Creamy protein-packed mushroom soup

Creamy protein-packed mushroom soup

I have a confession: I’m not a soup person. I like textures. Snap, crackle, crunch, pop, those sounds and feelings just add to my own eating experience. However, I’ve been traveling a lot for the past two months, some of those places were tropical, and I ate a lot of rich foods. Now that I’m back in New York City, trying to stay warm during this frigid winter and also trying to eat healthier. And I’ve been craving a comforting bowl of soup that’s simple, healthy, and nourishing.

Thus, I present to you my creamy, protein-packed mushroom soup. 

This is probably one of my favorite soups to make because it has a lot of layered flavors, it’s packed with fiber, but it also has protein, which keeps you satiated and happy. If Campbell’s canned mushroom soup has scarred you from ever wanting mushroom soup, then I highly recommend you try this recipe. It will convert you into a mushroom soup-loving fiend, and you might start cooking it up every winter like I do. 

Garnished mushroom soup with herbs and cream

What’s in the soup?

Mushrooms: I use a variety of mushrooms for this soup. The recipe is pretty forgiving. I recommend for your soup base using baby bella mushrooms, otherwise known as cremini mushrooms. You can also use portobellos, but I find that baby bella mushrooms are a bit cheaper and more delicate in flavor and texture. You can also use white button mushrooms, but I love the color the baby bella mushrooms and portobellos give to the soup. In the end, all three mushrooms, white button mushrooms, baby bella mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms are the same species of mushrooms, they just appear different because they are harvested at different times during their growth cycle. Additionally, they have different flavors. The white button mushrooms are young and have a mild flavor. Baby bella mushrooms are a bit older, darker in color, firmer in texture than white button mushrooms, and have a deeper earthy flavor. Portobello mushrooms are fully matured and have a much firmer texture – that’s why they are used a lot in grilling – and have a strong mushroom flavor. I also use a combination of oyster, shiitake, porcini, and enoki mushrooms that I roast and crisp up in the oven to top off the soup for more added flavor and texture. 

Modified mirepoix: The base of this couple gets a layer of flavor from caramelized celery, carrots, and onions, also known in French as mirepoix. Traditionally mirepoix has a ratio that's 2 parts onion to 1 part celery and carrot. However, I wanted to add more fiber to my dish, so I added 4 stalks of celery, two medium carrots for sweetness, and one large onion – it’s sort of the inverse of a mirepoix

Herbaceous flavors: To enhance the woodsy flavors of the mushrooms, I add thyme, oregano, and rosemary to the soup base. You can use fresh or dry here, it doesn’t matter. I also added a bay leaf at the end for steeping. I reserve some fresh parsley for garnishing. To add a little heat, I add 5 cloves of garlic to the soup base as well as a lot of freshly ground black pepper, and I garnish the soup with some red pepper flakes.  

Umami: The soup gets a lot of flavor from the veggies and herbs, but to give it a really rich depth of flavor, I also add a bouillon cube and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. You obviously flavor it with salt, but if you want, you can add in soy sauce too, dealers choice. Dijon also helps add more flavor to this dish, along with a nice tang -- it's subtle.

Brightness: We have a lot of earthy flavors in this soup, so we have to brighten it up with lemon juice and lemon zest. The acid helps cut through the woodsy tones of the soup and gives it a well-rounded flavor profile.

Protein: The soup gets its protein from a block of firm tofu that I blend up with the caramelized veggies. It makes the soup creamy and gives it body. I also use chicken stock for cooking liquid and added protein. If you want to keep this vegan, you can use vegetable stock and it will taste just fine, sans the added protein that comes from animal stock. 

What’s the history behind mushroom soup?

Mushroom soup has been around for a hot minute. It gets its roots from cooking sauces and has evolved thanks to our advancements in technology – I’m not joking. Although there isn’t a so-called inventor of mushroom soup, it has been a staple in many diets around the world. 

It’s believed that the creamy mushroom soup we love today can trace its roots to creamy white sauces that were created in Europe like the French Béchamel and the Italian Salsa colla. These sauces, made with roux (butter and flour cooked together) and milk, provided the smooth, rich base that would later embrace the earthy flavors of mushrooms. But it’s also important to note that countries and cultures around the world also embraced mushroom soup recipes. For example, there’s a popular Polish-Jewish mushroom barley soup recipe and also Asian-inspired miso mushroom soup.

During Medieval times, mushroom soups were more like mushroom broths, I know, it doesn’t have a tasty ring to it. In the early 10th century, this mushroom broth was likely created by boiling mushrooms in water and herbs. 

