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

Industry News & Opinion
k-12

The School Nutrition Foundation —the School Nutrition Association’s philanthropic sibling—and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign have partnered to launch an initiative called Schools as Nutrition Hubs.

“No Kid Hungry really sees schools as a critical place in the fight against childhood hunger,” says Laura Hatch, director of national partnerships for No Kid Hungry. “Schools are really a no-brainer because they have the infrastructure, they have the experience, it’s a trusted place for families. And being able to maximize their programs and maximize the federal...

Ideas and Innovation
walk-in cooler

The walk-in cooler can serve as a gathering place for more than just produce. When temperatures rise, staff at Empire State South restaurant in Atlanta host meetings in the walk-in and make occasional trips to hang out throughout the day to beat the back-of-house heat.

Menu Development
college students eating

Taste may reign supreme when college students choose their next snack, but operators should also pay attention to factors such as price and portion size. Here are the most important attributes students consider when choosing snacks, according to Technomic’s 2017 College and University Consumer Trend Report .

Taste: 78%

Ability to satisfy my appetite between meals: 67%

Price: 64%

Portion size: 54%

Familiarity: 46%

Overall nutrition value: 40%

Protein content: 36%

All-natural ingredients: 29%

Fiber content: 27%

...

Managing Your Business
student shame
Let students charge meals

“We allow students to charge meals at all levels; even in high school, they can charge a certain number of meals. [After that is met,] they are given an alternate meal,” says Sharon Glosson, executive director of school nutrition services for North East Independent School District. Elementary students can charge up to $15 of meals; middle schoolers can charge $10; and high schoolers can charge $5. “Ultimately, [food services is] carrying out the policy; but we’re not necessarily the creators of the policy, [nor do we] have the final say ... because that budget...

FSD Resources