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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bisque

I've whined enough times about the discontinued tomato bisque. Amy's brand is pretty darn close, so I won't harp on about that in this post. But I will say I'm always on the lookout for a bisque experience on par with that superb—ahem, "soup herb"—tomato version.

This offering comes close in terms of quality and taste, but it's really a whole different animal altogether. It's not like tomato bisque with pumpkin instead of tomato. It is what it is, if you know what I mean. No?

Let me describe it for you. This bisque is smooth. There are no chunks of squash or pumpkin. There are tiny flecks of something—pumpkin puree I assume—but nothing to really add any body or texture. I really don't like perfectly smooth soup unless I have something to dunk into it...or crackers to crumble into it.

The flavor is shockingly sweet—honey sweet. Almost too sweet for my taste. There is a savory aspect to it, and you can definitely taste the squashy pumpkin flavor, but it needs something to balance out its sweetness in my opinion. It's creamy, and there are plenty of secondary herb flavors to keep it interesting: garlic, tahini, and onion to name a few.

Fat content? Oh my. One jar has well over a day's value of fat, saturated fat, and sodium. If this isn't one of your favorite fall items, it might not make your shopping list every time you head to TJ's just because it's on par with an indulgent dessert as far as those stats are concerned. And I should point out that this jar is more like two servings instead of the three they're claiming on the nutrition label.

After trying it by itself, I decided to mix it with some leftover potatoes O'Brien. It worked for me better than the plain bisque did. The taters added some starchiness and firmness to the texture and the flavors blended pretty well, with both elements featuring garlic, onions, and salt. It might seem an odd combo to some, but I'd prefer a potato pumpkin bisque to something totally void of veggie chunks.

Overall, it's good. It's not what I expected. Crazy sweet in my opinion. Sonia liked it a lot more than I did upon first impressions. She was torn between four and a half and four stars, but opted for the latter in the end after she glanced at the nutrition info. It took me quite a while to decide how I feel about it. I was torn between three and three and a half, and I went with the lower of those two since it's just so cloyingly sweet, especially when eaten by itself. But I must admit, it's a unique flavor: sweet pumpkin that's nothing like pumpkin pie or traditional pumpkin spice. I'd say a more fitting name for this product would be "Honey Harvest Bisque." $3.99 for the jar. 

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. I never had the tomato bisque, but their boxed tomato soup is probably my most frequent TJ's purchase. It's pretty sweet, with 10g sugar, I think. So I can't imagine how sweet this one is with 23! Sounds more like a dessert.

    I considered trying this but opted for the pumpkin squash pasta sauce, which is also not too impressive.


  3. Who let this nutrition panel pass for a product??


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