(Vegan) Mushroom Soup

Remember that mushroom soup I raved about in the last post?  It’s the one from that great Italian restaurant the fam and I went to for Easter dinner.

Umm. Yeah.
I kinda had a mad craving.

This.

This is what happens when I get a mad craving.

I made mushroom soup.
Not your average mushroom soup, but velvety and yes, it’s true…..healthy cream of mushroom soup.
No heavy cream in this bowl of goodness!

How can that be?
One word. Vegan.
Yuppers!  I made vegan mushroom soup.

Ok, lets get the nitty gritty of this straight.
I do not and probably will never endorse a vegan diet.  Hey! If you want to restrict yourself from the pleasures of meat and dairy, be my guest. I know, I know…it’s supossed to be healthy.  Clean out your colon.  Feel a ba-gillion pounds lighter.  Run a mile without losing your breath kinda healthy. Blah, blah, blah…..

I get it.
But I don’t get it.  I don’t get how never eating cheese or bacon or (gasp!) ice cream can be desireable.  Ok, if you are lactose intolerant that is one thing.  But to do this willingly? I’m not so sure. Props to those who put their health first!  I guess I’ll just continue to vary my diet, making sure I equal out all that butter and sugar with fresh veggies and fruit. 

Of course, eating vegan once and a while can’t hurt either ;)

This is gonna be real easy. Trust me.

Rub the dirt off the mushrooms and slice.  Never rinse!  They’ll soak up the water and make everything else in the pot watery.
Dice a sweet onion.
Mince a few cloves of fresh garlic.
Have ready a bottle of worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, vegetable broth, salt and pepper.

Oh looky here!

Soak up this image.
It’s called “mis en place”. 
That’s French for “everything in place.”
Great cooks know those fancy French cooking terms ;)
Even better chefs apply them to their kitchen skills.
I have learned through trial and error that having all the ingrediants sliced and diced BEFORE throwing them into the pot is a pretty smart thing. It leaves way less room for error and stress.

Let’s get back to the soup.
Throw the onions and garlic in with a couple glugs of olive oil.  Saute.  Add mushrooms, worchestershire, and soy sauce.  It will look like a lot, but they will wilt DOWN, Down, down until they’re all dark and luxurious looking.  Fill the pot with veggie broth (low sodium please) and let simmer for at least 20-30 mins. 

Meanwhile, lets make some magic happen.
This cream of mushroom soup is vegan because there is no actual cream in it.
(Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone!)
Instead, you get to play magician chef and fool everyone by making a cashew cream.
Yuppers, cashews are the trick!  A half a cup of cashews are blended with an equal amount of water.  Thats it.
Whew! Vegan isn’t all that daunting, I guess!

After blending the soup to a smooth puree in the blender, stir in the cashew cream and run the soup through a strainer back into the hot pot.  Itty bits of cashew will remain in the strainer so your soup won’t be gritty.  Let reheat till piping hot, and serve!

If you want to be all fancy and sophisticated, add a vibrant tangle of basil and a few drips of your best olive oil to each bowl, like I did.
If you want to be all hemp and dreadlocks hipsterish, add homemade croutons and a sprinkle of feta cheese.
Or eat it naked. 
………I mean the soup, sludge-mind.

Geez.

Recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker.
Here’s the link if you’d like the full recipe….trust me, you’ll want it ;)
http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/02/vegan-cream-of-mushroom-soup-with-not-so-vegan-herb-bread/

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