Heather is happiest when taking a beautiful photo, creating something in her kitchen, or elbows-deep in a DIY project.
A Delicious Canned Soup Hack
What Recipes Can I Make With Canned Tomato Soup?
Soup remains one of my most favorite comfort foods-- especially on cold, gloomy, and or rainy days. Tomato soup has always held a very special place in my heart and a quick peek in my pantry would reveal that I've always got half a dozen cans on hand for cooking, baking, and general soup emergencies. I enjoy using condensed tomato soup as a secret weapon in my meatloaf sauces, stews, and my mom's favorite—Hungarian goulash. I also love dressing up plain old soup for super soup makeovers!
Over the past few years, I've dabbled heavily with quick and easy ways to transform a can of tomato soup into more satisfying dinner recipes for two. Today, I am very happy to share with you my most favorite answer to "What can you add to tomato soup?" Campbell's Soup brand has always been "Mmm Mmm Good," but these few quick additions will make it great!
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Easy Soup Ingredients
- 1 can condensed tomato soup, (10.75 ounces)
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 7 ounces pasta or noodles
- 1 and 1/4 cup milk
- 3 slices bacon, cooked
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
- Peel, wash, and shred carrots.
- Boil salted water for pasta. (Begin step 3 while waiting for water to boil.) Add pasta when water comes to full boil and cook for approximately 7 minutes, or according to the package. Drain in colander and set aside.
- Cook and drain bacon strips. Chop them into small pieces and set aside.
- Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, combine condensed tomato soup, shredded carrots, milk, bacon, onion, and parsley. Mix well, then add cooked pasta. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
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What Can I Add to Canned Soup?
- It's easy to make this soup while completing some steps simultaneously. I like to get my carrots peeled, washed, and shredded first and then everything else is smooth sailing.
- I shred both of my carrots in less than thirty seconds using my SaladMaster Machine with cutting cone number 1. You can also use a grater, purchase pre-shredded carrots in most produce departments, or just thinly slice your carrots. I like using shredded carrots because it guarantees each bite will include yummy carrot flavor. Shredded carrots are also easier to eat in this soup since you aren't actually cooking them; i.e., no one wants to unknowingly bite into or swallow a chunk of raw carrot-- at least I don't think anyone wants to.
- Your soup is ready when it's warmed throughout. Don't worry about cooking the shredded carrots. The raw and crispy elements add great texture and flavor.
- Small pastas like the star and letter shapes are perfect for adding directly to your soup and don't require pre-boiling. I like to boil and drain larger pastas (like the mini penne) to get rid of the extra starch. The excess starch from pastas and noodles can also cause your soup base to become too thick. I also don't rinse my pasta.
- The bacon I used in this recipe is Oscar Mayer's fully cooked bacon. It's 100% bacon and I love to use it for cooking. Since it's already cooked, it isn't fatty or greasy. It's very similar to the bacon they use at Subway on their sandwiches. Since I like my bacon crispy, I do "cook" this a second time for the soup. Since I don't have to worry about excess grease, I simply stack my three bacon strips and cut it into tiny strips using clean cooking scissors. I crisp it up in my soup pot prior to adding the other ingredients. This method is so quick and easy for me.
- Traditionally, canned condensed tomato soup is prepared with an equal amount of water. Using water in this recipe will work fine. Your soup coloring will be richly red and the tomato flavor will be bolder. Adding milk makes the soup deliciously creamy and lightens up the coloring a bit. I personally enjoy this soup both ways but using milk is probably my favorite way to prepare it.
- This recipe serves two—simply double ingredients for four servings.
- When using larger pastas or serving multiple people, I usually divide the pasta among the dishes first and then ladle in the soup. This way you aren't digging around the pot for pasta and everyone is happy.
- Refrigerate any leftovers. Tomato-based products can sometimes stain plastic containers (and leave lingering food odors) so I usually store my tomato soup leftovers in glass Pyrex or Mason jars.
What Kind of Pasta Should I Use?
