This Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup is the most perfect holiday soup! It’s incredibly velvety and rich like a bisque with a deep savory flavor that will win over all of your guests (including omnivores).
It’s also nutrient-dense thanks to a generous amount of mushrooms, fresh herbs, garlic, and cashews. No cream or dairy needed for this dreamy cream of mushroom soup.
And despite being gourmet and fancy enough for a dinner party, this mushroom soup comes together easily and reheats well, making it a great meal prep option.
Why this recipe works
A velvety bisque texture.
Three techniques give this vegan mushroom soup a luxurious, velvety consistency and rich mouthfeel that will have your guests convinced it’s made with cream.
First, a portion of the soup is blended. This is an easy way to creamify any soup or stew, and a technique I use often, like in my Creamy White Bean Soup. Not all of the soup is blended though, so you get textural variation: silky smooth with bites of chewy mushrooms, the best of both worlds.
Second, a half cup of raw cashews are added to the portion of soup that gets blended. As you may know, raw cashews, when blended, add an incredibly creamy texture and richness.
Third, the recipe doesn’t add too much vegetable broth (you can always thin the soup out later if you wish).
Serious savory flavor.
Mushrooms naturally have a meaty depth, but this is no ordinary mushroom soup. It’s an umami powerhouse thanks to a mixture of fresh mushrooms, mushroom stock made from dried mushrooms, soy sauce and miso paste.
Each spoon is packed with a layered depth of flavor and coats your whole mouth with a rich, savory mouthfeel (the essence of umami!). Even my mushroom-averse partner was floored when he tried it and asked to have a big bowl of it for dinner.
PS: If you love the sound of these flavors, don’t miss out on my rich and super savory Mushroom Gravy during the holidays.
Gourmet but easy.
The flavors and textures in this soup will make your taste buds sing. It’s fancy enough to serve at any dinner party, and is particularly perfect as a starter for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
At the same time, this vegan mushroom soup is easy to make, so you can even make it for a weeknight dinner if you want. It reheats fabulously, so it’s a great option to make on a Sunday or Monday and enjoy for a few days (if it lasts that long!).
Fresh mushrooms. Using a blend of different mushrooms adds varying textures to this creamy soup, so it’s far from a one-note cream of mushroom soup.
We love this soup with a mix of shiitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms or maitake mushrooms, in addition to your everyday brown button mushrooms.
Where to buy: You can find a large selection of mushroom varieties at Asian grocery stores, farmers markets, and well-stocked grocery stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts.
Dried mushrooms + mushroom stock (optional). All mushrooms are rich in umami, but dried mushrooms are particularly so. Here, dried mushrooms are briefly soaked in water, then the resulting mushroom stock is added to the soup (in addition to veg broth) for enhanced savoriness.
The rehydrated dried shrooms are also added to the soup along with the fresh mushrooms.
Substitute: If you don’t have dried mushrooms or want to skip this step, this vegan mushroom soup is still great without them. For details, check out the FAQ section below.
Alternatively, if you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, there’s an excellent mushroom broth in Chapter 1 that would make this soup sing even more!
Soy sauce & miso. Mushrooms are already savory superstars, but when you add fermented soy products (e.g., soy sauce and miso), you really supercharge the flavor. Each bite is packed with a rich depth of flavor that’s often missing in plant-based food.
Vegetable broth. Use the best-quality vegetable broth available to you. An excellent store-bought option we love is from the Imagine Organic brand. If you have Better than Bouillon at home, you can use that as well (use a pinch less of salt).
Cashews. Blended and soaked raw cashews bring a velvety, bisque-like texture and make it feel more substantial than a side dish soup. No need to soak the cashews either!
Substitute: Allergic? Check out the FAQ section below.
Fresh herbs. Fresh thyme and rosemary add a lovely woodsy depth of flavor here.
Substitute: You can sub sage for either herb. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, use a teaspoon each of the dried herbs, but it won’t have the same flavor.
Tip: Near the holidays, many grocery stores sell packages of “poultry herbs,” which combine rosemary and thyme with sage or marjoram, so you don’t have to buy all the herbs separately.
If using homemade mushroom stock, cover the dried mushrooms with room temperature water. Weight to submerge and soak for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve, keeping the stock. Wash the rehydrated mushrooms well and slice.
For fresh mushrooms, slice them (e.g., cremini or shiitake) or tear them into pieces with your hands (e.g., oyster or maitake mushrooms).
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the diced onions and cook until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Now add the vegan butter. Once melted, add the sliced/torn mushrooms (and rehydrated mushrooms, if using).
Cook for about 5 minutes, or until shrooms are softened. Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits, simmering until the smell of alcohol has dissipated.
Pour in the vegetable broth and homemade mushroom stock (if using; don’t pour in the last tablespoon, as it’s sediment heavy). Add the bundle of herbs and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
Scoop out 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup and transfer it to a stand blender. Add the cashews, soy sauce, and miso, and blend until the soup is creamy and smooth. Pour this blended soup into the remaining soup in the pot.
Stir well and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the flavors have developed and soup has thickened a bit.
Tips for making this recipe
Use a variety of mushrooms.
This adds variation in texture as well as flavor (e.g., shiitakes are umami-rich and meaty, oyster mushrooms are more delicate, maitake mushrooms taste subtly like chicken).
And if chanterelle mushrooms are in season, if you can spring for a couple of those, they’re outrageously buttery and delicious (beware: they are pricy though).
If needed, soak the cashews briefly.
