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Ground Beef Conchita Soup: An Easy Weeknight Meal

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I hear you – whipping up a nourishing, from-scratch supper can seem downright implausible on a rushed worknight. As a parent constantly wrangling homework, activities, and bedtimes, I’m all too acquainted with the weeknight time crunch. But I’ve discovered this swift ground beef conchita soup is an absolute godsend for putting heartening, homemade fare on the table sans the fuss. In merely half an hour, you can stir up a pot brimming with all the comforting flavors and textures a busy household craves. Unlike tedious recipes that demand hours of simmering, this streamlined one-pot wonder maximizes convenience without sacrificing a morsel of gratification. From the fun little pasta shells to the protein-packed beef and potatoes, each rejuvenating bite overflows with simple goodness. So next time the clock seems to be outpacing you, take heart – this stress-free soup proves even the busiest families can gather around the table for a cozy, home-cooked meal.

Here are some key things you’ll want to know about this recipe:

What Is Conchitas with Ground Beef?

Conchitas are small, curved pasta shells that resemble conch seashells. Their hollow shape is perfect for holding rich sauces and broths. Unlike flat pastas, conchitas trap and absorb flavors into all their nooks and crannies. When toasted, they take on a delicious nutty taste. Their small size also cooks faster than large shells. For this soup, conchitas are key for enjoying both the zesty tomato broth and the beefy, spice-infused flavors.

What makes this recipe so fast?

Cooking everything together in one pot minimizes cleanup and streamlines the process. The ground beef, pasta, potatoes, and aromatics all simmer in the same pot for maximum convenience. Canned broth also helps speed things up by eliminating the need to prepare homemade stock. The potatoes and pasta cook right in the savory tomato-beef broth, absorbing flavors as they soften. With just one pot to wash, even cleanup is a breeze!

How can I stretch this into a full meal?

I like to serve this soup with quesadillas on the side. They provide a nice textural contrast to the tender pasta and potatoes. Corn tortillas stuffed with stretchy Oaxacan cheese get crispy and golden brown on a hot griddle. The melted cheese and charred tortilla flavors pair perfectly next to each savory, comforting spoonful. For even more heft, you can add shredded chicken or beef inside the quesadillas. Some avocado, sour cream, or chopped tomatoes also make tasty soup toppings. With so many easy add-ons, one pot quickly becomes a complete meal.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 14 ounces conchita pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pasta shells and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer shells to a plate.
Add the onion to the pot and cook for 3 minutes until translucent. Add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until no longer pink, about 5 more minutes.
Stir in the garlic, cumin, peppercorns, and potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Return pasta shells to the pot. Add the broths and tomatoes. Season generously with salt.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Serve the soup hot, garnished with cilantro. Enjoy with quesadillas if desired.

Cooking Tips

  • Lean ground beef ensures the soup won’t be too greasy. Make sure to break up the meat so it cooks evenly.
  • Crushing the cumin seeds and peppercorns brings out their natural oils for the most flavor.
  • The potatoes thicken the broth slightly for a heartier, more stew-like texture.
  • Canned broth provides convenience, while the tomatoes add bright acidity.

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