I associate mushrooms with comfort food. And with my dad. He would make delicious sautéed mushrooms and onions to heap onto grilled steaks. He pickled mushrooms with garlic, made thyme-mushroom omlettes and reconstituted dried mushrooms to add to his mushroom-barley soup.
His soup was great, but I naively preferred the canned version of mushroom soup. So, as an occasional treat on a cold wintry day, he would open a can of cream of mushroom soup and instead of adding water to it, he would use milk. I loved the warm woodsy taste of the mushrooms combined with the silkiness of the milk-soup.
As an older and hopefully wiser adult, I thankfully no longer eat the canned soup version of mushroom soup. But I do miss the comforting memories I associate it with. So, in to the kitchen I went to create a healthier version of my childhood comfort food. This is a full-flavored, “creamy”, soul-satisfying soup! It’s vegan, gluten-free and will warm your belly. You won’t miss the can – or the milk – promise!
Vegan “Cream” Of Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable (they are scientifically classified as fungi) source for vitamin D. They contain B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), selenium and potassium – all helping to protect our cells from free radical damage.
1 tablespoon soy-free Earth Balance spread
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2, 10-ounce packages sliced button mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried thyme
¼ cup apple cider or water
3 cups almond milk, or “milk” of your choice (rice, hemp, etc.)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Salt to taste
1, 25-gram (.88 oz.) package dried mixed wild mushrooms (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
2 cups boiling water
How To Make Vegan “Cream” Of Mushroom Soup:
Combine Earth Balance spread and the grapeseed oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When this mixture begins to bubble, add in the chopped onions and increase the heat to medium-high.
Sauté the onions, stirring frequently, until they start to brown; then add in the sliced mushrooms and dried thyme.
Stir until mushrooms are browned yet still moist and plump, adding a bit more oil if necessary.
Add the apple cider to deglaze the pan, stirring for a minute or two until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add in the almond milk, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Simmer gently on low heat for about 15 minutes.
While the soup simmers, rinse the dried mushrooms in a sieve and place them into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over them to cover. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to rehydrate.
Take the pot off of the stove and allow to cool slightly. Carefully blend with an immersion blender (or in a tabletop blender in batches; remember that hot soup splashes are hot!) to almost smooth. Add in the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking water.
Taste soup for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Reheat on low.
Note: If you want your soup to be totally smooth, simply add the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking water to the pot of soup and blend it all until it reaches your desired consistency.
Makes 4 servings