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Are There Any Instant Soups That Don't Suck?

Every once in a while, I get stuck in my office or at my desk, and can't get away to get sustenance. The water cooler in my office, however, has a hot water spigot. Is there any instant soup, or other similar sort of dish, that I can keep in my desk drawer for emergencies, that isn't completely awful?

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  1. Im partial to miso soups from Japanese grocery stores. I get one that has individual packets of miso and garnish. All you need is hot water.

    1 Reply
    1. re: relizabeth

      Gosh - I was going to immeidately be a food snob and say "NO" and then saw your response - while not preferable to most 'real', the miso in some of the packages is actually good (and warm and refreshing, and nourishing). Thank you for a timely reminder.

      PS - My go-to for hunger when I forget to pack a snack is a cliff bar (always some in my purse) - filling, nutritious, and a taste that needs to grow on you.

    2. Fantastic Foods makes these soup cups that don't taste like the box they come in:

      I kind of like the minestrone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Boccone Dolce

        Back when both of us actually went to an office and had lunch hours, our Kroger stores in Nashville carried Fantastic Foods soup cups for really cheap. I never cared much for most of the dried-vegetable things, and the bean soups gave both me and Mrs. O instant and persistent gas, but the split pea and lentil soups were very good. We also loved the miso soups and the noodle bowls.

      2. ditto...Relizabeth's rec of miso soups. In the morning, you saute some green onions, mushrooms, or any spare veggies and put them in a zip lock bag to add to the miso. Depending on your office arrangement, a tub of refrigerated miso would last several months and is better than the packaged. Just follow measurements of the paste to water and heat up.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Windsor

          Remember that miso shiru is not just water and miso, but dashi and miso. The best, of course, is to make your own dashi, but you can use powdered instant dashi (e.g. - Hondashi) with your real miso paste and scallions (which are fine raw, and don't need to be sauteed). Even better, while you're getting the Hondashi at the Japanese food store, buy some cleaned, prepared dried wakame or pre-sliced dried shiitake and drop them in your cup.

          But that's why the instant packets are worth it to some - you get all that without needing to have the dashi, etc., separately.

        2. From one LA lawyer to another, I keep those shelf-stable pouches of carrot, onion and lentil soup from Trader Joe's in my office and I actually really like them. As you might expect, they have a fair amount of sodium (920mg), but the rest of the nutritional information is suprisingly good (140 calories, 4g fat, 5g protein) and there's nothing unprounounceable on the list of ingredients. Actually, I just had one for dinner. It's been one of those days...

          2 Replies
          1. re: mollyomormon

            There is a line of soups and noodles from Annie Chung. I really like the Udon. The noodles are not dried, but more like a fresh noodle and then the seasoning packet is separate and really taste more like fresh. Very good and reasonably priced.

            1. re: janetms383

              I like the Annie Chun soups as well, especially this one:

              although I've had a really hard time finding this particular one at my local Whole Foods.

          2. Check out an Asian market and they have a pretty good selection of those dehydrated noodle soup bowls that you just add hot water to.
            They're higher end than the plain old Cup O' Noodles.

              1. I read somewhere that Thomas Keller eats Progresso lentil soup. I haven't tried it myself, but if it's good enough for Keller...

                2 Replies
                1. re: meleyna

                  Ha! I've always thought Progresso lentil soup was the best one out there, and believe me, I tried many many different kinds in my quest for the best lentil soup, and boy was i surprised when i found that I liked Progresso the best. Now my choice has been vindicated! lol

                  1. re: kubasd

                    Progresso is damn near as good as I can do, and I'm awfully happy about my lentil soup. Of course mine's a lot cheaper!

                2. this may not help because i don't know if they are available outside australia but i like (and i am no fan of instant soups all others make me sick i much prefer homemade) la zuppa pumkin and roasted tomato soups they are great when i don't feel up to making something (i'm tired i have glandular fever) they have helped me alot! oh i should add that i do despite what i wrote above like instant miso soup i have two packs of ten in my fridge ;-)

                  1. Tom yum paste, add a few dash of fish sauce.

                    1. Agree with the previous posters about Annie Chun's noodle soups. I order mine in bulk from Amazon-it's cheaper with free shipping.

                      1. i like the lipton chicken soup with the really tiny thin noodles. i really like this when i have the flu (w/fruit punch gatorade to wash it down)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: furryabdul

                          I loved that growing up and yeah.....it still hits the spot. It's the tiny noodles, I think!

                        2. a couple of years ago i could buy instant sharkfinsoup just in the supermarket in Amsterdam, now i can't find it anywhere....any tips?
                          Thank you,

                          1. Heh. Instant soups are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I love Lipton's Chicken Noodle with the bright green bits of parsley floating in the broth, and have loved it as long as I can remember. I also like Lipton Cup o' Soup cream of chicken.