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Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Just Tell Me What to Eat!

Just Tell Me What to Eat!

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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Amy's Kitchen

Light in Sodium Soups: Chunky Tomato Bisque and Minestrone



Amy's Light in Sodium Chunky Tomato Bisque Review by Dr. GourmetIt seems like it's been a long time since we reviewed products from Amy's. I spotted a new item in the freezer case and spent a few minutes trying to find another meal we hadn't reviewed, until I saw the sodium level in the one I'd picked up: their new Thai Red Curry bowl has 780 milligrams of sodium. Nope. That's way more salt than a 420-calorie lunch meal should have. I put it back, then it occurred to me that perhaps there were Amy's soups that we hadn't reviewed.

The soup section of the store yielded far more reasonable results: today's soups, from their Light in Sodium line, have less than 350 milligrams of sodium per serving. As usual, a single can of soup is labeled to be 2 servings, but you and I know this is just silly: nobody's going to eat only half the can of soup.

The tasting panel opted to try the Chunky Tomato Bisque first. On first sip, this is an excellent soup: it has a bright red color and bright tomato flavor, with a hint of onion and chunks of tomato for texture. The addition of just enough cream to this soup (hence the "bisque" in the name) does little more than add richness and cut the acidity of the tomato base. With all the tomato flavor, it's clear that there's plenty of salt in this soup, and at 130 calories, 340 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of fiber (remember, multiply all of those by 2 to get the true numbers), we were all set to give this a thumbs' up.

Amy's Light in Sodium Minestrone Review by Dr. GourmetUntil we took a second and a third spoonful. You don't notice it at first, but this soup is sweet. Really sweet. Far too sweet. A little sweetness in a tomato soup goes a long way (there's maple syrup in my Tomato Basil Soup recipe), but Amy's has gone too far with this one. Thumbs down for a soup that tastes too much like sweetened ketchup.

Before tasting the MInestrone, we checked the ingredients: no added sugars in this one. Which is almost too bad, as the tomato-based broth in this soup has very little flavor. This soup combines everything that can be bad about canned soups (mushy vegetables, mushy pasta, and the flavor cooked out of both) with everything that is perceived to be bad about low sodium foods (little to no flavor) and yields a perfect storm of boring. One panelist said that it actually has "a watery aftertaste. With hints of oregano." At 90 calories, 290 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of fiber (again, multiply by two), this is 180 calories of wasted time. Make your own flavorful Low Sodium Minestrone with my recipe, which has 405 calories and 496 milligrams of sodium in a serving. It'll keep well all week and you'll be far more satisfied with its 18 grams of fiber.