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This month, Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang is hosting Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free. Her theme is scary foods, or foods we’re reluctant to eat because they seem weird, strange or just plain creepy. Naomi, author of the blog Straight Into Bed Cakefree, is the creative genius-ette behind GAHIGF and if you check here, you’ll see she has an exciting list of themes and hosts scheduled all the way out to June of 2011. It’s beyond my comprehension to be that organized, but those of us who enjoy all these unique flavors and creative recipes are thrilled that Naomi keeps this party going in such grand style.

Although there are lots of foods that I find scary for health reasons, I know Diane didn’t mean nasty, processed foods full of chemicals, additives and dyes, so I had to dig deep to figure out a weird food that I’d actually buy, create a recipe for and eat.

Believe it or not, mushrooms hit my “creepy food” button. I use them occasionally, but usually in a puréed form. They add a wonderful earthy taste to soups and stews, but eating them in their slimy, cooked-but-not-puréed form weirds me out. The texture is way too booger-ish.

Having said that, here’s what I like about them (other than the earthy flavor they impart). Mushrooms have been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) for centuries for everything from immune support to anti-aging, so they’re high on the list of well-studied medicinal foods. They’re considered an adaptogen in alternative healing circles and while I doubt they’re the cure-all many tout them to be, they truly are packed with health-enhancing nutrients. Plus, they’re low in calories, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

I usually sauté mushrooms in coconut oil and blend them with vegetable broth in my VitaMix. That way I can add them to recipes and get all the benefits and none of the icky texture. I realize most people aren’t bothered by the slimy feel of mushrooms, but I’m not one of them. So, puréeing is a good way to reap the benefits and circumvent my gag reflex.

For this recipe, I used a mix of organic shiitake, shimeiji, abalone and field mushrooms from Woodstock Farms. I didn’t sauté them first, I just tossed them into my soup blend.

mixed mushroom and veggie soup
what you need

6 cups vegetable broth (I often make my own, but this time I used Pacific organic vegetable broth)
2 cups filtered water
1 onion, diced
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 carrots, chopped
4 to 6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
4 tomatoes, quartered and roasted
1 and 1/2 cup mixed mushrooms
oil (some for sautéing the veggies, some for coating the tomatoes)
seasonings (I used Simply Organic all-purpose seasonings)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

what you do
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and quarter tomatoes. Place in bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss gently. Place skin side down on a cookie sheet and place in oven for about 30 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat a glug of the oil in a heavy soup pan. Add the onions and cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, celery and carrots and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
3. Add the vegetable broth and simmer on low for about two hours.
4. Place the tomatoes (be careful blending if they’re still hot) and the filtered water in a blender and blend well. Pour into the soup mix.
5. Once the veggies are cooked, but still slightly crunchy, add the mushrooms and cook for another hour or so.
6. Add seasonings (an herb blend) and salt and pepper. Simmer for a few more minutes. Serve with gluten-free corn bread.

Peace, joy and mushroom love.
Melissa

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18 Responses to “mixed mushroom and veggie soup”

  1. You are so smart. I love the flavor of mushrooms, but the texture, especially of some of the funkier mushrooms, does trip my gag reflex. What a great way to get the benefits and flavor without the creepy texture.

    • Melissa says:

      Wendy,

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one who responds this way to funky, slimy mushrooms! I’m trying to get over that, but blitzing them up in my VitaMix has been my way of using them. I’m definitely trying Lo’s idea of roasting them to add a carmelized finish. That might take away the sliminess factor. I’ll keep you posted since we’re on the same page with this. :-)

      Hope you’re feeling better!

  2. Very, very nice, Melissa. :-) I have to admit that I immediately thought to myself, whatever is Melissa afraid of … knowing that you embrace so many foods. Mushrooms have been on my “learn to love” list and truth be told, I’m very similar to you on some of them. Shiitakes, for example. Just a little too slimy for my taste. I will try your recipe eventually though because Mr. GFE is a mushroom fanatic and, as I said I’m being slowly converted. ;-)

    Peace, love, and happy Friday!
    Shirley

    • Melissa says:

      Shirley,

      As I said to Wendy, I’m glad I’m not the only one with this “phobia.” You’re right, shiitake mushrooms are especially gooey, but they really do add flavor (and unique health properties) to a dish. I think I mentioned that Carol Fenster has a mixed mushroom (shiitakes are part of it) risotto recipe for her upcoming vegetarian cookbook that I did testing on and it was full of wonderful mushroom flavor, but I didn’t notice the sliminess factor because of the creaminess of the risotto. It was a great use of mushrooms. Mr. GFE will like that one as well. Thanks for the comment, Shirley. You always add a nice flair to the comment section!

      xo

  3. lo says:

    NO. Way. I can’t believe you’re a fungo-phobe! Kudos, though, for facing the creepy-factor head on! I’d venture a guess that mushrooms are almost slimier in soup than in other applications… aren’t they?

