Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trader Joe's Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I grew up eating Campbell's tomato soup. It became my de facto gold standard for what tomato soup was supposed to be. It was almost magical, in that I could add water to make it the regular way, add milk to make cream of tomato soup, or even go half-and-half to make it in between. Any of the three varieties would pair with a grilled cheese sandwich for a perfect lunch.

On the rare occasions that I would have tomato soup in a restaurant, or homemade at somebody's house, my reaction was, inevitably, "Well, that's OK, but it's no Campbell's." Hell, I would have supported a federal ban on any other company making tomato soup. Who needs 'em?

So it was with great skepticism that I added a box of Trader Joe's version to my shopping basket for the first time. "Good luck with that," I thought. As if red peppers could improve tomato soup. Ha! But I have a girlfriend to feed once a week, and I feel an obligation to keep the menu varied, which means trying things even when I'm dubious that they'll be good. (As it turned out, she had had this many times before on her own. But I didn't know that.)

I've gotta tell you: I was wrong. This is--brace yourselves--better than Campbell's. It's really, really good. The red pepper does make the tomato better, without overpowering it or ruining its essence.

I have now changed a lifelong habit. I still buy Campbell's to use in some recipes, but if I want to eat tomato soup, it's this version that is my first choice. It has become a staple in my cupboard. I'm even going so far as to elevate it to Top Ten status.

My only wish is that they would can it as a condensed product. It's heavy to bring home and bulky to store the ready-to-heat stuff. But I guess that's a small burden for the sake of having the world's best tomato soup on my shelves.

Will I buy it again? 

Come check my cupboards on a surprise inspection sometime, and I bet you won't catch me without it.

Nina's View

As is probably a familiar refrain by now: I don't care for Campbell's tomato soup because—say it with me, people—it's too sweet. Lot's o' sugar. TJ's soup uses lovely red bell peppers which add sweetness but also actual honest-to-goodness flavor. WIN!!

I generally don't care for soup when the weather is warm. But this soup is a welcome dish in the fall and winter. Soothing, tasty, warming, and reasonably nutritious. One could even use it as a base for other sauces. Or add things to it (like maybe little chunks of roasted tomato?).

This one is genuinely hall-of-fame worthy.


As I'm sure many others have discovered, this product appears to be made by Pacific Foods, and is the same as that company offers under its own label here

1 comment:

  1. This looks so good, i am putting this on the list for my next trip for sure!