The Season for Soup

by Lauren on November 29, 2012

The weather outside may be frightful – or seasonably cooler if your lucky enough to escape the northeast winters – but luckily, there are comforting, soul-soothing options to keep me satisfied and most importantly, warm.

It’s usually around this time of year when my cravings for crisp, filling salads are taken over by the thought of hot liquid filling my stomach.  I do love soup, but hardly ever opt for it out, simply because I don’t usually find unique options on a menu and I fear it won’t be hearty enough to suffice.

It’s an unreliable option for me, most of the time.

There is an exception here.  Panera has always been a go-to lunch spot, whether I’m looking for a tasteful salad or an appetizing grilled panini.  Their menu – although always improving- is dependable for a solid meal.  I also believe Panera was one of the first sandwich chains to coin the, “You Pick Two” concept, which allows fickle diners like myself, the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds.

I was recently selected to take part in DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker’s opportunity with Panera to sample one of their soups and relay my thoughts.

Conveniently, I had a lunch date planned with my good friend Bryce this afternoon, so it posed the ideal opportunity to take advantage of my giftcard.

Remember this guy?  Bryce and I used to work together and became close over the years.  He’s made his appearance once or twice on the blog, mainly because he loves to show off, and partly because he is one of the best non-blogging dining partners.  He never asks twice about me taking pictures of him or his food.  That’s a great friend!

So back to the soup….

Bryce and I both opted for the “You Pick Two” selection and ironically, both deemed ourselves in the mood for soup and salad.

Starting with Bryce’s meal-

 You Pick Two: Chicken Noodle Soup and 1/2 BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad

And mine-

 You Pick Two: Black Bean Soup and 1/2 Roast Turkey Fuji Apple Salad 

 The chicken noodle soup is always a classic and favored by so many.  This soup has been on the menu since the beginning and has no plans of becoming extinct.  The chicken is all-natural, the noodles are made from a hearty egg base, and spices are always just right.

I do love the chicken noodle, but today, I was in the mood for something a little less traditional and a little more spicy.

Hands down, Panera has the best black bean soup I’ve had from a restaurant.  It’s rich, creamy and has the perfect bite.

As much as I love the pureed beans as the base, I’m always appreciative of the abundance of chewy beans in each bite.

Panera’s soup menu does alter slightly each day, but a few of their staples (chicken noodle, french onion, vegetarian creamy tomato, and broccoli cheddar) are served daily.  Even though the variety changes, the promise of a fresh, hot bowl of soup, containing nothing but quality ingredients does not.

So as the winter endures, you’ll probably find me gravitating more towards the comfort of heart-warming soup, especially when I don’t have any big pots to clean after I’m done.

Question:

What is your favorite soup? I am going with butternut squash but so long as it’s thick and not overly sweet. 

Disclaimer: As part of the DailyBuzz Healthy Living Program, I received a free gift card for Panera Bread and a stipend from Panera Bread. However, my opinions are entirely my own.

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{ 13 comments }

Tina @ Best Body Fitness November 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Love Panera and the pick 2 option. I always go for that – usually with salad and sandwich, but you’re right that this time of year calls for the SOUP!

Haley @ The Saucy Apple November 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

hmm… this is a toughie and definitely one that needs to be taken seriously. I’m gonna go with CORN CHOWDER. Mmmm… I guess I’m showing my Southern roots. :)

Erica November 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

LOVE soup! Panera has some tasty options. I like their black bean a lot. My favorite soup? Oh gosh…very hard to pick. Probably tomato…or cauliflower

Jess November 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hey girl! So I made this soup this week and it’s one of my absolute favorites! I immediately thought of you when I was making it! It’s absolutely amazing and the flavors are incredible. Plus, it’s an easy one pot meal… what more could you ask for? The only change I make is that I do not use the sundried tomatoes that come in oil, I use just regular ones and add a little oil when pureeing them. Make it! You’ll immediately fall in love.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/spicy-sun-dried-tomato-soup-with-white-beans-swiss-chard/

Lauren November 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Okay, this sounds DELICIOUS! I’m all over it girl! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

Erika November 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I do like Panera. I was just there last Saturday and 2 people in my group ordered the chicken noodle soup and both were very disappointed – not by the taste but because it was mostly broth. I just made a pretty awesome turkey soup using my leftovers from Thanksgiving!

Lauren November 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Oh that’s too bad. I guess the person distributing the soup that night was being stingy with the good stuff. Not cool! Sorry they had a bad experience. :(

kim@hungryhealthygirl November 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Panera is one of my favorite places to go for lunch! It is so hard to narrow it down to just one soup. Broccoli chedder holds a special place in my heart, but I also love a good tortilla soup.

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake November 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I looove Panera… and their broccoli cheddar and baked potato soups are amazing!

Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

omg- i LOVE panera’s black bean soup! Sooooo good. Thanks to this post, I suddenly have the urge to hit up Panera’s you pick two….

Angela @ Beauty in Strength November 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I LOVE lentil soup! Now after this post, I’m craving it too!

Anne November 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I’m actually NOT a big soup fan but you both happened to order the two soups I Do like!

Especially the black bean, but they never have it on the days I am there!

Carli November 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I had a Sierra Turkey sandwich from Panera today. We eat there a lot at work but I haven’t had a pick two since it’s delivery.

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