Shiitake mushrooms create a wonderfully rich and flavorful broth for this vegan brussels sprouts soup, which is full of the taste and aroma of Thanksgiving.
Brussels sprouts, rice, and perhaps some white beans. I was planning a soup for dinner, but there seemed to be something missing. Carrots? No. Potatoes? No, the rice would provide enough starch. I needed something to give the broth depth and flavor. I was strolling through my back yard and considering my options when I saw the missing ingredient growing on a log near the fence:
Mushrooms! But don’t worry, I wouldn’t be crazy enough to risk my family’s life on any old mushrooms. These were shiitake mushrooms that I had “planted” in this log about a year and a half ago.
I’d ordered plugs of mushroom spawn from Fungi Perfecti, drilled numerous holes in three oak logs, and hammered the plugs in. I thought that was the hard work, but then I read that I was supposed to water the logs every day. Somehow after a few weeks, “every day” turned into “infrequently” and then into “not at all.” The logs showed no sign of sprouting anything, and I’d given up checking them for signs of life.
So I was thrilled when I just happened to notice one of the logs in full-bloom, though I hate to think how many mushrooms went to waste because of my lack of attention. I’m now going to start pampering the other two logs, which contain the spores of exotic Lion’s Mane and Maitake (I think–it’s been so long) mushrooms.
I harvested the biggest of the mushrooms and used them as the basis of this main-dish soup. Shiitakes create a wonderfully rich and flavorful broth, so if you can find them at a reasonable price, I strongly recommend them.
If fresh shiitakes aren’t available, consider using dried: Reconstitute 2-3 ounces of dried shiitakes in hot water until soft, and strain the liquid through a coffee filter to remove all grit before using the mushrooms and the liquid in the soup. If dried shiitakes aren’t an option, use any flavorful mushroom with, perhaps, vegetable broth instead of water. With beans added, this is a hearty soup, full of the flavors of fall, that would make a nice addition to your Thanksgiving menu.
Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Mushroom Soup
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 14 -16 ounces small Brussels sprouts , trimmed and cut in half
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms , stemmed and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt , or to taste
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 15-ounce can great northern beans , drained and well-rinsed (optional)
- 1 cup no-chicken broth (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
- Heat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it becomes translucent. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until onion begins to brown, about 2 more minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for about two more minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients except for the optional ingredients. Cover and simmer on low heat until rice is cooked, about 50 minutes. Check seasonings and add more along with the lemon juice, if desired. If you’re using the beans, add them and the broth and cook for about 15 more minutes.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Speaking of Thanksgiving
I know that some of you are already planning your Thanksgiving menus, so I’ve tried to make it a little easier by labeling some of my more Thanksgivingy recipes with a tag. The recipes stretch over several pages, so click the “Previous Entries” link at the bottom of each page. For some more Thanksgiving ideas that include recipes on the FFV Recipes site, check out the bottom of this post.
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