I love making soup! I get my big pot out and start peeling and chopping, sautéing and pouring, stirring and simmering. It’s a long slow process and I love it. But you know what? I also love eating soup and there are some days I just don’t have the time or the energy to make my own. On those days, though, I still want a soup made with care – using organic ingredients, when possible, loaded with veggies or beans, considerate of salt and sugar content and other special dietary needs. So, this season, I plan on stocking my pantry with some of these soups. Besides being full of quality ingredients, they all come in easy-to-store, aseptic packaging. While we may be used to cans, my bet is that these great soups are going to change our minds! Pacific Natural Foods is a really cool, family-owned company based in Tualatin, Oregon. They can trace all the ingredients in their products back to their origins through their Certified to the Source® program. They support sustainable farming and have relationships with local farms, ensuring that the quality ingredients are harvested in their prime. In fact, some of their ingredients come from the founder’s very own farms. They have a line of USDA-certified organic condensed soup with no added flavors or sugar. The three varieties - Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom, and Cream of Chicken – are perfect for holiday casseroles, sauces or as a base for a great soup. Pacific also has some really delicious sounding ready-to-eat vegetarian soups and chowders: Vegetable Lentil and Roasted Red Pepper, Roasted Garlic Mushroom Lentil Soup, Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Thai Sweet Potato Soup, Rosemary Potato Chowder, and Poblano Pepper and Corn Chowder. Fig Foods is a new company, formed in 2009. Their mission is to improve health through plant-based food, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by sourcing exclusively from North American organic farms and to reduce greenhouse gases by encouraging plant-based diets, instead of the emissions heavy animal agricultural models. Their soups are USDA certified organic, certified kosher, and 100% plant-based. All seven varieties - Tuscan White Bean, Yucatan Black Bean, Umbrian Lentil, Gran Faro e Fagioli, Condensed Wheatberry, Condensed Split Pea and Condensed Tomato – are lightly salted. Fig Foods believes the saltshaker should rest firmly in your hands, not theirs. The name Dr. McDougall might ring a bell. That’s because for more than 20 years Dr. John McDougall, M.D. has been studying and “speaking out” about the effects of nutrition on health. Now he has a line of soups that meet his healthy food standards. Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods ready-to-eat soups are vegan (meaning they use no animal products) and are light on the salt. There are even five gluten-free options out of the seven varieties: Lentil, Vegetable, Black Bean, Chunky Tomato, Split Pea, Minestrone, and Roasted Pepper Tomato. So you see, even when you don’t have time to cook it yourself, there are so many delicious, healthy soup options. You just have to think outside the can. What kind of soup warms you up on chilly evenings?