Creamy mushroom cauliflower soup

 Creamy mushroom cauliflower soup

There are many recipes out there for vegan/plant based mushroom soup.  I thought it would be fun to make my own though, mainly to see if I could.  I was at work last night and decided to write this recipe.  I tried it when I woke up this afternoon and I am so happy with it.  It is thick and creamy, and a good base for additions.  One addition I am going to try, is adding two cups of cooked wild rice.  I think it would make a wonderful contributor to this soup.

Before you begin, you will need to soak some raw, unsalted cashews.  You are going to blend this into a cashew cream.
1 1/3 c unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, overnight is even better
1c water
1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken down into medium florets
1T chopped garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 T mushroom powder (see notes to make)
5c veggie or mushroom stock
1 lbs of sliced mushrooms.  I use 8oz. button and 8oz. of cremini, but any combination will do.

Preheat oven to 400*

In a large stock pot, combine the cauliflower, spices and mushroom powder with 5c of stock.  Stir well and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  When it comes to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender. 
While the cauliflower is cooking, bake the mushrooms.  Place all the cleaned mushrooms on a lined baking sheet, I use a silicone pad, but you can use parchment too.  Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are wilted and have given off some of their juice.
When they are done, remove from oven.
When the cauliflower is cooked, remove from heat and let cool just a bit.
While the mushrooms and soup are cooling a bit, lets make some cashew cream.  Drain and rinse the cashews, and pour into a high speed blender.  Add 1c water and blend on high until smooth and thick.  You may need to scrape down the sides.  Set aside.
When the cauliflower and liquid have cooled a bit, blend in the pot with an immersion blender until very smooth.  Add the mushrooms and any juice that may be with them, and stir well.  Place back on the stove over medium heat, add the cashew cream and stir well.  Do not boil, just heat up, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and if you are adding cooked rice, add now.  Stir one more time and serve.  

Note:  To make mushroom powder, just purchase some dried shiitake mushrooms, usually available in the Asian stores or Asian section of most grocery stores.  Place in a coffee grinder or a high speed blender and blend until a fine powder forms.  Store in an air tight zip bag or glass jar.  You can use for soup bases, in veggie burgers etc.


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