Calling all mushroom lovers! My husband declared this the BEST MUSHROOM SOUP HE’S EVER HAD – and I have to agree with him. I have had some pretty delicious mushroom soups in restaurants but I think this one, stocked with a blend of earthy mushrooms and a rich and creamy base, beats them all. Best of all it is very easy, ready in less than 30 minutes and requires few ingredients. It’s vegan too! Many soups are made delicious by adding thick creamy ingredients that add fat and cholesterol and actually mask the natural flavors of the main ingredients. I substituted the traditional heavy cream with almond milk and veggie broth, thickened with a bit of flour, which really cuts calories without losing flavor. This soup was wonderful served immediately after cooking, but the small bowl that was leftover that I ate for lunch a couple of days later was even better. So this is a great soup to make a day or two ahead and reheat when needed. What could be easier? For other soup ideas, check out last week’s blog post, 12 Vegetarian Winter Soups.
The stars of this soup are the mushrooms, so choose your favorites but make sure they are good quality. I love a combination of mushrooms to deepen the flavor and add texture. I prefer brown criminy mushrooms over white mushrooms, also called button mushrooms, since I think they are more flavorful but how do they compare from a nutritional standpoint? White button mushrooms have more vitamin C and slightly more iron but criminy mushrooms are the clear mineral winner. Criminy mushrooms have twice as much calcium and significantly more potassium and selenium than white mushrooms. The two mushroom varieties contain similar amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Surprisingly, white mushrooms contain slightly more fiber and protein than criminis, although criminis are slightly lower in fat, however they are both extremely low in fat.(Livestrong) So nutritionally speaking, it’s really a toss up, so go with your tastebuds or better yet, use a combination for the ultimate in flavor and nutrition.
TIPS: I have provided substitutions in this recipe for gluten free people. For more information on gluten free thickening agents, check out this article from SF Gate. I would like to offer one word of caution for those who are not used to cooking with almond milk, make sure you buy unsweetened, not original flavor, or your soup stock will have an underlying sweetness that is hard to cover up.
CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 Tbsn olive oil, butter or vegan butter ( like half oil half butter)
- 1 carton criminy or brown mushrooms (about 10 oz or 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 carton Portobello mushrooms (2 large or 10 small)
- 1 generous Tbsn flour (or cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca flour for GF)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1-2 cups almond or cashew milk (unsweetened)
- 2 tsp soy sauce (or liquid aminos for GF)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute onion in olive oil or butter in a large soup pot until translucent.
- Wipe mushrooms with a damp papertowel. Don’t rinse or they will get soggy. Cut smaller mushrooms in half and slice larger mushrooms. Really large Portobello slices might need to be cut in half.
- Add mushrooms to onion mixture and saute about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms start to lose their water.
- Stir in flour until absorbed by the juices and add thyme. Let cook several minutes. If you like really thick soups, add another tablespoon of flour.
- Add vegetable broth, soy sauce and 1 cup almond milk and stir to combine. If you want it creamier, add the remaining almond milk.Cook about 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally until soup thickens and flavors develop. If your soup is not as thick as you would like, dissolve another tablespoon of flour in a quarter cup of water, stir in and allow to simmer. Taste (as broths can vary in saltiness) and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve hot with a sprig of fresh thyme