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Jan 30, 2008 07:37 AM

Mushroom soup with no cream - looking for the best recipe

It's cold cold cold today in Minnesota, and I want soup. I'm thinking of a thick, rich mushroom soup. But I don't want it to be loaded with cream or high-fat dairy. Does anyone have a great recipe?


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    I made this one for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. It does call for half a cup of cream, but it was so good, you could really omit it, and cut down on the butter/substitute some olive oil.

    1. If you do not want to use cream, bechamel or a white sauce made with flour, butter and milk, the only other solution I can think of is to incorporate pureed white rice to give it body. I usually use either beef stock or chicken stock in my soup.....vegetable stock does not pack enough punch for my tastes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fourunder

        I do that per a JC recipe - white rice and onions as the base.

      2. Land of Lakes makes an excellent fat free half & half that is low in calories and full of taste.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Diane in Bexley

          It's not the calories I'm avoiding, it's the dairy. My darling hubby is lactose intolerant and wouldn't eat a dairy-based soup - yeah, he has Lactaid pills, but still avoids dairy when he can. And besides, fat-free half & half tastes really bad to me (even Cooks Illustrated/Best Recipe Light says to avoid it) and I don't like the ingredients in the stuff.

          The pureed white rice is an idea I should try someday, but are there any recipes that don't call for cream in the first place?


          1. re: AnneInMpls

            The usual mushroom soup is based on a bechamel (white sauce, cream sauce) - flour, butter, and milk. But you can use any flavored liquid instead of the milk. Made with a light stock (e.g. chicken) it is called sauce veloute, with a dark beef stock, brown sauce or espagnole. You can turn any of these into a mushroom sauce, and if thinned enough, a mushroom soup. Obviously they won't the the white soup you get out of the can, though isn't there a 'hearty' or 'golden' canned mushroom soup?

            Also if you use dark colored mushrooms, the soup is going to be dark what ever base you use. This is especially true with large portabelos.

            Creamed soups can also be made using pureed cooked vegetables. Common examples are carrot, potato, and pumpkin. But I'm not sure if any of these would go well with mushrooms, or if you could make a decent mushroom puree. However the taste of pureed vegetable soup is often improved with a finishing touch of cream (or butter).

            A soup doesn't have to be creamy either. Consider, for example, a chunky vegetable soup made with lots of mushrooms.


            1. re: paulj


              If making a mushroom soup with portobellos and you do not want the dark end result for your soup, simply scoop out the brown gills and the soup will not be dark, but rather light colored.

            2. re: AnneInMpls

              Adapted from Anne Lindsay's New Light Cooking
              - for lactose free replace milk w/ stock
              - i usually puree 1/2 w/ a stick blender bc i like it chunky
              - i also use a combo of various dried mushrooms and fresh, depending on what i have on hand

              3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
              1/2 cup boiling H2o
              1 tsp OOil
              1 small finely chopped onion
              thyme - i use fresh
              1 lb of fresh coarsely chopped mushrooms
              2 tbsp flour
              2 cups of chix stock
              2 cups milk (replace w/ stock)
              *fresh parsley or green onion tops for garnish

              Cover dried mushrooms w/ boiling water and let stand 30mins. drain, reserve liquid and chop mushrooms.
              Heat oil and cook onion, thyme (and i add a bit of fresh garlic) until soft. Add fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring often. Sprinkle w/ flour and stir until mixed. Add stock and reserved mushroom liquid, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20mins.
              Puree half the mixture or all if you want it smooth, return to pan and add more stock if you want it thinner (this is when you would add the milk).
              Salt and pepper to taste and serve topped w/ fresh thyme or sprinkled w/ parsley or onions.

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                I never use milk in mushroom soup anyway. I either make a simple one with a velouté using chicken stock and water from rehydrating dried mushooms if I use them (guess you could use something other than butter to start the blond roux). Or I make a mushroom and barley soup with beef stock and include beef some of the time, a great way to use up some leftover pot roast.

            3. This is delicious - no dairy. Can be made totally vegetarian if you want - use veg. broth instead of meat. Very very thick - you might want to cut down on the barley a bit (1/2 cup might be enough). I've also added soaked dried mushrooms to the vegetables at the beginning of the recipe - excellent.

              Mushroom Barley Soup

              3 tbsp. butter (or vegetable oil)
              2 small onions, chopped
              2 medium carrots, chopped
              1 stalk celery, chopped
              2 cloves garlic, squished
              1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
              3 quarts vegetable, chicken or beef broth
              1 cup barley
              1 tsp. crumbled dried thyme
              2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
              2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill weed
              salt and pepper to taste

              In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirrring, for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add the sliced mushrooms and let cook for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms have let out their juices, and they are beginning to evaporate.
              Now add the broth, barley, and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and let the soup cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours. If it is becoming too thick, add more water. Add the chopped parsley and dill, simmer for another 15 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

              Makes 8 to 10 servings.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nyleve

                I've also made this version of mushroom-barley soup many times. It's perfect for a cold, wintry night and does taste creamy without any dairy. The dill gives it a lighter, more refreshing flavor.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  I made mushroom-barley soup the other day in a very similar manner, with a few exceptions:
                  1) I actually cooked the barley separately - not necessary, I know, but I think it improved the clarity of the broth
                  2) I also cooked the mushrooms separately and added them toward the end of cooking. They remained very tender
                  3) But I made sure the whole thing was mushroom-y by using dried mushrooms. Soaked 'em, chopped 'em, added the chopped shrooms to the onion mix, added the soaking liquid to the broth
                  It was the best mushroom-barley soup I ever made.

                2. Potato-leek soup. Needs no stock.

                  If its lactose rather than you are concerned about, milk is your enemy much more than heavy cream or butter (lactose is a function of milk sugars, not butterfat, so the higher the amount of fat, the less the amount of sugars). Ghee, is butter that has been clarified and is free of lactose. So sautee those mushrooms before adding them to the soup and pureeing, et cet.