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October 4, 2017

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How to Turn a Can of Soup Into a Healthier Meal in 10 Minutes

by Anne Paddock

There are days when we just don’t have 30 minutes to make lunch or dinner and, yet we still want something healthy and delicious. We want protein, fiber, greens, vitamins, minerals, and flavor and to get these, we need to keep two products on hand:  canned soup in our pantry and greens in our refrigerator. Combining these two ingredients in a large soup pan and cooking for 3-5 minutes results in a meal in minutes. But not just any meal:  a wholesome, nourishing, hot flavorful meal!

Canned soup is a vast category so consumers need to be careful and read labels because most canned soups are full of sodium (a general rule of thumb is that we should limit sodium to 1,500 -2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, according to the FDA). Look for soups that say “low in sodium,” “light in sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”  Amy’s Foods, Inc. of Petaluma, California makes a line of organic “low in sodium” soups (290-340 mg of sodium per serving) that include:

  • Lentil Vegetable (pictured above and below)
  • Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable
  • Chunky Tomato
  • Butternut Squash
  • Minestrone
  • Lentil
  • Split Pea

and organic “reduced sodium” soups (450-570 mg of sodium per serving) that include:

  • Hearty French Country Vegetable
  • Chunky Vegetable
  • Hearty Rustic Italian Vegetable

Generally speaking “lower in sodium” has less sodium than “reduced sodium” but always read the label and pay particular attention to the number of servings per can.

Keep a bag or packet of fresh baby spinach and/or baby kale in the refrigerator (Note: Trader Joe’s sells a 6 ounce bag of organic spinach for $1.99-$2.29).  Using greens take the soups from good to great.

Simply open the can and pour into a large 4 quart pan. Add 5-7 ounces of spinach or kale (the smaller amount for a soup texture and the larger amount for a chowder-like texture) to the pan and turn the heat on medium, stirring every minute or two until the greens start to wilt. The pan will appear full or almost full but the greens will cook down.

Don’t overcook the soup. The greens will continue to cook just being in the hot soup. Serve immediately. Amy’s Light in Sodium Lentil Vegetable Soup with 5 ounces of baby kale is shown below.

Each 14.5 ounce can and 5-7 ounces of greens will make 1 large serving or 2 medium-sized servings. Double or triple the recipe (and use a larger soup pan) to feed 3-6. Amy’s Lower in Sodium Lentil Vegetable Soup with 7 ounces of baby spinach is shown below.

Amy’s Soups are available nationwide at most grocery stores or buy on-line at www.vitacost.com.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Kathy
    Oct 4 2017

    Great idea to add the fresh greens. So simple and nutritious!

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