Why Canned Tomatoes Should Be In Your Pantry + Lasagna Soup Recipe

Lasagna-soup-2by Jen Haugen, RDN, LD

I love this recipe because it combines all the ingredients I love – tomatoes, pasta, pesto, cheese – into a filling soup that nourishes and warms the soul.  I could eat soup every day so it is natural for me to take a favorite main dish and try to turn it into a soup that my family will love.  I hope you love it too!

AbundanceContentment.  These are the words I struggle with on a daily basis.  I have enough.  I am enough.  My family is enough.  But yet, I continue to push, to do, to get more, to drive, to try and lead and to control.  I am trying to just “be”.  To enjoy each day.  Joy.  I want more joy.  Food is something that can bring me joy as I put some of my favorite ingredients together and come up with a recipe that I can’t wait to serve my family for dinner, then warm up a bowl again at breakfast and lunch the following day.  There are only so many recipes that actually make their way into my breakfast bowl and this is one of them.  But many times I find myself looking in my pantry – which is filled on every shelf – and thinking, there is nothing in here I can make into a meal.  Running to the grocery store is always an option, as it is only 5 minutes away, but I must remember that my pantry is abundant.  Abundant with foods begging to be used in a recipe that will have the family wanting more.  Enter Lasagna Soup.

What I love about this soup is that it’s filled with abundance.  It’s filled with nourishing foods I can find on my pantry shelves,  like canned tomatoes.  Canned tomatoes always have a place in my pantry because they are so useful, and they are a constant reminder of the season that once was as each can is filled with the freshness, the nutrients and the flavor of vine they were ripened on.   They are affordable and their is an endless variety of canned tomatoes that can make their way into joyful recipes.  I wanted to share a little harvest nutrition on canned foods from the Canned Food Alliance.

  • Nutritionally speaking, canned food is comparable to its cooked fresh and frozen counterparts.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables are packed at their peak of harvest, which means they are packed at their peak nutrient value.
  • Crops that go directly from the field to the processor often retain vitamins better than those that travel hundreds of miles across the country and sit for days in produce bins.
  • Canners use only top-quality ingredients, which are picked, packed and canned within hours.
  • No preservatives are necessary in the canning process and many canned foods are available in low- and no-sodium varieties.

Now, some may scoff at the idea of eating anything canned because of the word “processing”, but let me reassure you with the following facts:

  • The canning process was developed to preserve food safely and for an extended period of time.
  • Virtually any food that is harvested or processed can be found in a can.
  • Most fruit and vegetable canning facilities are located within a few miles from the point of harvest and meats, soups and stews are canned within the facilities in which they are prepared.
  • Every food can is hermetically sealed, which prevents contamination.
  • Providing the can remains sealed and not damaged, the food maintains its nutrition and flavor for more than two years.

As I strive for abundance and contentment, this recipe reminds me that all the flavors I need are right in my own pantry.  In abundance.  So pull out a few cans of tomatoes to pour into this savory soup filled with all the flavors of lasagna.  It will warm your soul.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 pound 90/10 lean hamburger, cooked and crumbled
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
24 ounces (3 cups) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (8 ounce can) no-added-salt tomato sauce
3 cups uncooked whole grain egg noodles
2 tablespoons pesto (plus more for drizzling)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1-1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat, add oil and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring gently. Add cooked hamburger, petite diced tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato sauce and uncooked noodles. Simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until noodles are cooked.
  2. Stir in pesto sauce and Italian seasoning. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Top each soup bowl with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and small drizzle of pesto sauce.

Jen Haugen

Jen Haugen, RDN, LD is a mom, award-winning registered dietitian and writer. On her Down-To-Earth Dietitian blog, www.jenhaugen.com, she nourishes moms so they can nourish their families. With a degree in food and nutrition, and experience in balancing being a working mom, Jen’s goal is to help moms regain balance as well – both in life and in the kitchen. For the past 13 years, Jen has worked as a clinical dietitian at Mayo Clinic (also where she did her dietetic internship) and then as a supermarket dietitian at Hy-Vee. Now as a registered dietitian for Austin (MN) Public Schools, Jen’s focus on kids and feeding them well. In 2012, Jen received the Emerging Dietetic Leader Award from the Minnesota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She recently delivered a TEDx Talk on “How Moms Can Change the World.” Jen lives in Minnesota with her husband and two children. You can find Jen on Twitter @jenhaugen and on Facebook.