When I was a kid, my mom would occasionally let us have Campbell’s soup in a can. Sometimes she cooked with it, using it as a base in more complex dishes, and other times it would just be the soup heated up. I have fond memories of her spooning out hot, creamy portions of Campbell’s cream of chicken or mushroom soup that she added peppers and corn to, and sometimes we would eat it with rice. It might sound strange, but it was, weirdly enough, quite delicious. I loved everything my mom made, and this was no exception. My mom stopped cooking with it shortly after, and as the years went by, I began to develop a sense of what foods were healthy and how terrible processed foods were for your health. I stopped fantasizing about those Campbell’s soup cans, and if you handed me one today, I would probably run in the other direction. Not even Andy Warhol’s art can sway me now!
Since starting my new job, my dinners have been extremely lazy. I get home anywhere between 7 and 9pm depending on how busy work is and whether I choose to go to a fitness class after, and I’m usually exhausted and hungry by the time I’m home. While I haven’t resorted to Campbell’s soup cans, my dinners, on most nights, have been soup. I love soups because they are so easy, require minimal effort, and you can use different seasonings and spices if you feel like mixing it up.
Lately, my go to soup has been this mushroom soup. I’ve called it the triple threat soup because it’s made with three tasty kinds of mushrooms: shiitake, crimini, and Portobello. The topping is inspired by a recent visit to the MoMA, where my cauliflower soup was garnished with crisy lentils. I loved the contrast of the crunch with the creaminess of the soup so much that I decided to do the same with this soup, and it does not disappoint.
NOTES: I’ve made this soup with oyster mushrooms before as well, and it turned out beautifully. Simply replace one the crimini mushrooms with oyster mushrooms. You can also roast the mushrooms beforehand if you’d like to add extra flavour. If you don’t want to spend as much time caramelizing onions, you can choose to sauté the onions until they are translucent before adding the ‘shrooms. I chose to blend my soup in my Vitamix, but an immersion blender or a large food processor will work just fine. Other crunchy topping ideas: roast leeks or chickpeas and a variety of veggie chips such as kale, sunchoke, or brussel sprouts.
TRIPLE THREAT MUSHROOM SOUP
For the soup:
Yields 2 servings.
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups portobello mushrooms
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms
- 1 red or yellow onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2-3 fresh sage leaves – use 1 to 2 teaspoons if using dried
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, ghee, or butter
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the lentils:
Yields 2 1/2 cups lentils.
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1. Preheat the oven to 205ºC/400ºF.
2. Put the lentils and bay leaves in the pot and pour enough water to cover the lentils by two to three inches. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add the salt and reduce the heat. Allow the lentils to simmer until done, around 25-30 minutes if using unsoaked lentils. Once the lentils are done, remove from the heat.
3. Add the coconut oil. Since the lentils are warm, the coconut oil will melt. Mix to coat the lentils, and season with sea salt and pepper. Lay the lentils out on a flat baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the lentils from sticking to the tray.
4. While the lentils are roasting, prepare the soup. On medium high heat, melt one to two tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pot. Cook the onions until they begin to brown and caramelize. As I mentioned above, if you’d like to spend less time cooking, just sauté the onions until they are fragrant and translucent before adding the ‘shrooms. Lower the heat and add the sage, garlic, and mushrooms. Add another knob of coconut oil if necessary and cook until the mushrooms are softened. Pour the vegetable broth in and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and purée using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. You can leave the sage in or remove the sage before puréeing.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and top with the crispy lentils.
What’s your favourite childhood food memory?
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,