Cold nights call for hot, comforting soups.
Chef, author and TV host Carla Hall developed a vegan creamy mushroom soup that's perfect as a weeknight meal or a holiday-party course.
"You can use the soup as a gravy, you can use it also as a soup before the meal you can do little shooters as little appetizers," Hall says.
Mushroom soup is easy, healthy and inexpensive. Mushrooms have the benefit of being low-fat, low-sodium and low-calories. They're packed with fiber, vitamins, important minerals like Selenium and antioxidants.
The new recipe is available in “Comfort Kitchen: A Dairy-Free & Plant-Based Recipe Collection” which features 16 new recipes from Hall along with tips for plant-based cooking, published in partnership with Califia Farms.
Califia Farms and Hall shared the recipe with USA TODAY.
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Carla Hall's Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 pound cremini mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and quartered
2 tablespoons dairy-free unsalted butter
3 large shallots, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (reserve 1 sprig for garnish)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ cup Califia Farms Heavy Whip
1 cup Shiitake “Bacon” (see recipe below)
Heat a deep 10” or 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the dry pan and cook for 1-2 minutes to allow them to brown, evaporating any moisture as it releases from the mushrooms. Lower the heat to medium and add the dairy-free butter, shallots and garlic.
Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt, and then pour the sherry over the shallots and mushrooms, stirring occasionally while the liquid steams and evaporates.
Pour the Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add 2 sprigs of thyme, reduce heat to medium low, and allow to simmer gently until the vegetables are very tender. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the sprigs of thyme, and stir in the remaining salt and pepper. Allow to cool for about ten minutes.
When the braised vegetables and liquid have cooled slightly, pour them into a blender and add the Califia Farms Heavy Whip (this can be done in batches). Purée until smooth and adjust to taste with salt and pepper as needed; if the soup is too thick, add more of the Califia Farms Oat Barista Blend, 1/4 cup at a time, until it reaches a thinner consistency.
Return the puréed soup to a medium saucepan and reheat, then serve garnished with Shiitake “Bacon” and fresh thyme leaves.
For the Shiitake “Bacon”:
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms caps (stems removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Spray vegetable or olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Slice the shiitake mushroom caps thinly, then toss with the olive oil and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
Use a nonstick sheet pan or line a regular sheet pan with parchment paper.
Spray the pan lightly with vegetable or olive oil, then spread the sliced shiitake mushrooms on top. Spray the tops of the mushrooms very lightly with oil, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until the slices become browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carla Hall's vegan creamy mushroom soup: Get the recipe