Mushrooms are known for their meatiness in the vegetable world, but they are not vegetables, they’re actually not even plants. In fact, mushrooms are a fungus, and they’re my favourite.
I absolutely love a good mushroom soup, but it’s important that the soup isn’t pureed because the best part of mushrooms is it’s meaty texture. Mushroom soup is often paired with cream. I wanted to make the perfect ‘creamy’ vegan mushroom soup. In place of cream I used cashews. Cashews are a great cream alternative because they are pretty neutral in flavour. This recipe turned out beautifully and is worth making before the winter is over!
You will notice that a bunch of my recipes use super food ingredients such as lucuma, turmeric, and chaga. They are medicinal plant-based ingredients packed with high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I find the ancient uses and health benefits of these ingredients very interesting and I hope to include an array of these foods in my recipes moving foreword.
In this soup I incorporated chaga mushrooms. For centuries chaga has been consumed for it’s nourishing benefits. For instance, indigenous Siberians have been known to use it in their soups and stews to prevent degenerative diseases and boost their endurance. Today, research suggests that chaga mushrooms are powerful antioxidants, immune boosters, help with digestion and have anti-cancer properties.
The recipe calls for ‘tea-cut’ chaga mushrooms, which are mushrooms that are dried and cut down to small pieces. The chaga flavour in this soup is very subtle. If you can’t source chaga feel free to omit it altogether, the recipe is delicious without it. However, you should be able to find chaga at many health food stores or you can order it online here.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup 'tea cut' raw chaga mushrooms
- 1 liter organic vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions chopped
- 700 grams mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, such as cremini, oyster, shiitake
- 2 tbsp chopped thyme
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- maldon salt
To prepare the cashew cream, soak cashews in water overnight, or at least 6 hours. Drain cashews. In a high speed blender add the cashews and water. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.
In a small pot, bring vegetable stock and chaga mushrooms to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. With a fine mesh sieve strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside. Chaga mushrooms can be saved for another time*.
In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have softened and most of the moisture has been released and evaporated, about 8-10 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the soup to blender with the cashew cream. Blend for a few seconds until soup is chunky. Add lemon juice.
To serve, garnish soup with lemon zest, maldon salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
* You can re-use chaga mushrooms 2-3 times. Just rinse and store them in the freezer.