a healthier cream of mushroom soup

I’ve been craving some good old fashioned cream of mushroom soup for weeks.

 a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was growing up I had two working parents, so a lot of my afternoons were spent at my grandmother’s house out in the country in upstate New York. We always ate really well (too well, probably) at Grandma’s house, and lunch was always a big deal. Soup and sandwiches was a pretty popular lunch time menu, but I hated tomatoes when I was young so mushroom soup (from a can of course) was how I rolled.

I don’t know what kid likes mushrooms but not tomatoes, but what can I say. I was a weird kid I guess.

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I think of all the gorgeous tomatoes that I missed out on, grown in the bright sunshine of my grandfather’s garden, it makes my heart ache. What was wrong with me? What a sad boring life I led.

One of my great grandmother’s favorite lunches in the summer was a thick-sliced fresh tomato sandwich on white bread with a little mayonnaise and a generous sprinkle of salt. I, however, usually opted for velveeta grilled cheese (baked, not fried) with a bowl of cream of mushroom soup.

Mushroom soup has always felt like a perfect comfort food ever since.

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I recently dug around for recipes to satisfy my mushroom soup cravings, but I was stopped dead in my tracks by how heavy most of them sounded. I’m sure you know by now that I’m not shy about using real butter and cream, but Jeez Louise! One recipe, from my best-friend-in-my-head Ina Garten, called for a whole stick of butter, a cup of half and half, and a cup of heavy cream!

I knew there had to be a way to make a silky, creamy, rich & hearty cream of mushroom soup without using that much dairy and fat, but was having a hard time figuring it out. Then a friend at work reminded me that I already know the perfect secret ingredient!

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Aaaaaaaaawwwwwhhhhh! Look at how that beauty glows! Can you hear the angels singing?

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve already used this trick before, when making corn chowder this summer, and I guess I somehow just forgot about it. When I was whining about how heavy and fattening homemade cream of mushroom soup was, my friend was like, why don’t you just do that roasted cauliflower trick?

Duh!

Roasting cauliflower in the oven, rather than boiling it with the rest of the soup, keeps it from tasting cabbage-y, and once pureed super smooth, it adds an unbelievably silky texture that you’d truly never guess didn’t come from cream thickened with a roux. I don’t even understand how or why this works so well, but it really does.

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wasn’t intending to make a vegetarian or vegan cream of mushroom soup, just a lighter version, so I went ahead and kept the chicken stock and (some of) the butter. I also intended to add in just a bit of milk or cream at the end, but once the roasted cauliflower was pureed in, I realized I didn’t even need to. With that in mind, I now realize that it would be really easy to make this soup vegan if you want to. Just substitute olive oil or coconut oil for the butter, and vegetable (preferably mushroom) stock for the chicken stock. Since cauliflower is the only thickening agent, this soup also happens to be totally gluten free!

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

This soup is just what the doctor ordered. It’s so earthy and rich and… mushroomy. Using three varieties of flavorful mushrooms makes sure that every bit packs a serious punch. White wine adds a luxe floral note, fresh thyme compliments the woodsy earthiness of the mushrooms, and fresh parsley finishes the soup with bright green herbal flavor. While this recipe is healthier than most, I would never call it a “diet” or “light” recipe because it tastes way too good to be “health food”, and because it does still call for a good bit of butter and olive oil.

Thanks to the pureed roasted cauliflower, this soup feels every bit as rich and satisfying as you could hope. Some of the mushrooms are pureed too, but I like to reserve a few so you get some meaty bites of them every so often. You can use an immersion blender or a standing blender to puree the soup, but I will say that a standing blender seems to get the soup just a bit more smooth and silky. I used an immersion blender though, because it works almost as well and just seems safer, easier, and less messy.

a healthier cream of mushroom soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

