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We first discovered Fig Food Company's "Lightly Salted" soups two years ago, when we found their Yucatan Black Bean Soup and their Mexican Bean and Rice Soup on the shelf at our local Whole Foods Market. As we said at the time, "Stop eating fast food and keep a couple of these soups in your desk drawer for emergencies." This continued to be the case with all of the other soups we have tasted from them: while some were better than others, they've all gotten a thumbs up from our tasting panel. (If you've been following our reviews for a while, you know how unusual that is.)
This week we were pleased to have discovered two new (to us) varieties from this vegan, organic, and kosher company. Readers with celiac disease or those who are gluten-sensitive should take note that while many of their soups are indeed gluten-free, today's offerings are not. Both contain spelt, an ancient wheat variety that looks much like barley when used whole in a soup, but has a firmer, nuttier texture. As with all of their soups, these come in microwavable pouches that contain 2 servings, but practically speaking are actually 1 serving. Just tear open the pouch, heat, pour into a bowl, and enjoy.
The Umbrian Lentil Soup was an immediate hit with at least one panelist for its high solid-to-liquid ratio: "You get a big spoonful of stuff," she said. It's a very hearty soup full of brown lentils, diced carrots and potatoes, spelt grains, and slices of leek. Bits of rosemary add an aromatic note to a soup the panelists described as "subtle" and "delicately flavored" while also "earthy." At 300 calories, 500 milligrams of sodium, and 18 grams of fiber for the total of the two servings in the pouch, this is far less sodium than you'll get at any fast food restaurant - and easily three times the fiber.
On the other hand, the Chickpea, Tomato & Thyme Soup (2 servings = 360 calories, 520 mg sodium, 12g fiber) was roundly agreed to not be a soup at all, but rather "chickpeas in a sauce." Some of the largest chickpeas I have ever seen are accompanied by tons of chewy spelt berries in a light tomato broth with diced carrots, potatoes, and onions. Thyme can easily overpower just about any other flavor, but here its slight bitterness complements the sweetness of the carrots and celery. "Is there a word stronger than 'hearty?'" one panelist inquired. "I'm pretty sure I couldn't finish the whole thing," said another. This is an excellent lunch and would make a great foundation for a quick weeknight meal - just sear a piece of fish and place it on top.
We appear to have only two Fig Food soups that we haven't reviewed: Tuscan White Bean and Gran Farro e Fagioli. We'll keep an eye out, but in the mean time it's probably a safe bet that those are good as well.
First posted: August 28, 2015