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

Vegan mushroom soup
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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


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 12 reviews

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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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32 Comments

  1. Haley says:

    This soup was amazing!!! I did half of the broth with organic chicken bone broth and the other half with my homemade vegetable broth. I also soaked the cashews in boiling water because I think that softens them better. Lastly I added chopped baby spinach at the end for some green veggies. I will say this soup took an hour, not 30 mins because of the chopping veggies and waiting for farro to cook. Regardless, it was delicious!






  2. Deb Tom says:

    Incredibly good soup!! Easy to make and comforting. My husband loves mushrooms and barley so this was a big hit at our house!






  3. robin says:

    absolutely scrumptious!
    Can you freeze it?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes, it should freeze well.

  4. Carissa W says:

    Just made this for the first time cause I had a bunch of Baby Bellas to use up. I’m not a vegetarian, but DANG this is a delicious soup! Glad I took a chance on it!

    I used the Roasted Vegetable Better Than Bouillon for the broth, and instead of barley I used wheat berries that I’d simmered in a roasted garlic broth to soften beforehand. It all just goes so perfectly together! Definitely a keeper.






  5. Tracy Byrd says:

    I made this for dinner last night and my husband I were blown away at how creamy and delicious this soup is. It’s the best mushroom soup I have ever had. Thank you so much for this recipe. I can’t wait to try your other ones.






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome! Thank you for making.

  6. Cami says:

    Thinking I’ve died and gone to heaven with every spoonful of this soup.
    Substituted potatoes for the starch and it’s so amazingly delicious it will now become a regular in the meal roster.
    The spice blend is on point!
    Instant favorite.
    Thank you 🙏






  7. Sarah says:

    This recipe was great and super tasty! I did use vegetable base and water since I didn’t have any premade broth. Because I used this I didn’t add any of the extra salt and it definitely didn’t need it so would just advise to not add the extra salt if you are using a soup base.






  8. Sharon Harvey says:

    This recipe is outstanding! I am vegan my family is not, however, they cannot stop raving about this mushroom soup and neither can I. My son just asked me for the recipe for a co-worker. My family has rated this as their #1 all time favorite dish even out ranking our annual scalloped corn recipe for the holidays.






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed!

  9. Hamideh Rezaei says:

    I loved this soup. It was just great. I’m definitely going to make it again maybe next week 😉 it’s absolutely one of the best soups I’ve ever had and I’m not even vegan or vegetarian. Thank you so much for this recipe. I used white rice instead of barley.






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome!

  10. Blu Flores says:

    This looks great, but I’m looking for a recipe my dad made years ago that I can’t find anywhere (spinach or sour grass soup) he from the old country and let me tell you he made some strange soups. Duck blood, beef kidneys- the house stunk for days just to name a few. If you can help thanks.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Wow! Sounds interesting, but we haven’t had anything like that. Sorry.

  11. Jennifer H. says:

    Restaurant quality. Outstanding.






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed!

  12. Kay Jay says:

    I love the recipes on your website, but many of them call for cashews. My daughter has nut allergies, and I was wondering what would make a good substitute to use in the soup.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Yes many of our vegan recipes call for cashews! Does your daughter avoid dairy or have an allergy? It’s hard to find another nut that can replicate the creaminess of cashews: the best bet it using actual cream (stir in about 1/2 cup half and half or cream to this recipe) OR try a vegan heavy cream replacement (again 1/2 cup). You could also try that amount of full-fat coconut milk if you don’t mind adding a coconut flavor.

    2. Deb Tom says:

      You can substitute for silken tofu for cashew cream. Just put 14oz in a blender and add 1 cup water (you can add more or less water if you like). I also add 1 or 2 tablespoons corn starch and blend. You don’t need the corn starch but I like it thick. I you can also add things like nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder etc.

  13. Paul says:

    I made this tonight and it came out great. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but it came together really nice. Especially after I blended the two cups of soup and cashews, then added to the pot to simmer! Thanks 🙌🏼






  14. Heather says:

    With the weather getting colder, I was craving a warm, comforting soup for dinner. I searched for a recipe with mushrooms since I had a lot on hand and came upon this recipe. I’m slowly transitioning to a vegan diet and based on the reviews figured I’d give this a try. WOW! I’m so glad I did. This soup has so much flavor and I love that the creaminess comes from cashews vs. dairy. Everyone, except for my son who isn’t a fan of mushrooms, thought it was delicious. Thank you for sharing!






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  15. Catherine says:

    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!






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad to hear that!

  16. Axel says:

    This was splendid! It was so silky and rich. Thank you!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dill weed or dill seed? I always confuse the two!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Dill weed!

  18. KC says:

    Great use of the barley package I found in the pantry. Really delicious and easy!

  19. Eilidh says:

    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 :)

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Glad to hear it! :)

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