I love soup. When the weather is cold I often eat it for breakfast. It’s more satisfying to me than a smoothie and equally as nutritious. Since it’s still quite cold here in New York I made this satisfying Mushroom Spinach Soup with Middle Eastern Spices for lunch. I will probably eat it for breakfast tomorrow too! This recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark, who writes for the NY Times and is one of my favorite cooks and cookbook authors.
The soup has a savory, brothy, rich and meaty taste that comes from the umami taste of mushrooms. Mushrooms are one of the best sources of umami and the darker the mushroom the more umami it contains.
Mushrooms add a depth of flavor to our dishes that is otherwise unattainable, especially in vegetarian food. The umami taste enhances satisfaction.
The recipe calls for a combination of mushrooms to get the most complex flavor. Use which ever mushroom are available. I use cremini, shitake and “hen of the woods” also known as maitake. Cook the mushrooms until they are dark, golden brown to bring out their full umami flavor. I like ghee or butter since the mushrooms are cooked on medium heat. If you use olive oil keep the temperature lower so the oil doesn’t oxidize.
You don’t need stock to make this soup tasty. Water is fine, which makes it simple. The mushrooms are easily chopped. Since we are gently blending the soup, they don’t have to be in perfect slices.
Here is a kitchen tip: Buy tomato paste in a tube. It lasts for months in the refrigerator.
The soup, in a nutshell, is a delicious, easy to make fresh meal, full of awesome flavors, that will liven up your soup routine.
This is a hearty soup filled with chunky bits of browned mushrooms and silky baby spinach.
- 6 tablespoons ghee, grass fed butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, chanterelles and shiitake), chopped, ( 8 cups)
- ½ pound shallots, finely diced (2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- Heat 3 tablespoons ghee, butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add half the mushrooms and half the shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with remaining ghee, mushrooms and shallots.
- Return all mushrooms to the pot and stir in tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in 5 cups water, the salt and the black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for 20 minutes.
- Stir in baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender or food processor, coarsely purée soup. Thin with water, as needed.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, add more salt if necessary.
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan,
Please let me know if you like mushrooms? Do you think you will make this soup. I always love hearing from you.