At Trader Joe’s, I’m ride-or-die for the Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains – it’s *amazing,* filling, and full of flavor and spice and is one of the most delicious soups that TJ’s offers. Because it’s so incredible, though, it’s often out of stock when I go shopping, which is how, this past weekend, I found myself dropping a new item – Organic Hearty Minestrone Soup – in my basket instead.
The Minestrone is described as having “fresh vegetables, cannellini beans, rice & quinoa orzo pasta, savory vegetable broth, and kale.” It’s a pretty standard tomato-broth based veggie soup, in other words, with some kale and fancy orzo to jazz it up.
First, the good: I enjoyed the bulk that the beans added (there are kidney beans in there, too, in case you’re curious) and the orzo stayed pleasantly al dente. The kale is also a nice touch, and holds up well in the broth. Unfortunately, the flavor of the soup was one-note, and that note was oregano. I think that the soup’s tomato base had a nice bright tang to it, but I can’t remember because that pesky herb was about the only thing I could taste after I got about a third of the way through the container.
Also (and I’m fully aware that I probably care about this more than most people) the broth had that ever-so-slightly thick, slimy mouthfeel that you sometimes get in store-bought dairy-free soups. Do you know what I’m talking about, or is it just me? I read the ingredients list, and cornstarch is listed as part of the vegetable broth – I’m betting that that’s what I’m picking up on. Most people might not even notice it, but that particular subtle viscosity has always squicked me out.
The moral of the story (in case you haven’t guessed already) is that I’ll be giving the Hearty Minestrone Soup a pass in the future. The most I can say about it is that it’s okay, which, when Trader Joe’s has so many other delicious soups on offer (including other vegetarian options), is hardly a ringing endorsement.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?: Yeah, no. It’s way too oregano heavy and doesn’t meet the high bar set by Trader Joe’s other soups. Reach for the Lentil Soup with Ancient Grains instead (but only if you promise to save one for me on the shelf!).