If you’re not a mushroom fan, bear with me for a minute. I’m not really a die-hard enthusiast myself, but this Soup, it changed my mind, and convinced me to come over to the fungi-filled dark side. Filled with garlic, onions, and a homemade cashew cream, this creamy soup is so rich and flavorful, people’ll think you ordered take-out from a fancy restaurant in town. It’s the perfect combination of salty, earthy, and a little smoky, and it’s hard to resist dipping a hefty chunk of crunchy baguette in it.
I prefer using a mix of mushrooms, usually oyster, and button mushrooms- but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. If using dried mushrooms, soak them well before cooking. White Button Mushrooms do not have a lot of flavor on their own. I sometimes also mix in those baby button mushrooms at the end which make for a nice presentation as well! Be sure to clean your mushrooms well either by wiping with a damp towel or VERY quickly rinsing and drying them. I prefer the latter as the dirt just seems to come off so much easier. You need to be quick because you don’t want the mushrooms to absorb the water and they are like little sponges! We want them to absorb the flavors in our soup.
The creamy, smooth texture makes it palatable for those with an aversion to slightly slimy foods, but if you ARE on the fungi wagon, feel free to set aside some of the mushroom & onion mixture and add it just before serving. It adds a bit of texture that you just won’t be able to resist! Soup lasts a solid week in the fridge and for up to 2 months in the freezer!
For me, the safest bet has always been a tomato soup in the restaurants where I don’t find anything else. I wish they made Mushroom soups like this in there. In general, they are hard to find. If at all being served, they are bland and tasteless as a tyre. I have rarely had a bowl of good mushroom soup anywhere. Though the one we get in M&S cafe is pretty decent..
Anyway, I prepared it last weekend when the energies were really low after several rounds of rehearsals for the dance show. After 4 hours of continuous dance, the only thing I wanted was to slouch and relax. I had the stock leftover from the Thai Mushroom soup, without prunes. So I used that up to prepare this simple, not-so-fancy Vegan Mushroom soup. As you might happen to know, I am trying a lot of Vegan dishes these days; just to check out how my body and taste buds take it. So I made this Cream of Mushroom soup, creamless. Adopting the good old trick of substituting milk/cream with cashew milk. That had to work!
I am a big fan of roasted garlic’s smoky flavour and tend to add it in all my soups, if I can. I had roasted a garlic bulb the other day for a lentil curry and some of it was lying in the fridge so have used that too in this soup. I have explained the method of roasting garlic in my notes below. It’s a time taking process and takes up almost an hour in the oven so I only roast it when I am doing some other baking.
I also added a dash of coconut milk on top, simply to add more flavours. The end result, like I have already bragged about above, was amazing. It was light, warm, sweet-ish yet smoky. Next time though, I am going to try the soup with loads of cheese. It’s been a month I haven’t had cheese and am dying to have some now. Till then, enjoy this smooth and slurp-y appetizer!
1 diced onion
3 cloves roasted garlic, minced
250 gm sliced mushrooms -assorted variety
6 cups veggie broth (vegetable stock)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Cup raw cashews (soak for a few hours if you don’t have a power blender)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp Olive oil
How to make?
Saute the onions in the oil. Add roasted garlic mince and fry for 10 seconds.
Add the mushrooms once the onions are transparent. Saute until the mushrooms are reduced in size, about 10-12 minutes
Add veggie broth and herbs. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove 2 cups of the hot soup. Blend the soup in a blender with the cashews and nutritional yeast til completely creamy.
Return to pot, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat for five more minutes until slightly thickened.
Spoon a dash of coconut milk on top, season with some dried herbs and serve hot with a crusty bread.
On days that you are rushed, you could simply throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and the soup is ready by the night. I personally believe that will fetch ion more flavours from the mushrooms since I like those dishes where mushrooms are simmered for long.
If you would like to garnish with whole mushrooms, remove about a 1/2 cups worth before adding the vegetable stock and set aside. Garnish, and serve!
How to roast garlic: Peel away any excess paper from the bulb of garlic, then cut the top off to expose the cloves. Rub exposed cloves with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, and set onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the garlic has turned golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool until good enough to handle bare hands. Peel or squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin, and set aside.
You could also make it oil free, by sautéing onion in 2 tbsp of Veggie stock rather than directly in oil.
If you don’t want to use nutritional yeast, or you don’t get that in your area- you may use some plain flour instead. Add it when the mushrooms are cooked up properly and simmer till the soup thickens.
Another vegan soup which I love is this creamy Tomato Soup with basil and coriander
And of course my hot favorite these days – Ottolenghi’s Thai style Mushroom and beansprouts soup with basil and coriander