No, this isn’t soup for my family. This is soup for ME.
Gardein has released a new line of soup with a combination of plant-based “meat”, savory broth, vegetables, and pasta or rice! Several soup varieties are available in our area just in time for the cooler weather, so I had to try them!
I started with the most classic soup in my opinion, Gardein’s take on Chicken Noodle or as they call it; “Chick’n Nood’l”. The one thing I noticed immediately about their Chick’n Nood’l, is that it doesn’t taste salty. That’s something I’m used to in a canned soup, excessive amounts of sodium. The Nood’ls were also larger and thicker than traditional chicken noodle soup, which I am grateful for. They were wide and reminded me of “egg noodles”. The Chick’n tastes like a soft shredded faux meat. I’m not sure if it tastes like chicken, but I’d love to hear your thoughts! I crumbled saltine crackers in mine to get the full nostalgic experience, and immediately thought of my grandma’s house. Food is magic!
Next is Chick’n & Rice. I don’t know that I’ve had Chicken and Rice soup before, but it seems to be very similar to chicken noodle. In relation, I noticed a variation in herbs and notes of acidity in the broth. The rice appears to be a wild grain, and is long and bulbous. I paired crusty French bread with this variety and was able to really take advantage of the seasoned broth, by soaking up every last bit.
I was most excited to try the “Saus’ge Gumbo”. The broth was much more heavily seasoned than the others and had just a hint of heat. I was prepared to have this be inedible, as what I hear about traditional gumbo and Cajun cuisine, is that it is very spicy. However, Gardein’s take has just a hint of heat that is tamed enough for any palate. I like that, since it means you can add more heat if that’s your thing, but makes it edible for people like me! I googled what you’re supposed to pair with gumbo and received a resounding “hush puppies”. I whipped out my mini deep fryer and made some, to truly authenticate my experience. Do you know why they are called “hush puppies”? It’s adorable. Allegedly, hush puppies received their name, because they were a treat whipped up during outdoor fish-fries to “hush” the fishermans’ hounds who were excited by the smells of dinner. ADORABLE! Anyhow, I ate mine dipped in the gumbo broth, and the sweet corn meal was a great pairing with Cajun spices.
Last up is Gardein’s “Minestrone & Saus’ge“. I’m used to minestrone sans meat, or faux meat, so this was a new take on minestrone soup in my cabinet. The broth was a heavy tomato base, but again wasn’t overly salty as I’ve been used to in canned soup, or even canned tomatoes. All varieties of beans maintained their “snap” after heating which I found impressive. The Saus’ge is the same as Gardein’s frozen Saus’ge varieties, just in smaller form. Now THIS I’m pretty sure tastes like real sausage, because that is a distinct texture and flavor I remember. I paired the minestrone soup with homemade vegan garlic and Parmesan twists. No broth left behind!
I can assure you I’ve not had Gumbo prior to Gardein’s launch of their Saus’ge Gumbo. That’s why releases of products such as these are so exciting! They open the window into culinary corners some were unable to venture in before.
I found my cans at Savemart! There is a fifth variety of soup I’ve not been able to try (yet) called; “Be’f and Vegetable”. If you’ve seen it around, holler atcher girl! I’m excited about trying their take on stew!
Gardein Soup; Plant-Based Chick’n Noodl’Soup, Plant-Based Chick’n & Rice Soup, Plant-Based Saus’ge Gumbo Soup, Minestrone & Saus’ge Soup, and (not pictured) Plant-Based Be’f & Vegetable Soup.
Location: SaveMart 3401 Oakdale Rd. Modesto, CA 95355