Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Panera Bread Soup

Whenever I am sick, I crave Panera Bread. Perhaps this occurs because their hot, comforting soups - with a crusty baguette to dip in them - have gotten me through various colds in the past. It also helps that the only work required is going there, waiting for your order, and bringing the soup home. No cooking necessary.

It just so happened that this past weekend, I came down with a lovely cold/flu. On Sunday, I was basically a couch potato, although I did stand up long enough to help decorate our Christmas tree.

I woke up Sunday morning craving Panera Bread soup yet again, so my lovely fiance and our good friend offered to go out and get some for me. It just so happened I had a $10 gift card for Panera Bread, too, since I am participating in the DailyBuzz Food Taste Maker Outreach Program. As part of this program, I was asked to sample several of Panera's soups, and share my experience with you guys.

On the day I was sick, I asked Z to pick up my usual Panera favorite: Broccoli Cheddar soup. Although we've been told by Panera employees before that this soup is vegetarian, the menu - which usually marks vegetarian-friendly items with a "v" - does not indicate this. My guess is it's made with chicken broth, but it didn't upset my stomach. The thick, cheesy broth and the large chunks of broccoli make this soup so comforting, creamy and satisfying. Panera's crusty, sometimes warm baguettes are also the perfect complement to this soup. As a warning, this soup is a tad on the salty side, so I added some freshly cracked black pepper to my bowl to help balance out the saltiness.

A few days later, I picked up two more soups for Z and I to sample: Vegetarian Creamy Tomato and Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean

The Creamy Tomato soup was my favorite of the two. Vine-ripened pear tomatoes are pureed with cream, and hints of red pepper and oregano are apparent in each spoonful. The soup is silky smooth, and immediately brought back memories of being a kid, dunking my grilled cheese sandwich into a piping hot bowl of tomato soup. The soup is served with Asiago croutons, which were well-seasoned, but unfortunately chewy in texture.

The Black Bean soup consists of black beans simmered in a vegetarian broth with onion, red bell pepper, garlic and cumin. Tiny bits of red pepper were visible, but this soup was unfortunately like eating a bowl of canned black beans. I wish the cumin, onion and garlic flavors were more obvious, and although Panera's menu says the black beans were cooked in a spicy broth, there was no spice to be found. I ended up adding some cayenne to mine, which helped round out the flavors.

In the end, I will still turn to Panera to get my soup fix, especially when I am under the weather. Even right now, as I sit here typing - and coughing - I am longing for a bowl of that Creamy Tomato soup. 

Are you a fan of Panera Bread's soups? Which one is your favorite?

*In addition to the $10 gift card provided by DailyBuzz, I am being compensated for this review. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own. 


  1. I like Panera soup and salad a lot! Hope you are feeling better!

    1. Thank you! I definitely am today!

  2. I had Panera's broccoli cheddar soup today! Agree, the best.

  3. I definitely like the broccoli cheddar and tomato soup there.