I Could’va Had a Soup!

Last weekend, there was a coupon in my Sunday paper for a new soup from Campbell’s under their V8 brand. I drink V8 juice (finally switch to the low sodium version, which was painful, but I have a little trick…I douse it with a sprinkling of cayenne powder).

But I digress… this post is about the new V8 soups. I bought three — southwestern corn, golden butternut squash and tomato herb. They also make a garden broccoli and sweet red pepper.

I completely adore the southwestern corn. The corn soup is thick, creamy and has a nice kick of heat. I topped it with some leftover popcorn and it really helped “pop” the corn flavor.

The tomato herb is also yummy. It, too, could use a little doctoring, and I found that a sprinkling of grated Parmesan really brought out the sweetness of the thick, red tomato base.

The butternut squash wasn’t as good. It tasted strange to me, so I looked at the ingredient list, and figured out the problem. Potatoes are the third ingredient in the squash soup, so it waters down the taste of the squash. Too bad, because butternut squash soup can be absolutely divine. I have a recipe for butternut squash soup in my cookbook, The Great Ranch Cookbook, with apples and chipotle. It is divine, but takes a bit of work.

It’s not nearly as easy as opening a carton of the V8 butternut squash soup, although figuring out how to open the V8 boxes is a bit of challenge. The boxes are small (16 oz.) and the nutritional content varies by soup, but 1 serving of the corn soup (8 oz) is 150 calories and 3 grams of fat, while the tomato soup is 90 calories and 0 fat grams for a cup.

The only downside is the amount of sodium, which also varies by soup (between 590 and 750 milligrams — 25% to 31% of the recommended daily allowance.) But you can find lots of other soups, even some made by Campbell’s, with as much as 890 mg and some as low as 60 mg (their low sodium cream of mushroom soup). The RDA is 2,400 mg. So the V8 soups are not outrageously laden with sodium.

I love soup, and soup season is upon us (some more than others…we’re still in the 80’s temperature range although nights and mornings are cooling off…finally). While I’d love to say that I have time to make a fresh batch of soup every week, I don’t. So I’ll keep a couple of these V8 soups in my pantry for those nights when nothing sounds better than a steaming bowl of soup.


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