The creams you find on the shelves of the super are practical and quick to prepare, but they have a limit: contain a lot of salt.
"Whether they are 'liquid' or freeze-dried doesn't make much difference," says Dr. Diana Scatozza. «The excess of flavor (I evaluated it negatively!) Is a common characteristic of these products, which then must be chosen carefully and used occasionally, not more than once a week», warns our dietician.
The winning qualities
«In drawing up my ranking, on the other hand, I first of all took into account the simplicity of the recipe (more than positive feature). I have favored organic products and those with ingredients that are far from those of our gastronomic tradition are penalized ”, says food technologist Giorgio Donegani.
«As regards in particular the packaged preparations (to be diluted with water), I gave a“ plus ”to those without yeast extract, which acts as a flavor enhancer. Moving on to the sensory analysis, I checked that the color was natural, the density neither too liquid nor excessively dense and in any case homogeneous. Even the scent should convey an idea of "homemade", not artificial, and let perceive at least some of the vegetables used.
On tasting I therefore judged again the consistency, the possible presence of too many granules or, on the contrary, of excessive liquidity. Finally, with regard to flavor, I evaluated whether it communicated an idea of naturalness, with the main vegetables recognizable and without anomalous tastes (or aftertastes). Some products, for example, were found to be too acidic or salty or "dominated" by a single ingredient ».
Alce Nero Bio cream of vegetables: € 3,99 the pack of 500 g, equal to 2 servings
(€ 1,995 each).
The strong point. The natural flavor.
The first ingredient is water (as it should be, since it is a ready-made cream). Followed by vegetables, which represent 44,9% of the weight, and then salt and parsley. The cream is a little denser than the average of the competitors and has a natural color.
The aroma is intense: you can recognize the peas and also the onion. When tasted, the taste is rich, overall pleasant and well balanced. The consistency is also reminiscent of a home-made past, and is gratifying in the mouth.
Per portion: 0,75 g of fat, 6,5 g of carbohydrates, 3,25 g of fiber, 3 g of protein, 1,25 g of salt, 47 cal.
Coop cream with cereals and rosemary: € 0,85 the 35 g pack, equal to 1 portion (€ 0,85
The strong point. The homogeneous consistency.
72,1% of the ingredients in this instant product (to which you only need to add water) are made from different cereal flours. Then there are dehydrated cream and rosemary and turmeric, which has a mainly coloring function. It is also good that monosodium glutamate is not present.
Once prepared (following the instructions on the package), the velvety has the right density and a homogeneous consistency and the rosemary is perceived quite well.
Per portion: 2,9 g of fat, 22,8 g of carbohydrates, 1,7 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, 2,35 g of salt, 137 cal.
Star cream of pumpkin: € 1,99 per 500 ml pack, equal to 2 servings (€ 0,995 each).
The strong point. The simple recipe.
The recipe is very simple: the main ingredient is water, then 26% of pumpkin, 14% of carrots and 10% of onion (the only vegetables added). The oil used is extra virgin olive oil, as a thickener there is corn starch and finally there is salt.
The cream has a beautiful yellow color, tending to orange, and the nose reveals a natural scent, very close to that of a home preparation. The flavor is balanced, the pumpkin is well recognizable and the onion is not too invasive.
Per portion: 6,3 g of fat, 10 g of carbohydrates, 3,8 g of fiber, 2,5 g of protein, 1,9 g of salt, 114 cal.
Heart of Bio cream of chickpeas, carrots and ginger: € 1,99 per pack of 80 g, equal to 2 servings (€ 0,995 each).
The strong point. The organic ingredients.
This soup contains chickpea flour (84% by weight) as the first ingredient, followed by carrots in granules, salt and ginger. There is a vegetable flavoring made from natural ingredients. All the protagonists of the recipe are organic.
By opening the bag and preparing the product as indicated, a cream with a rather dense consistency, homogeneous granularity and an attractive light color is obtained. The taste is natural and well balanced.
Per portion: 2,5 g of fat, 19 g of carbohydrates, 4,6 g of fiber, 8,12 g of protein, 1,8 g of salt, 140 cal.
Our lab: Dr. Giorgio Donegani, food technologist in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan); Dr. Diana Scatozza, specialist in food science in Milan.