I love the fall. Just when I start to feel in a rut with summertime cooking, the shift in the season sparks my creativity. I’m refreshed with a new arsenal of produce – like roots, squashes, and dark leafy greens – and switch from creating light, energizing meals to those that are warming and grounding. Specifically — I start making a lot more soups.
Soups not only satisfy our cool weather craving for comforting foods, but they also keep really well, and last for a few meals. I find prepping vegetables for soup to be really meditative and love the sensory experience of sounds, smells, and tastes that come from a big pot simmering on the stovetop.
This creamy mushroom + quinoa soup was my inventive take on a classic mushroom barley soup. It’s a literal “dump everything in the pot” recipe. It may seem at first that there isn’t enough liquid, but after salting and simmering the mushrooms, they’ll release a lot of liquid and in turn, make a really flavorful mushroom broth. You do have to prepare the quinoa separately, but if you plan ahead, you can make good use of leftovers!
The cashew cream could be optional – but it lends a subtle, nutty creaminess and helps thicken the broth a bit.
Creamy mushroom + quinoa soup with spinach
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, leaves removed from woody stems
4 carrots, peeled and cut into small rounds
16 ounces sliced mushrooms (button or cremini)
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cooked quinoa
5 ounces baby spinach
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
for cashew cream
1 cup cashews, soaked in water
¾ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
Add stock, thyme, carrots, mushrooms, and salt to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.
Meanwhile, blend cashews with water, lemon and salt.
When soup is finished, remove from heat, stir in cashew cream and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add parsley and chives for garnish.