Creamy Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
At pretty much every restaurant in Minnesota you will find some version or other of creamy wild rice soup, usually with chicken, and everyone claims that theirs is "famous" and the "best". I tried a few growing up, and I never thought any of them were that great, except for the version that my Mom made, which was pretty good. I recently decided to make a veganized version of wild rice soup at the deli I work in, and it ended up being so good I decided I needed to make it again at home. I wanted a big bowl of it, and I had all of the ingredients. I cooked off some wild rice ahead of time because it takes a while, so this didn't take a super long time to make. Some people complain about the smell of wild rice, but I actually like it. It is an earthy delicious smell. Something that reminds me of special salads and soups when I was little because wild rice is also considered kind of gourmet. Or at least it was when I was little. It is a bit more spendy than regular rice (and is actually not rice at all, it is a grain producing grass), but if you buy it in the bulk section at your health food store (which is what I do), it is cheaper.\
For the protein source in my soup, I used French lentils. They happen to be my favorite, and they are honestly a staple in my kitchen. I admit when I was younger I used to be intimidated by them and I thought that they were inferior to beans, but that was before I went vegan and began to discover what a great source of protein they are and how deliciously savory they are! They go awesome with the wild rice too, since they both have that sort of earthy flavor. I kept the rest of the ingredients pretty simple, mushrooms, celery, onions, garlic and a little bell pepper for color. Thyme was my herb of choice, and actually my favorite cold weather herb. It went beautifully with the wild rice. At the end, I added a bit of coconut milk to make this creamy and crave worthy. You may be thinking, but does it have coconut flavor? Not at all, it just give the soup a silky finish like cream would but of course no dairy here!
The soup was sooo good! It was way better than any of those soups I had as a kid, and I had to share some with my Mom of course, since I had been telling her I was making it and she wanted some too. She is trying to eat less meat lately and more beans and I am proud of her for that! If you are looking for a delicious soup to make for a cool Autumn day, this is a winner. It makes me think of chilly nights warming up by the fireplace in warm sweaters in some Northern Minnesota café.
Creamy Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- 2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
- 2 1/2 cups filtered water
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1/3 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2/3 cup French lentils
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp filtered water
- Place the wild rice in a pot, cover with filtered water by at least 3 inches and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until the rice has "bloomed", about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes depending on your rice. Drain the rice and set aside.
- Combine the 2 1/2 cups filtered water, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, sea salt, thyme, and lentils in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes until the lentils have softened somewhat, then add the bell pepper and continue to cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes more. Add the coconut milk, and arrowroot mixture and cook until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the wild rice, and serve!