Soups are fast, comforting and very nutritious. I make ginger and lentil soup when I am sick, I make leek soup when I have over indulged, I made carrot & coriander soup when it is snowing outside and I make this mushroom soup in spring when it is not quite warm enough to sit on a terrace but it is not quite cold enough for thick wintery gloop. Its bursting with flavor and will dispel myths that vegan food is bland and boring!
This little soup is packed full of antioxidants and is incredibly low in calories – really a great tonic. You can add cream or milk if you wish, but if you add a little potato this creates a creamy feel but without the dairy component maintaining the soup’s “Post” (Lent) credentials! Mushrooms are choc full of an amazing range of nutrients such as (Niacin,Riboflavin, Folate, Phosphorus, Iron, Panthothenic Acid, Zinc, Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Selenium and Thiamin). In fact mushrooms are higher in potassium than bananas and potassium helps the body regulate blood pressure. They reputedly lower the risk of breast and prostate cancer too. And at an astonishing 110 calories in 500g! (or 15 calories an average 70g portion) you can eat an awful lot of them! Added to the mushrooms are garlic and super antioxidant parsley so the end result is a health cocktail indeed.
I eat it with a little olive oil dribbled on top and my seed rich OMG! bread for a complete meal.
Ingredients – serves four generously
As with most soups quantities are a suggestion and extra ingredients lurking in your fridge with intent to wilt should definitely be added: for example some cold potato, leftover rice for thickening…some fresh herbs such as loboda (mountain spinach) or spinach…some leeks (I think this version had a few leeks in)…spring onions instead of regular onions…experimenting is half the fun!
1 tbsp olive oil (good virgin olive oil full of nutrients and flavor)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
500ml vegetable stock
500g white button mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and roughly cut into four but no need for mathematical accuracy
4-6 cloves crushed garlic
Salt and pepper
1 boiled potato or some leftover mash or rice
1 tsp nutmeg
3 bunches of parsley (loboda, leurda and spinach can also be added) roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently cook the onion until soft but not colored.
Add the mushrooms, the nutmeg, the garlic and cook lightly for five minutes (you want to preserve goodness here but not have raw garlic) until the mushrooms have softened. Add the stock and the potato or rice and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add all of the parsley. Add the salt and pepper and taste.
Liquidize with a stick blender. To serve dribble a little olive oil over. You can thin the soup (which should be reasonably thick with boiled water/ more stock).
By Rachel Sargent
Rachel Sargent is owner of The London Street Atelier, which organizes cookery classes, private dinners and offers catering. More about it here.