A Healthier Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
1 small head of cauliflower
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp butter (or coconut or olive oil if desired)
2 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (I used cremini, portabello, & shiitake)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock  (or vegetable or mushroom stock)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F. Roughly chop cauliflower into large florets. Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, roughly chop your mushrooms, removing and discarding any thick woody stems (especially the stems of portabello and shiitake). Heat butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large thick-bottomed pot. Once the butter is sizzling, add the mushrooms and thyme, lightly season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook the mushrooms until they have released most of their liquid. Remove two cups of the cooked mushrooms, letting liquid drain back into pot, and set aside.
Add the onions and the garlic, and cook for about a minute. Add the white wine, chicken stock, and half of the chopped parsley. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the roasted cauliflower.
Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standing blender, purée the soup until completely smooth and silky. Return the pot to the stove, add the reserved cooked mushrooms and remaining chopped fresh parsley. If the soup is too thick, add a bit more stock to thin to the desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and bring back up to a simmer before serving.

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29 comments

    1. A few years ago I made a roasted cauliflower and tomato soup and the idea was to pulse the soup with a blender to make it kind of thick and chunky. I accidentally over did it and pureed it completely.
      I couldn’t believe how thick and silky it got!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. OMGoodness! This looks so good and so deceptively unhealthy. And I am glad to know you have discovered the love of summer tomatoes. already my heart and mouth yearns for that perfect sandwich of your wise grandmother and a favorite of us southerners – tomato, bread, salt, some good mayo…..be still my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So Tux where is the sandwich?! LOL I have a recipe using 3 types of mushrooms (and roasted cauliflower florets) and wild rice, man is it taste worthy. Drooling as I write! Your Florida Friend, Cheryl (https://clwiser.wordpress.com) just in case you want to check my Florida adventures. Like you have the time? That’s only one of 4 web sites I have. I am a glutton for punishment. Go Gators! Cheryl-The Barefoot Contessa is everyone friend Tux yours too!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tux add an oceanfront massive home, pool, screened-in porch loaded with herbs, limes, lemons, oranges, coconuts, bananas to pick and use, gardens and my jungle of houseplants. Cooking, baking, I have 5 children and wonderful hubs, cat Tyler, part-time office at home, loving family of 4 older Brothers, great parents, cool in-laws. Sunrises, sunsets, walking the beach. Phew, that’s a recap. I post daily on all four! In between all the other stuff! I need a cocktail (I do not drink it doesn’t agree with me-never has), sounds good though. LOL Cheryl. yes really…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tux!! I too did NOT like tomatoes but ate mushrooms as a child. My mama and daddy ate tomato sandwiches practically all summer long. They would devour them. Frankly, I couldn’t even stand the way tomatoes smelled. I ate my first fried green tomato around 15-16. Eventually, I was mad that I didn’t like them raw. I loved tomato pudding, ate them any way cooked, but could not eat them raw. I decided I would make myself like them. I stopped picking them off my cheeseburgers and would eat some diced up on salads etc. Over the years I have learned to eat raw tomatoes. Ha!
    I love the way you turned this soup into a very healthy option. I am not sure about cauliflower and haven’t tried it since I was young. I want to try it again. I would love to share this recipe for one of my new blog Meatless Monday postings (if I ever get the new site up).
    Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great idea! I never thought of the cauliflower as a creamy thickening agent. This is a must try! I love mushrooms but steered clear of the soup due to the high fat content. This makes it easy to have. Thanks for posting. I plan to reblog this if you don’t mind?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been lurking here for a while, but this soup turned out so well I had to post. I have to say I was skeptical that the trick with pureed cauliflower could really be as smooth or satisfying as a traditional cream soup, but I made this yesterday and it’s delicious! I had some canned fried onions leftover from Tgiving in the pantry so I used those as a garnish. They added a nice crunch and made for a fun play on the traditional casseroles with canned soup. Great recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chelesey! I’m so glad you tried the soup and loved it! I know it really is hard to believe that cauliflower could actually achieve that level of velvety smooth creaminess, but it totally works!
      Thanks for lurking!

      Like

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