl.
Make a salad dressing by combining two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, ½ cup of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Toss the ingredients, and place the avocado on top of the salad.
Best Wine Pairings Taco Soup
A spicy, bold taco soup needs a wine that can deal with the tingling spices and layers of flavor. Avoid high-tannin, high-alcohol wines, as spicy food heightens both.
Red wine is perfect with taco soup, especially a fruit-forward Spanish Tempranillo or Rioja with berry undertones. Choose a bottle with juicy fruit notes if you enjoy Grenache, Shiraz, or Pino Noir.
White wines are delightful with highly spiced food. We recommend Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or a dry Riesling, with citrus flavors.
Best Sauces And Garnish Pairings For Taco Soup
Taco soup is already full of flavor, texture, and color, so all it needs are some garnishes. Choose typical Tex-Mex flavors and taco fillings:
- Grated cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Minced shallots or green onion
- Shredded lettuce
- Freshly chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Queso Fresca, a soft, creamy cheese
Try this easy salsa verde cruda to top your soup or scoop up with nachos. Serve it immediately, or else the onion will overpower the sauce.
Combine a cup of tomatillos, one small red onion, three serrano peppers, a clove of garlic, and four tablespoons of fresh coriander in a blender.
Then, blitz, but leave the salsa chunky. Add water if the sauce is too thick.
Season with salt and a dash of sugar.