Thankfully, the mushroom soup evolved. By the 17th century, French culinary refinement enhanced the humble mushroom broth into a tasty soup. This likely happened as Béchamel sauce was flavored with mushrooms.  

Our canning technology in the late 19th century helped Campbell Soup Company create a variety of soups for the American consumer. In 1897, John Dorrance invented a revolutionary process for creating condensed soup. This innovation made it possible to preserve soups for longer periods, making them readily available to a wider audience.

In 1934, Campbell's unveiled their iconic "Cream of Mushroom Soup." This creamy, condensed mushroom soup was convenient to make and enjoyed by many. Thus, it became a classic American pantry item. 

My recipe is a modern and healthy take on creamy mushroom soup. It’s packed with flavor, vegetables, and protein. And I think once you make this, you won’t want mushroom soup from a can ever again. 

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Yes, this recipe is very easy to make vegan. You need to make three swaps. Swap 1: Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. Swap 2: Replace the bouillon cube with a vegan option or miso. Swap 3: Instead of heavy cream, use coconut cream.  

Recipe: Creamy protein-packed mushroom soup

Overhead view of creamy mushroom soup


Soup base

  • 24 ounces of cremini mushrooms (baby bella mushrooms) for the soup base
  • 2 medium-sized carrots 
  • 4 stalks of celery 
  • 1 large onion (yellow or purple is fine) 
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme 
  • ½ teaspoon of rosemary 
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano 
  • ½ tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper 
  • 14 ounces of firm tofu 
  • 32 ounces of chicken or vegetable stock 
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard 
  • Juice from 1 lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest 
  • Bouillon cube (you can use chicken or vegan options. You can also substitute with a tablespoon of miso) 
  • Salt to taste 


  • 8 ounces of mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, porcini, and enoki mushrooms) for roasting and garnish
  • ½ tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or coconut cream (optional) 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Clean your mushrooms by wiping them down with a damp cloth. 

Baby bella mushrooms
For the mushrooms you will use as a garnish, once cleaned, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they are spread apart so none of the mushrooms are touching.

Mixed mushroom variety on baking sheet

Then spray the mushrooms down or coat them in a neutral oil with a high cooking temperature. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the mushrooms become crispy.

 Crispy mushrooms oven roasted

After they are crisp, take them out of the oven, toss with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool. 

Crispy mushroom close up

Roughly chop your carrots, celery, and onions and put them into a pre-heated heavy bottom pot (like a Dutch oven) on medium heat with some oil and let them caramelize slowly as they cook.

roughly chopped vegetables carrots celery and onions

Roughly chop up your 24 ounces of cremini mushrooms (baby bella mushrooms).

 Mushrooms rough chopped

Add your mushrooms to the pot once the other vegetables have become caramelized and soft.

Caramelized vegetables cooking in pot

Don’t add any water during this time, the mushrooms will release water as they cook and that will help lift the fond that formed at the bottom of your pan while you were cooking your modified mirepoix. 

Mushrooms cooking in pot
As the vegetables cook, gently smash your garlic cloves so that the cloves are slightly separated, this will help release some of their flavor. 

Garlic herbs and lemon zest in a bowl

Once the mushrooms have softened and their juices have released into the pan, add in your garlic and herbs (rosemary, thyme, and oregano) toss everything, and let everything in the pan cook for about 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. You want the garlic to become soft. Add in your lemon zest and lemon juice and cut the heat. 

Mushrooms cooked in pot with vegetables
After the sauteed vegetables have cooled down. Add them to a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. In the blender, add half your stock, the full block of tofu (drained of its juices), bouillon cube (or miso), mustard, and fresh ground pepper.

Tofu in a blender with mushrooms and vegetables

Then blend on high speed. 

Mushrooms and vegetables blended together


Once fully blended, the soup base will look creamy and thick. 

Creamy soup base inside of blender

And the mixture back into the pot you were using before, you don’t have to clean it, and set the temperature on medium-low heat. Slowly add in the rest of your stock and stir until fully combined. Add in your bay leaf and let the soup heat up.

After you’ve reached your desired soup temperature, taste your soup for salt. Add salt to your soup based on your preference. 

Mushroom soup base added to pot with remaining stock 

Now it’s time to plate the soup up. Ladle your soup into a bowl, and top it with a little bit of cream (optional). I like to make swirls so it looks fancy. Then I add the crispy mushroom bits on top of the soup, parsley, red pepper flakes, and a little more black pepper. 

Mushroom soup side view with garnish and cream

Serve this up as is or pair it with some toasted bread and a nice garden salad. Enjoy. 

Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think by adding your comment below! 

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