    I wouldn’t really know, since I’m a total ‘shroom fan. I eat the creepy little suckers by the gobs… of course, one of my favorite ways to eat them is to roast them in the oven. You might like them that way, since they caramelize and dry out a bit (but the beautiful earthy flavor is intensified). Good eating, as always, Melissa!

    • Melissa says:

      Lo,

      Yes. Way. I’m still not totally sold on them in their natural form, but they really do add depth to certain recipes. I adore you for your witty conversation — fungo-phobe! Good one! I’ll be using that in the future. :-)

  4. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Have you tried cutting chestnut (or something similar) mushrooms into small cubes and frying them in butter or oil in an open pan until they are almost crisy and dark golden brown? It brings out the flavour really well and changes their texture. Certain people in my household have the habit of adding water which just steams them and creates a bland taste and the slimy quality you mention. Wonder whether people grind the dried varieties onto dishes?

    I like to add a teaspoon of white truffle oil to a mushroom soup too.

    Cid

    • Melissa says:

      Cid,

      What a great idea. No, I haven’t tried that, but it sounds wonderful and much better than the “steaming” version I usually resort to. I’ve also never tried white truffle oil. Or any truffle oil for that matter. I need to break out of my basic form of cooking. I’ll start with the butter fried mushroom cubes. That does sound good and I thank you for the inspiration.

      Hope all is well with you. I’ve been way too busy lately, but when things slow down, lets meet for a cocktail and a fancy dessert at Table #5 (Miles can do gluten-free with no problem, I’m sure of that).
      :-)

  5. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Let’s have that cocktail, we absolutely deserve it…. perhaps we should warn Miles first so he can run through a virtual gathering at table #5 on line, the rehearsal will keep him sharp… we don’t want any sloppy customer service :)

    Cid

    • Melissa says:

      Cid (sorry for the slow response, I’ve been out of town),

      Yes, we do deserve it, don’t we? I hear Miles has taken a few days off recently. What do you think — was it in preparation for our arrival? You know, planning the gluten-free menu, the fine table settings, the seating arrangement, the sublime dessert and the fine wine.

      Looking forward to it. I’ll stay alert for low flights across the pond.
      :-)
      Melissa

  6. Alta says:

    This sounds so nourishing and delicious. Perfect after a few days of overindulgence.

    • Melissa says:

      As I mentioned to Cid, I’ve been out of town, so I feel a bit of overindulgence this morning. No Halloween candy for me, but eating out always does a job on me. You’re so right Alta, this soup is perfectly nourishing!

  7. I LOVE mushroom soup. So easy, so delicious and also so wonderfully medicinal for this time of year. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Meghan,

      Thanks for the comment and you’re so right, mushrooms are wonderfully medicinal and perfect for this time of the year. And, thank you for the reminder. Cold and flu season is right around the corner, we should power up with healing foods.

      Melissa

  8. YUM! Mushrooms … Love ‘em. I would slurp up a whole pot of this soup.

    xo
    Lexie

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Lexie,

      I like the earthy flavor and the medicinal benefits, I’m just not fond of the slithery texture. =) Hope all is well in your world. Would be so nice to get together. Maybe some day in Ft. Collins. Lunch?

      Melissa
      xo

  9. Kay says:

    Hi Melissa! I finally pryed myself away from facebook long enough to visit your actual blog.

    Dr. Andrew Weil was on Dr. Oz yesterday, singing the praises of Asian mushrooms. So I went right to the grocery and bought some enoki and oyster mushrooms. That was their entire “exotic” mushroom selection. I made a quick stir fry with carrots, onions and peapods from my garden and a little leftover steak. I’ve been off rice for a couple of years, but I decided to test drive some wild rice. Happy to report no adverse reactions. Yahooey! A new food!

    “Soup weather” has just hit Indy, so your post is right on time. I like mushrooms and tomatoes together, so your soup sounds really good. I have several baskets of tomatoes (mostly green ones) ripening by the back door.

    I finally pickled my beets. Stained my clothes, my floor and my counters. Ha! And I even made some pickled eggs for a friend who has been begging me to for years. They’re a hit!

    Thanks for keeping up your great blog!

    Kay

    • Melissa says:

      Kay,

      I love you! Great comment and coming from earth woman herself, it means a lot to me. You continually inspire me and someday I’m going to have my own chickens and worms and all that good stuff. I wish you were my neighbor, we could share our knowledge and stain our counters together. I’m okay with the mushrooms, but the texture kind of weirds me out. Your stir fry, however, sounds wonderful. I’ll try that soon. I did a post on the medicinal aspects of mushrooms years ago. I should figure where that is and re-run it now that cold and flu season is upon us.

      Thanks, my farm-girl friend. I appreciate your input.

      xo

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