Toss In Some Spinach To Upgrade Basic Canned Tomato Soup

Bowl of tomato soup with spinach
Bowl of tomato soup with spinach - Luchezar/Getty Images

There's nothing more delicious and comforting than a bowl of tomato soup on a cold, rainy day. One of the best ways to have this warming and soothing dish on hand at all times is to keep some cans of tomato soup in your pantry. Canned tomato soup is a classic (even famous artist Andy Warhol paid tribute to a certain brand) -- an icon of soups -- much like the culinary equivalent of fashion's white T-shirt. And like a white tee, canned tomato soup is a bit of a blank canvas, calling out for a few accessories.

Adding spinach transforms the dish into more of a Florentine-style tomato soup with swirling green ribbons. As for the choice of spinach, that comes down to personal preference. Some find baby spinach to be a bit sweeter than the mature leaves. But others find that the texture of baby spinach becomes a bit slimy when cooked. And what about frozen? We'll get into that, too.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

What Kind Of Spinach Should You Choose?

fresh spinach
fresh spinach - Iakovleva Daria/Shutterstock

What kind of spinach is best to upgrade your can of tomato soup? The most popular type of spinach found at the average grocery store is flat-leaf. This is typically sold in bunches as well as plastic bags. Most baby spinach you see in bags is just the young version of flat-leaf, harvested when the leaves are smaller, sweeter, and super tender. But mature flat-leaf spinach still tastes slightly sweet, and has a delicate texture. Savoy spinach has heartier, dark green, curly leaves, and an earthier, more bitter taste. Semi-savoy spinach is also quite crispy but with smoother leaves. These more robust, bitter spinach types are better for cooking.

It is important to remember that no matter what type of fresh spinach you use it will release water when the leaves wilt in the soup. So keep in mind, that it may dilute the soup (you could always combat this by letting it reduce on the stove). Alternatively, you could use frozen spinach instead of fresh -- some say it tastes even better. Plus, it's incredibly convenient since you can keep a box or two tucked away in the freezer. Just make sure to fully defrost the spinach and squeeze out moisture before using it in the tomato soup.

Spinach Adds A Nutritious Boost To Tomato Soup

A freezer with vegetables
A freezer with vegetables - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

The decision on whether to use fresh or frozen spinach in your canned tomato soup may come down to more than just which ingredient is readily available. There are some nutritional differences to consider as well. Both types of spinach are great sources of vitamins A and C, iron, folic acid, and calcium. But frozen spinach packs more nutrients in comparison to fresh leaves because the spinach is more compressed. Also, some nutritional compounds dissipate in fresh spinach when it sits around for too long. Freezing spinach at its peak offers the most nutritional benefit.

Whether choosing frozen or fresh just be sure to avoid these common mistakes when cooking spinach. You want to gently introduce the leafy greens to the soup while it's on low heat. You might want to incorporate a few other easy ways to dress up that canned tomato soup. Throw in some chopped fresh basil along with the spinach, then top with croutons and parmesan cheese. Or maybe stir in a splash of cream at the end. However you choose to serve your canned tomato soup, adding spinach is an upgrade for both presentation and nutrition.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.