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak the cashews while you prep everything else. Just add them to a saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes.
This ensures the cashews get fully pulverized when blended and you don’t end up with cashew bits in your soup.
If using dried mushrooms, get rid of the grit.
Please follow these steps so your soup is smooth and grit-free!
1) After soaking the dried mushrooms, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any larger dirt particles.
2) To wash the rehydrated shrooms, add them to a bowl, cover with fresh water, and agitate them to release any dirt. Repeat a few times.
3) Finally, when adding mushroom stock to the soup, don’t pour in the last tablespoon, as it’s usually sediment-heavy.
Adjust the texture to your taste.
This soup is definitely on the creamy side, and thickens as it rests. If you want a thinner soup, add a bit more broth. When reheating leftovers, if desired, add a splash or two of vegetable broth or water to loosen.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, you can omit them and the soup will still be great, but make a few changes.
1) You won’t have any homemade mushroom stock, so use 4 cups (960 mL) vegetable broth instead of 3 cups (720 mL).
2) To compensate for the loss of flavor from the mushroom stock, I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder when you add the vegetable broth (affiliate link). It adds great savory depth of flavor to all kinds of soups, stews, and lentil dishes.
I haven’t tried this product, but a few of my readers have used Trader Joe’s multipurpose umami seasoning as a substitute for porcini mushroom powder in other recipes.
3) If you want to add extra mushrooms (since you’re not adding the rehydrated mushrooms), use 20 ounces (570g) of fresh mushrooms instead of 16 ounces. But this is totally optional.
Yes! Just be sure to use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce instead of standard soy sauce, which is fermented with wheat.
Replace the wine with 1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable broth + 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar, or just skip this deglazing step.
You may want to finish the soup at the end with a squeeze of lemon juice or one of the above vinegars to brighten the soup.
If you’re okay using coconut milk, try 1 cup (120 mL) of “lite” coconut milk.
We did try a mixture of 1 cup ( cannellini beans and 1/2 cup (120 mL) creamy unsweetened plant-based milk. This worked decently, but it was less creamy and less magical in flavors and more bean-forward.
You could also try adding a boiled Russet potato.
After the soup simmers covered for 15 minutes, transfer 1/2 to 2/3 of the soup to a large bowl and set aside. Now use an immersion blender and blend the remaining soup in the pot until creamy. Pour the reserved unblended soup back in and stir to combine.
Personally, I eat it like a main dish, but always with a slice or two of good-quality toasted bread (a creamy soup loves a bread dipper!). I like serving a simple green salad on the side for good measure.
If you want to add some protein, a great pairing would be some cooked white beans, lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper.
This is also a great soup to serve as a side dish for holiday dinners, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or any kind of dinner party.
If you’re looking for a gourmet soup and salad pairing, either this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad or this Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad would be good!
Store cooled leftovers in the fridge for 5 to 6 days. You can freeze this soup, though the texture will be slightly different.
I like to freeze the soup in single-serve Souper Cubes (affiliate link) so they defrost very quickly.
If you love this Vegan Mushroom Soup as much as we do, please rate and review the recipe with your feedback below! It’s always very much appreciated :)
- 1 oz (28g) dried porcini mushrooms or other dried mushrooms (optional)*
- 16 ounces fresh mushrooms, ideally a variety, such as cremini, shiitake, oyster and/or maitake**
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (or more olive oil)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup (120 mL) dry white wine***
- Bouquet garni: 1 large sprig of rosemary, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 2 bay leaves****
- 3 cups (720 mL) good-quality vegetable broth (4 cups if not using homemade mushroom stock)
- ½ cup (70g) raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste (or red miso for a more robust taste)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (use tamari for GF)
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 small handful of fresh chives and/or parsley, chopped
- Optional – make mushroom stock: Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 1 ½ cups (360 mL) room temperature water. Place a smaller bowl or something heavy on top to ensure they stay submerged. Soak for 30 minutes, or until softened.
- Scoop out the mushrooms. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to catch any sediment, reserving the stock.Add the rehydrated mushrooms to a bowl of water and agitate with your hands. Drain the water and repeat a few times until the sediment is gone. This ensures the grit won’t make it into the soup. Slice mushrooms and set aside.
- For fresh mushrooms like cremini and shiitake, slice them (remove shiitake stems). For oyster or maitake mushrooms, tear them into strips with your hands, discarding any tough ends.
- Heat a Dutch oven or soup pout with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt, and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the butter to the pan, and once melted, add the fresh mushrooms and rehydrated dried mushrooms, if using. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and pepper at the end.
- Pour in the white wine and use it to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the smell of alcohol has dissipated and some of the liquid has bubbled off.
- If using, pour in the mushroom stock but reserve the last tablespoon or so, as it’s usually sediment-heavy. Add the vegetable broth too (use 4 cups if not using mushroom stock). Add the bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Scoop out ⅓ to ½ of the soup (about 2 ½ cups or 550 to 600g), including some mushrooms but not the bouquet garni. Transfer this to a blender and add the cashews, miso and soy sauce. Start slowly then move to high speed and blend until smooth.
- Stir the blended soup back into the remaining soup in the pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the flavors have developed and the soup has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper. If you want a slight pop of acidity, add the Dijon mustard. Remove the bouquet garni.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls. Top each with a tiny drizzle of good-quality olive oil, if a little extra richness is desired, and garnish with a small handful of chopped parsley/chives.
Recipe: Nisha Vora / Rainbow Plant Life | Photography: Megan Morello