Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

This past Saturday, I made vegetable broth. Then I made vegan cream of mushroom soup.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, garnished gratuitously with chives

It’s fall, damn it, and I’m still excited about these things. I keep foreshadowing ominously to the winter months, when all that we eat is the equivalent of soup in various formats (squash soup, lentil soup, chowders, chilis, curries…), but the important thing to remember is that I’ve just made my year’s worth of vegetable broth (and froze it in ice cube trays for conveniently sized portions), and it’s time to make soup!

Cream of mushroom soup, that is—vegan cream of mushroom soup.

I don’t like mushrooms. Well, I don’t like mushrooms as much as I like other…foods. (Because mushrooms aren’t a vegetable—they’re fungi—I can’t in good faith say, ‘I don’t like mushrooms as much as other vegetables.’)

Maybe it was because the only mushrooms that were known to me in my formative years of existence were the white button kind, and those are the mushroom equivalent of Velveeta ‘cheese’ product. (I’m being a bit unfair, but really, there are so many kinds of mushrooms out there—why do people expect everything standardised and perfectly predictable?)

I still have an instinctive cringe towards mushrooms, but once I take a step back to think about them, I remember how delicious they can be.

I’d enjoyed stuffed mushrooms since high school—and make some mean ones—and have since added whole new worlds of mushroom enjoyment to the space within my horizons: vegan beef stroganoff, for one, mushroom risotto, and now this delicious vegan cream of mushroom soup.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever elect for a portobello cap over a real, homemade vege burger, nor will I instantly gravitate towards the thing with mushrooms in it on the menu, but if that thing with mushrooms were this cream of mushroom soup, then I’d remember to think twice.

Enjoy this soup all curled up with people whom you love. Invite them all over—soups are meant to be shared. (On that note, I hope that you liked it, Vic!)

And a final note, before you fall into a false sense of security and start feeling all warm and fuzzy about mushrooms: nothing about cleaning mushrooms will ever not suck.

Note: When cleaning mushrooms, you can’t submerge them in water or they’ll soak it up, which means that they’ll soak up less of the flavour from whatever you’re cooking them in. The best way to clean them is to scrub them with a dry towel or sponge. Make your sous chef do this; it sucks.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

By M. M. Cassidy Published: November 22, 2011

  • Yield: 6-8 Servings
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Ready In: 50 mins

This soup is a perfect mix of earthiness and creaminess. It makes for a pretty presentation and a perfect accompaniment to any Thanksgiving or other vegan holiday meal. It goes well with the hearty white wine used in the soup; something green, like vegan spinach-artichoke dip; or fresh bruschetta if you can find tomatoes.



  1. Boil some water and use it to just cover the dried mushrooms and cashews (in separate bowls). Let these hang out while you do some work.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add the rosemary and thyme. Let them sizzle for a few seconds to infuse, but make sure that they don't begin to turn colour and burn.
  3. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and revel in the fact that you're not cooking with boring yellow onions.
  4. When the leeks are aromatic and a nice, bright green, add a little salt and paprika to taste.
  5. While the leeks are sautéing, remove the rehydrated mushrooms from the water (or drain, but reserve the mushroom water) and give them a little rinse. Chop them finely.
  6. Add the mushrooms (both the rehydrated and the fresh) and let them cook until they've given off much of their creepy mushroom water (it's creepy, period), which will mostly evaporate off.
  7. While the mushrooms are creepily oozing, drain the cashews and add them to a blender. Blend with 1/2 c water for a few minutes, until smooth and no longer grainy when rubbed between your fingers.
  8. Add the cashew cream, vegetable broth, wine, and reserved mushroom water (from rehydrating the dried mushrooms) to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  9. I recommend partially blending for a smooth texture that still has some mushroom bits. Alternatively, blend completely it for a perfectly smooth soup, but I'm not really a fan of blended soups (unless we're talking tomato). Or serve chunky for a rustic (read: lazy) style.
  10. Season with pepper, and more salt and paprika if desired.
  11. Garnish with chives and share! You could also garnish with fancy sliced mushrooms or a crack of black pepper.

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  • Wow, this recipe looks fantastic! I’m almost tempted to change my Thanksgiving menu and use the mushrooms for this soup!

    • …it wouldn’t even be that difficult… Either way, enjoy your holiday! Yay, food, family, and love!

  • Dora

    is it a big deal if i use all fresh mushrooms instead of 1 oz dried? what changes about the soup? i read that I should use 1/3 lb fresh mushrooms as a substitute for 1 oz dried, do you agree with that?

    • Hi, Dora—
      Sorry for the delayed response!

      The gist is that dried mushrooms provide a much more earthy flavour than fresh. You can substitute fresh mushrooms, but the flavour won’t be as deep, and in some cases (e.g. porcini) will be totally different—not necessarily bad, but definitely different.

      If substituting, just like with herbs, you’ll need to up the quantity of fresh to replace the dried. With herbs, it’s usually 3x fresh to replace dried.

      With mushrooms, it depends on the recipe. In this recipe, the porcini add a nice earthiness and depth, and I’d almost omit them entirely instead of using more fresh mushrooms. You might substitute some tempeh bacon (with the leeks and onion) or something similar for depth. Maybe even a dash of liquid smoke?

      For other recipes, some pretentious foodies on chow hound sounded off here:

      Your 1 lb fresh : 3 oz dried ratio was confirmed here:

      Again, I don’t think that adding more mushrooms will work in this recipe—mushrooms are more of a case-by-case basis. Best of luck!

      • Dora

        thanks for the response. i ended up going to another grocery store to buy
        dried mushrooms.  i’m using the recipe now, but you never use the
        reserved mushroom liquid. what am i supposed to do with it? do i just put it in at the end with the wine and veggie broth?

        • Gracious, sorry that I missed this, Dora! Yes, you should add the rehydrated mushroom water (appetising!) in with the wine and cream. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. Thanks!

  • Leigh

    So I’m resurrecting this thread. Today is a damp cold day and I felt like a soup.A Google search and I’m at the wicked good vegan site (which is wicked good BTW). Apparently I’m 2 years late to the amazing vegan cream of mushroom soup party. Wow! Going to keep snooping at the rest of your recipes! Thanks!

    • Thanks yourself! It’s definitely cozy soup for a cold day.