This vegan mushroom soup is delightfully creamy and hearty, featuring loads of veggies and hearty whole grains!

Vegan mushroom soup

Here’s a soup that’s ultra cozy and deliciously hearty: Vegan Mushroom Soup! You won’t believe how creamy this is…without the use of dairy! Just like our fan favorite Wild Rice Soup, we’ve harnessed the magic of cashews to make a delightfully creamy base. Add to that spices, lots of veggies and whole grains, and it’s the perfect canvas to highlight deliciously savory mushrooms. Ready to get cooking?

Tricks to the best vegan mushroom soup

This vegan mushroom soup is modeled after our fan favorite Wild Rice Soup: but it’s even quicker to make! Both soups use the same trick: soaked cashews. Soaking and blending these powerhouse nuts makes them into a delightfully creamy sauce that works just like dairy (try our Cashew Cream). Here you can blend them right into a soup for a rich, creamy body. Here’s what to know:

  • Soak the cashews while you make the soup. You don’t have to think ahead at all! The time to make the soup is just enough…unless you don’t have a great blender.
  • A powerful blender is helpful. We have a high speed blender and it works magic with cashews. If you don’t have a good blender, you may want to soak your cashews overnight to make sure they’re soft enough to blend.
  • Make the soup, then blend the cashews with 2 cups of it. Yep that’s right: take the veggies, broth and everything in your pot! Blend it with the cashews and it becomes beautifully creamy…like magic!
Vegan mushroom soup

Make sure to find pearled barley, not hulled!

Here’s a tip for when you make this vegan mushroom soup: look for pearled barley at the store, not hulled barley. Many packages don’t actually have this marked: so how can you tell the difference? And what’s the difference, anyway?

  • Hulled barley has just the hull removed. It’s darker in color than pearled barley and has a chewier texture when cooked. It takes about 50 to 55 minutes to cook hulled barley.
  • Pearled barley is lighter in color; it has the outer husk and bran layer removed. This makes it much quicker to cook, though it loses some of the nutritional value of those components. It takes 15 to 30 minutes to cook pearled barley, depending on the brand.
  • Bottom line: Essentially, the difference between pearled barley vs hulled barley is like white rice vs brown rice.
  • How to tell if the package doesn’t indicate? Review the color: pearled is light and hulled is medium brown. Then check the cooking instructions on the back: the cook time should indicate which type it is.

Or, you can use farro!

If you prefer, you can use farro instead! Farro is an ancient whole grain with a chewy texture very similar to barley. It cooks quicker than hulled barley, making it a favorite in our household. It’s also not gluten free because it’s made from wheat. But it’s very delicious and one of our favorite whole grains to cook.

Other ways to use farro? Make Farro with Herbs, Farro with Mushrooms & Parmesan, Instant Pot Farro or Farro & Brussels Sprouts Soup.

Vegan mushroom soup

Gluten free grains in vegan mushroom soup

Want to make this vegan mushroom soup into a gluten-free soup as well? The grains in this soup are not gluten free, but it’s easy to make with the following options:

  • White rice: Substitute it for the barley and cook until tender, about 15 minutes
  • Brown rice: Cook it in advance! It will soak up too much liquid to cook in the soup. Add it in Step 4 below and simmer 15 minutes.

Are there any substitutes for cashews?

Got a nut allergy? Unfortunately cashews are really magical when it comes to making a creamy body in vegan soups. We don’t have any great substitutes here (unless you want to try dairy!). However, one option to consider is canned white beans. There’s no need to soak: just substitute them in for the nuts in the final blending step. It won’t have nearly the richness and sweetness of the cashews, but beans do have thickening power.

Mushroom soup

What to serve with vegan mushroom soup

Want to make this vegan soup into a full meal? Throw together one of these vegan side dishes while the meal cooks:

This vegan mushroom soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use white or brown rice.

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Vegan mushroom soup

Vegan Mushroom Soup


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan mushroom soup is delightfully creamy and hearty, featuring loads of veggies and hearty whole grains


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¾ cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 pound mushrooms: cremini* (aka baby bella) or a mix of baby bella and shiitake
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry pearled barley or farro (make sure it is pearled*), or white rice for gluten free**
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder and dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon each dried oregano and dried dill
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt +¼ teaspoon
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or smoked shoyu), or more salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water. Leave them to soak while you make the recipe.
  2. Dice the onion. Thinly slice the celery. Peel and dice the carrots. Clean the mushrooms and slice them (if you’re using shiitake, make sure to remove the tough stems). Mince the garlic.
  3. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, ¼ teaspoon salt, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, barley, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, dill, kosher salt, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes until the barley or farro is tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Using a liquid cup measure, carefully remove 2 cups of the hot soup (including broth, veggies and barley) to a blender. Drain the cashews and add them to the blender, along with the cornstarch and soy sauce. Blend on high for about 1 minute until creamy. Then pour the creamy mixture back into the soup and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  6. Enjoy warm. Stores refrigerated for 3 days.

Notes

*Pearled barley cooks in about 20 minutes, whereas hulled barley cooks in about 50 to 55 minutes. The hulled barley has just the outer hull removed, whereas pearled also has the outer husk and bran layer removed, similar to the difference between white rice and brown rice. Check the package cook time to determine the difference if the package is not marked. 

**For gluten free, substitute white rice for the barley. You can also substitute brown rice, but cook it separately and add to the soup. In both cases, you can reduce the cook time in Step 4 to about 15 minutes. 

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup

Keywords: Vegan mushroom soup

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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9 Comments

  1. This is SO good! It is rainy here today and this was the perfect dinner for the day. Super creamy and delicious. We made it with white rice and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s leftovers :)

  2. So good! I’m glad I stumbled upon this recipe looking for a way to use up some mushrooms. Everything else I had on hand. Super easy, full of flavor, and even my toddler finished his bowl. Off to check out more of your recipes. Thank you!