Soup’s On With 18 Chestnuts

18 Reasons Beetroot Apple soup that I garnished with a little parsley.
18 Reasons Beetroot Apple soup that I garnished with a little parsley.

Ilona Kossoff was running a commercial real estate company with her husband, when she decided to enroll in the Cornell University healthy living nutrition certification program, a move that would change the trajectory of her life.

As someone who suffered from digestive issues and followed a mostly plant-based diet, she decided to combine her new-found knowledge with her love of cooking soups.

Voila — 18 Chestnuts was born.

The Ashville, NC family-owned company makes shelf-stable vegan soups that are low fat, low sodium, and gluten-free.

The soups come in shelf-stable glass jars.
The soups come in shelf-stable glass jars.

She named the company for her love of chestnuts and because her best-selling Chestnut Maple Soup has 18 chestnuts in every bowl.

The company makes 10 different soups, each packaged in glass jars. When I was offered the opportunity to try them, I honed in on six specific flavors, which unlike the other four, do not contain monk fruit sweetener, which admittedly I’m not a fan of because I find it has an aftertaste.

I tried: Asparagus Shiitake, Pumpkin Coconut, Beet & Apple, Mountain Mushroom, Chestnut Maple, and Roasted Cauliflower.

All of the soups are made with fresh fruits and vegetables that Kossoff sources from local farmers and vendors.

They are also all blended, resulting in a light-bodied, blended soup with no chunky bits. They can be enjoyed heated up right out of the jar or as a base for adding your own toppings or extras such as chopped veggies, cooked beans, fresh herbs, small pastas, rice, toasted nuts, sour cream, yogurt, grated cheese, or even leftover, shredded rotisserie chicken.

The Roasted Cauliflower that I garnished with -- you guessed it -- roasted cauliflower florets.
The Roasted Cauliflower that I garnished with — you guessed it — roasted cauliflower florets.

Because the Asparagus Shiitake also contains sweet potato, it has a subtle sweetness along with an earthiness with the asparagus taste coming across fairly mild. The Pumpkin Coconut is creamy, a little sweet, and big on autumn flavor. The Beet & Apple really tastes of beet with a deep earthiness. It’s much like borscht, and can be enjoyed hot or chilled. If you grew up with Cream of Mushroom, you’ll find the Mountain Mushroom much cleaner and clearer tasting with mushroom flavor. The Roasted Cauliflower is slightly orange in color from the addition of sweet potatoes, which again gives it a gentle sweetness, but I think also tends to damp down the natural nuttiness of the cauliflower. On the other hand, the Chestnut Maple is delightfully nutty and starchy tasting with a hint of maple syrup creating the ultimate bowl that evokes the coziness of the winter holidays.

Each 16-ounce jar has between 50 calories (Beet and Apple) to 190 (Chestnut Maple) per serving. Now, each jar is designed to serve two. But if you’re like me, most likely you’ll end up devouring the entire jar in one sitting for an effortless and satisfying lunch.

The soups are available in a trio pack on Amazon for $43.99. Or go to the 18 Chestnuts web site to build your own 3-, 6- or 12-pack of soups either in a one-time purchase or a subscription service.

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