One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trader Joe’s Barley Soup with Vegetables

A while back while stocking my vegan pantry with non perishables I decide to throw in a can of Trader Joe’s Barley Soup with Vegetables. It was less than $2 a can and weighed in at over 28 ounces so I was clearly getting a deal. As an added plus there were no mystery ingredients on the label; just water, barley, vegetable and spices. Now that we are reaching record low temperatures here in Georgia I thought it would be a perfect time to breakout the soup from the back of my pantry.

No need to add water, just heat and serve. Simple enough. This soup had so many things going right for it that I didn’t anticipate the one thing that could go wrong – way too much salt. So much salt that I could freeze it and turn it into a salt lick for my goats. I tried to dilute it with ¼ cup of water and add some freshly ground pepper. When that didn’t work I added a couple more tablespoons of water. Then I just gave up and began to eat it. I tried to keep happy thoughts in my head and remember all the things that drew me to this soup: wholesome ingredients, low in calories, great price and high in fiber. But eventually, after managing to eat half a bowl I just couldn’t go on any further and immediately went upstairs to rinse the salt out of my mouth before it crystallized and I had a deep sea adventure on my tongue.

If you are used to eating a diet high in salt then the taste probably won’t bother you. But mind you, 1 servings (which is 1 cup) of this soup has almost 40% worth of your daily salt intake and that’s if you eat a 2000 calories diet. For someone like me it’s nearly 50% of my daily salt intake per serving. Had I paid attention to that little nugget of information on the label I would have most likely steered clear from the beginning.


  1. I understand you so well! That's why eating out is always challenging. They always put way too much salt.
    Normally I avoid buying precooked food. Mainly because it's not as healthy as homemade. Plus all this packaging. But sometimes it has to do.
    Have you tried raw potato? It does absorb a lot of salt.

  2. next time u should take it back - it is otally cool at tj's - they also have excellent prices in tofu..

  3. I wouldn't feel right returning something that I've opened and eaten. They do have good prices on tofu but recently their prices have really gone up and whole foods or my co-op tends to be cheaper.

  4. hah! gotta check the WF on tofu.. Thinking about a vegan quiche for Saturday night dinner. you ever made one? know of a good one?

    I have taken things back to Tj's- yeah I am one of those people - hah!

  5. Yeah it broke my heart when I bi-passed the tofu at whole foods because I knew the stuff at tj's was only 99 cents only to get to tj's and see the price had gone up!

    I've made Susan V's crustless quiche before and it was soooo good! Too good in fact, I ate the whole batch as soon as it cooled. I tend to make a lot of frittata's and omelets with silken and regular tofu. If you look under the egg replacer section I have a link to Susan's recipe and a recipe for my papa chorizo frittata. I think I also have a link to her omelet recipe but don't quote me on that.

  6. P.S. I'm doing too many things at once I meant bypass not bi-pass. What was I thinking?! ;)

  7. I haven't tried this one yet but I just ran across it so I thought i'd post it too.

  8. hey thanks for the recipe recommendations!! I got it and will make it this Saturday for the V dinner for the family :) I am not a fat free person but her recipes usually lok yummy. BTW talking about TJ's they have excellent shredded soy cheese there at least at my TJ's in baltimore. We just had some tonight with my non-v family and noone even noticed or protested. We had it on Dreena's cocoa coconut chili. It was yummy. Thanks again!


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