A healthier take on tomato bisque

Taking comfort in a healthier soup.

tomato bisque soup

To stay steps ahead of the FDA’s menu-labeling mandate, now delayed until May 2017, North Carolina State University began re-evaluating items at its 37 foodservice locations last year, says Lisa Eberhart, director of nutrition and wellness for the 34,000-student school. “Although we’ve always been transparent and very clued-in to health, calorie counts are a big focus now because of menu labeling,” the Raleigh, N.C., operator says. Sodium reduction also is on top of Eberhart’s punch list. With the immediate goal of making 10 of N.C. State’s best-sellers 10% healthier, including this tomato bisque, Eberhart teamed up the university’s dietary interns with campus chefs. 

recipe revamp graphic

  1. One goal was to revamp the tomato bisque into a vegetarian version that would appeal to a larger group of diners. The original chicken base was swapped for vegetable stock, and bacon in the old recipe was omitted. “Eliminating the bacon saves minimal calories, but it makes the soup vegetarian and lower in sodium,” says Eberhart.
     
  2. Chefs automatically use salt and pepper at every stage of the cooking process, but when a recipe has high-sodium ingredients—soy sauce, Worcestershire, canned tomatoes, even hot sauce—it’s better to “salt to taste” at the very end, says Eberhart. The garlic, bay leaves and Italian seasoning make up for lower salt content.
     
  3. The team substituted an equal quantity of half-and-half for the cream—a savings of about 35 calories per serving—and a slurry of cornstarch and water thickens the soup to its formerly creamy consistency. 

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources