Is it inconsistent to embrace canned tomatoes while avoiding canned tomato soup? Isn’t the latter simply a pureed version of the former with a few herbs and other seasonings thrown in?
The answer to both of these questions, surprisingly, is “no.” The reason is because one is more processed than the other.
I consider canned tomatoes, particularly those brands with no added salt, to be minimally processed. This means that they look and taste more or less the same going into and coming out of the can. For those times of the year when it is impossible to find good quality fresh tomatoes (the dead of winter, for example), or when you don’t have time to wash, peel, chop, roast, and or strain a batch of fresh tomatoes (say, any time you are trying to get a meal on the table in a flash), they are a great alternative.
Canned soup, on the other hand, is an example of a highly processed food. These are foods that are sold in a form that differs significantly from their original form. (Think of potatoes sold as potato chips or wheat sold as breakfast cereal.) They also include foods that are sold with lots of salt, sugar, fat, and/or ingredients that sound like they were born in a chemistry lab. (Think of frozen vegetables with a cheese sauce, canned fruit in syrup, and all-in-one meals in boxes.) I try to limit the amount of processed foods that my family and I eat.
A can of tomato soup has a large amount of sodium. A can of “no salt added” tomatoes has none. This is why I’m able to embrace canned tomatoes while avoiding canned tomato soup.