Make Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Campbell's Soups at Home

Bean and Barley SoupBean and Barley SoupIn the midst of cool weather, this is just what the doctor ordered - delicious soup served piping hot in a big bowl with some warm, crusty bread. And when it comes to ready-made soup, no brand is more iconic in the minds of Americans than Campbell's, despite competitors' best efforts in taste tests and advertising, the premise of which often revolves around superior taste, value, and sometimes nutrition.

But, deep down, as cooks, we all know that nothing beats homemade soup. While the convenience of popping open a can and heating up its soup-like contents is hard to beat, once the meal is down the hatch (or for the more discerning, halfway finished), a creeping sense of guilt and perhaps regret always comes around. Think of the salt - just a half cup of Campbell's condensed tomato soup contains 480 milligrams of sodium; 750 milligrams for broccoli cheese; and 890 milligrams for both chicken noodle and beef with vegetables and barley. Think of the additives - Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, for example, contains monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG (we can't fathom why since mushrooms and cream already taste pretty savory), and the tomato soup lists high-fructose corn syrup as its second ingredient. And don't get us started on mushy vegetables, noodles, or "meat."

So leave the cans on the shelf, and try making our quick, easy homemade versions instead. Not only do they taste better, but they're healthier, too.

Hearty, Healthy Beef Barley Soup

I think beef barley soup gets a bad rap sometimes. Let's face it… it's brown, kind of drab looking, and something we've all eaten since we were kids. It doesn't have a bunch of fancy ingredients in it. In fact, it's usually a soup that we throw together using a cut of beef that's usually on sale, chuck roast. So it's one of those dollar-stretching recipes. But why not make a homemade soup that's a little more special than what you are used to eating? If you're making it yourself, you can do things that make the ho-hum more hoo-hah!

Click Here to see the Hearty, Healthy Beef Barley Soup

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is made using some rich, homemade chicken stock, and yes, it all was gluten-free and incredibly easy. Chicken soup definitely soothes the soul.

Click Here to see the Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Bean and Barley Soup
(Pictured at Top of Page)

Onions, celery, and carrots are sautéed together for a traditional mirepoix base, then seasoned with thyme and marjoram to flavor the hearty barley, kidney beans, and waxy potatoes. This is a soup that will warm you through winter, but if you get a craving any other time of year, just throw in some of spring, summer, or autumn's bounty to easily adapt this classic. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Click Here to see the Bean and Barley Soup Recipe

Cream of Mushroom

If the red-and-white can represents the only version of cream of mushroom soup you have ever had, well, it's just time for a change! Much like homemade tomato soup, this is so good and so easy that I'm sometimes upset that I spent so many years using the prepared versions. But no regrets… As a girl they were the perfect beginning to my cooking experience.

Click Here to see the Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

Tomato Soup

A simple pot of stewed tomatoes flavored with rosemary and chile flakes and beefed-up with protein-filled chickpeas and hearty, nutrient-packed kale. The soup has texture, heat and is filling enough to keep you satisfied and full.


1 tablespoon olive oil
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of red chile flakes (optional)
½ bunch kale (about 3 large leaves), cut into 1-inch ribbons
½ cup of canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or any other type of beans you like)


In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tomatoes. After 1-2 minutes, break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Add the rosemary, season to taste and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the kale, stir, and cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until soft and tender, adding the chickpeas during the last 2-3 minutes. The soup will thicken, but it is up to you how much longer you want to cook it for. If you'd like it to be a thicker consistency, then cook for longer. (If it gets too thick, just add about ¼ cup water and stir to thin it out.)

Click Here to see More Classic Campbell's Soups Made Healthy at Home

-Will Budiaman, The Daily Meal