Finding or Making Soy-Free Soup

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

The season has officially changed and it’s finally time again for some cold weather food! One of my absolute favorite fall foods is soup (I’m partial to chicken noodle, but enjoy pretty much all soup). Soup comes in two different types: canned soup and homemade soup. With a bit of preparation, both can be soy-free!

You might not expect it, but canned soup often contains soybean oil. Soybean oil is commonly used in mass-produced broths and stocks (which, as it turns out, are a key component of canned soup), so a majority of canned soups contain soy. But the use of soybean oil isn’t universal! It is possible to find soy-free canned soup with a bit of legwork to read through the ingredient labels, regardless of flavor. We’ve found soups labeled as “Tomato Soup” that contain soy, and ones labeled as “Hearty Tomato Soup” that don’t.



Now onto homemade soup: Usually homemade items are less likely to contain soy, but soup can be an exception. What adds soy to a soup? Soy products aren’t usually added to soups (for example, we don’t put edamame into our chicken noodle soup) and they don’t usually contain the common places soy is found: breads or butter (or chocolate, for that matter). The soy-containing ingredient in most soups is the broth (or stock) itself! This broth or stock can be made at home or purchased at the grocery store. Ensuring that the broth or stock is soy-free is the best way to make sure the soup is soy-free.

Homemade broth or stock is relatively straightforward, but it is time consuming. The benefit of making your own broth is that you can control what goes into it: there isn’t any soy in the final product if you don’t add any soybean oil while you make it. While oil can be added to broths and stocks, it isn’t necessary, and there are plenty of recipes for making broth or stock online that don’t use any oil.

We buy soup stock from the grocery store instead of making it at home. Buying broth or stock is tricky because the ingredient label often doesn’t list soy (or any oil) at all! Similar to our recent post on baking chocolate ingredients, the ingredients for stock (for example: chicken stock) usually list “chicken stock”. What is in chicken stock? The list usually goes further to also list natural flavorings (which, as we’ve previously discussed, is a big unknown). We have learned, through trial and error, that most broths and stocks in the grocery store cause Ashley to exhibit symptoms of eating soy. We don’t know if the natural flavorings cause the problem or if the stock itself contains soy. Our best guess at present is that the chicken stock contains a small amount of soybean oil, which then causes Ashley to feel bad. 


There is good news: We have found stock that is soy-free and Ashley-friendly! We buy both chicken and vegetable stock from Trader Joe’s. It lists out all the ingredients of the stock, including the ingredients of the “organic chicken broth” item, so we are confident it is soy-free. It does contain natural flavors, but these particular flavors don’t seem to cause a problem for us.

With the right preparation, soup can be a great soy-free winter meal that is easy to throw together and you can be confident it is soy-free.