When adding pasta to soups, I choose sizes and designs that will easily fit on a soup spoon and add a nice touch to the overall aesthetic of the soup. These are some of my favorites.
- This is the pasta I use in this soup about 90% of the time. It's made by a brand I love (Barilla) and the pasta pieces are perfectly bite-sized. This pasta makes the soup very hearty and filling. I like to buy this pasta in a 1 pound box when it's on sale at my grocery store for a dollar. For this recipe, I use a little less than half of a box and it takes about eight minutes to boil.
- Star-shaped pasta definitely adds some fun to this creamy tomato soup recipe. I've been known to use a handful of these cuties in conjunction with another pasta just to make the dish look extra special. I buy this pasta at my neighborhood grocer in the "international" aisles. It's a product of Mexico by La Moderna and a 7.05 oz bag is usually three for a dollar. This cooks in about nine minutes and can be added directly to the soup.
- These letters (and numbers too) certainly remind me of my childhood. They can make any meal fun for kids and adults too. I had fun spelling out a little message below during my afternoon cooking and photography session. This pasta, like the star-shaped pasta is also made by La Moderna as described above. Since the small 7oz bags are 3/$1.00, I usually buy them a few at a time. These pasta letters can also be added directly to the soup rather than boiling them separately as I do with the penne.
Recipes Using Condensed Tomato Soup
I love easy recipes as much as the next guy or gal, and this recipe couldn't be much easier. My kitchen and livelihood thrive on simple dinner recipes. Condensed canned soups are such great tools in the kitchen-- the culinary possibilities are practically endless. I hope you get a chance to try this beloved tomato cream soup recipe of mine and that you'll enjoy it as much as my husband and I do. I also hope this recipe will inspire you to do some soup experimenting of your own. What can you make with tomato soup? What exciting recipe combinations will you make?
© 2014 Heather
swilliams on June 17, 2015:
Wow! Very well done! Your presentation is amazing! Voted up!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 17, 2015:
Soup is a favorite food of mine and this one sounds like one I will enjoy time and time again.
Your detailed instructions and information are so very helpful.
Thanks for sharing and congrats on HOTD.
Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 17, 2015:
I'm a "soupie," too. Love this recipe! Congrats on HOTD honors!
poetryman6969 on June 17, 2015:
I am a firm believer in the soup emergency. After all, an unopened soup can doubles as a weapon if the situation demands it!
I am not a penne fan but all other forms of pasta are welcome. With the beautiful photos you really make this look like comfort food. Voted up.
Nico from Ottawa, ON on June 17, 2015:
Ah man that looks good
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 17, 2015:
Heather, though I've already commented on this, congrats on HOTD!
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on June 17, 2015:
Yummy! Now I am drooling seeing the soup. Congratulations on the HOTD! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Voted up and useful.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 17, 2015:
Congratulations for a well deserved HOTD!
A very well presented hub with so much details as regards illustrations and procedure. This recipe sounds delicious and nutritious.
Thanks for sharing and voted up!
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 06, 2015:
Great recipe, Heather. I'm going to give it a go and make it this spring. I love Campbell's Soup too. Voted up!
Dennis Hoyman from Southwestern, Pennsylvania on March 19, 2014:
Just wanted to tell you I try your soup recipe and I made it in my crock pot. And it was great. I am going to try more of your recipes.
