Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods on a chilly, rainy day. While browsing Pathmark supermarket recently, I saw Progresso Soups were on sale for $1.22 for the 18.5 oz (2 serving) can. Browsing through the many different varieties, I quickly found one that piqued my interest, Progresso Light Reduced Sodium Vegetable Soup. I checked to make sure the ingredients were all vegetarian, as for some reason, many of their vegetable soups actually contain beef or chicken broth (this does contain egg ingredients). After seeing that nothing in there was derived from anything with a face, I was reassured and happily took home my find. I was pretty pleased ... reduced calorie, reduced sodium, reduced price.
When it was heating up, the aroma was rich and inviting, especially once it was piping hot. I took my first bite, and was very satisfied with the hearty flavor that filled my mouth. The main thing I noticed was the tomato, which makes sense as the broth is tomato-based. There were a mix of vegetable flavors which all came together rather well. It was nicely seasoned, with definite hints of garlic and onion, which were not overpowering, along with a blend of other spices.
The consistency, on the other hand, left something to be desired. Though full of flavor, the broth is very thin and unlike the mouthwatering spoonful shown on the can, it is not, shall we say, very densely populated. The vegetables were fairly large, but mushy and lacked individual flavor. They took on the flavor of the soup instead of infusing the soup with their own natural flavors. There was a fair amount of chunks of celery, carrots, and green beans, at least compared to the 10 kernels of corn I counted. The spiral pasta was also pretty sparse. If you really split one can into 2 servings, you may find yourself on a treasure hunt - navigating through the swamp in search of the golden coins.
In the entire 2 serving can of Progresso Light Reduced Sodium Vegetable Soup, there are a mere 120 fat-free calories. You will get 6 grams of protein and 28 grams of carbohydrates which includes 8 grams sugars and a whopping 8 grams of fiber (30% of the daily value). There is also 1200 mg of potassium (34% of daily recommendations), 40% of the RDA for Vitamin A, and 4% each of your iron and calcium. What did give me pause, however, was the fact that ONE serving of this "reduced-sodium" soup contains 20% of the daily value for sodium (470 mg), so if you inhale the can, it will drive the total up to 40% ... 940 mg of sodium. Campbell's Select Harvest soups have the same amount in their NON-reduced sodium varieties. I do look forward to trying those once they go on sale. Oh, the ingredient list is also fairly long and hard to pronounce, especially near the end ... another edge Campbell's has on Progresso, as their ingredient list is far more user-friendly. And this Progresso soup does have MSG in the ingredients list.
I do hope Progresso comes out with more reduced sodium vegetarian blends, though ... por favor, Progresso?! Because this has a few fundamental flaws that are hard to get over.