As the weather turns cool in the fall and eases into winter, this soup goes into an almost weekly rotation in our house.
Truth be told, its creamy texture (without the cream) and deep mushroom flavor bolstered by dried mushrooms tempts me all year long except on the hottest of summer days.
I love it for lunch with a sandwich or salad. When I want to add something extra to a dinner with friends, I like to serve small bowls as a first course. It wakes up your taste buds in anticipation of the meal that will follow.
Best Mushrooms for Creamy Mushroom Soup
The flavor of mushrooms is very pronounced in this soup, and it all starts with fresh cremini mushrooms (also sometimes called baby bella or baby portobellos.)
Cremini mushrooms are simply more mature white button mushrooms, with a brown color and firm texture; with even more growing time they become meaty portobello caps—but all three are the same variety. Because they are more mature than white button mushrooms, they pack a lot more depth of flavor.
A small amount (1 ounce) of dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted in boiling water really helps intensify the mushroom flavor. The soaking water gets diluted and added to the soup and the drained mushrooms simmer in the vegetable broth. If you can’t find dried mushrooms, just add another 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms to the mix.
Alternative mushrooms: Cremini and dried porcini mushrooms are my favorites to use in this soup, but you could swap out white button mushrooms or portobellos for them. As mentioned above, if you want to skip the dried mushrooms, add about 8 ounces fresh mushrooms for that extra flavor boost and be sure to give them plenty of time on top of the stove to evaporate excess liquid and allow the mushrooms to turn a deep golden brown before adding the stock.
The Best Way to Prep Fresh Mushrooms for Soup
Mushrooms are porous and absorb water if you rinse them too far in advance, but when you plan to cook them in a soup, you don’t need to carefully remove debris one mushroom at a time!
The fastest and easiest way to prep them is to swish them around in a large bowl of cool water. The dirt that clings to them should sink to the bottom of the bowl. Use your hands to transfer them to a layer of paper towels to drain. Do this just before you are going to make the soup.
You can slice the mushrooms with a knife, but a food processor is the quickest way to get your soup going. You are going to purée the soup at the end of cooking, so perfectly sliced mushrooms are not a prerequisite!
If you’re interested in learning more about buying and storing mushrooms, cooking mushrooms, and cleaning them we have some great resources for you:
- How to Buy and Store Mushrooms
- How to Clean and Prep Mushrooms for Cooking
- A Better Way to Cook Mushrooms
And, as a bonus, here is some information on morel mushrooms if you’re interested.
How to Make Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup
A high proportion of mushrooms to stock in this recipe translates into a creamy result when the soup is pureed.
A tablespoon of uncooked rice—an old French trick for thickening pureed vegetable soups—also adds body.
This is a handy way to serve a creamy vegan soup and skip the dairy. You will use some of the mushroom soaking water and vegetable stock for the soup broth, and they provide more than enough mushroom flavor to make this soup a hit!
Tips to Make this Soup Even Better!
- Use a little lemon juice to brighten the final taste and balance the pronounced mushroom flavor.
- Make some tiny croutons to add a little crunch. Sourdough has a lot of flavor, but if you want to make this soup gluten-free, just use your favorite gluten free bread.
- Finally, add a little color by sprinkling snipped chives on top.
More Magnificent Mushroom Soup Recipes
Vegan Creamy Mushroom Soup
For the croutons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
For the soup
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 handful fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon uncooked white rice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish
Make the croutons:
In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the bread cubes and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside on a plate to garnish the soup with later.
Soak the dried mushrooms:
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. In a small bowl, place the dried porcini mushrooms and cover with boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes.
Set a fine mesh sieve over a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour the mushrooms over the sieve to strain the soaking liquid. Reserve the soaking liquid and add additional water to the soaking liquid, if needed, to make 4 cups. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the soup:
In a large pot set over medium-high heat add the oil. Once the oil is warm and shimmers, add the sliced cremini mushrooms.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Add in the garlic, onion, thyme, soy sauce, and strained porcini mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are a deep golden color.
Add the stock, the mushroom soaking liquid, salt, pepper, and rice. Adjust the heat to medium-low so it cooks at a steady simmer (small bubbles). Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.
Puree the soup:
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth.
If using a countertop blender, add 1/3 of the soup to the blender, place the lid onto the blender but remove the insert cap and cover with a thick, folded towel to prevent steam from building up.
Keep your hand over the towel and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Repeat this blending process until all the soup has been puréed.
Stir in the lemon juice. Taste, and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice, as needed.
Serve the soup:
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with croutons and chives.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||15%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|