Heather (author) from Arizona on January 16, 2014:
@chef-de-jour-- Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. It is similar to a minestrone, but I struggled calling it that because it's so plain. I didn't want someone looking for a true minestrone to be disappointed. Having said that, I do make a great minestrone and will be adding that recipe in the coming weeks. Thanks again for the great comment :)
@randomcreative-- Thanks for visiting! You bring up a great point. This is a nice go-between if someone doesn't want a fully-canned soup but doesn't feel like making one from scratch either. Thanks again :)
@VVanNess-- Thanks for the visit and great comment. I hope this recipe works out for you or at least inspires you to get creative with plain old condensed soup. You'll have to let me know how it goes :)
@RTalloni-- Thanks for visiting! Haha @ "thinking outside of the can"- that's brilliant and now I'm jealous I didn't think of it. I love a warm soup on a cold day :)
@Glimmer Twin Fan-- Thanks! I used to have issues with tomato-based products myself. I think it was something to do with the acidity. For years pizza, pastas, and soup were just murder on my tummy. Thankfully my body finally got with the program and realized I wasn't giving them up. Thanks for sharing and pinning. Glad you're feeling better and you'll have to let me know how you like it :)
Heather (author) from Arizona on January 16, 2014:
@Just_Rodney-- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. The recipe you shared sounds great :)
@thebiologyofleah-- Thanks so much for stopping by. Shredded carrots are a life saver in my house. We add them to just about everything-- baked pasta, rice, noodles, soup, meatloaf, etc. It's a great way to to get more veggies on your dish and in your diet, as you mentioned. As for adding your own noodles or pasta to soup-- I'd say when in doubt, just boil separately and drain. It will usually taste better and eliminate all of that excess starch. Thanks again for commenting :)
@purl3agony-- Thanks for stopping by! I agree, bacon always makes my day much brighter. What's your favorite soup? :)
@MsDora-- I'd love to share some soup with you any day! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm always glad to see you :)
Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on January 15, 2014:
Great recipe and idea. Love the bacon and tomato combo. This looks almost like a minestrone.
I have to try this. Thank you. Beautifully presented.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 14, 2014:
Dressing up canned soup is such an inspired idea! It's so much simpler than making soup from scratch, and it adds so much. Thanks for great suggestions!
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 14, 2014:
Yummy! Yummy! I have never liked the plain old tomato soup and so have either been making my own or have been eating the tomato bisque. But I may rethink the cans of tomato soup with this great article of ideas.
Thank you so much for the wonderful article. I'll be making good use of this one!
RTalloni on January 14, 2014:
Soups rule! They are easy, satisfying, comforting, and on some days the best thing is that they are warming. Thanks for putting these ideas together so we can think outside the box (can) for the rest of winter.
Claudia Mitchell on January 14, 2014:
This looks yummy. And tomato soup is my favorite, even though it does a number on my stomach sometimes. Wish I'd had this recipe over the holidays when I had the flu. Awesome recipe. Shared and pinned.
Rodney Fagan from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City on January 13, 2014:
A quick one to add to your Tomato Soup Files.
Drop the Pasta, and veggies.
Substitute a slice of Melba Toast
Enough grated White Cheese, or even 3 Cheese, even better.
As you would be doing this as a special meal, for the two of you, having farmed off the Kids for the evening.
1 can Cambells Tomato Soup, put into the saucepan, on medium heat.
Half fill the empty can with full cream milk
Add a couple of tots of Sherry, whisk the soup and let it reheat to eating temperature.
Top up the can with the milk in and blend together.
Slowly pour this into the hot soup, stirring gently to combine with the soup.
Wait until it has reheated and is piping hot
Pour soup into each eating bowl, add slice of Melba toast, trimmed to fit the bowl if needed to be.
Gently cover the toast with a medium thickness of the grated cheese.
Top of with chopped garden fresh Parsley!
This is one of the few of my recipes in my cooking files that I do not make the majority of the ingredients myself.
Leah Kennedy-Jangraw from Massachusetts on January 13, 2014:
This recipe is right up my alley, I love add-ons to pantry items. I'm always trying to add veggies (or more veggies) into things to make sure I get my daily dose. I appreciate your instructions regarding whether to precook or add the pasta directly to the soup, that's often a mystery on homemade soup instructions.
Donna Herron from USA on January 13, 2014:
I'm not a tomato soup fan, but everything is better with bacon :) Thanks for sharing this great idea for making a simple soup more hearty!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 12, 2014:
The soup looks delicious and I'm sure it tastes so too judging from the empty bowl. Thank you for sharing--the recipe (wish you could share the soup too.) Voted Up!