When my brother John and I were little, we weren’t exactly fans of vegetables, so our mother had to get creative to try and make us eat them. One way was so blend the vegetables up and serve them with a lot of cream and sometimes sausages. My favorite one was a white asparagus cream soup. In today’s post I wanted to veganize this recipe with just a few easy alterations.
The main ingredients I used for this soup include mini white pumpkins, white asparagus, onions, garlic and coconut cream. If you can’t find white pumpkins, you can obviously also use orange pumpkins, the soup will just be a different color. I wouldn’t recommend using green asparagus instead of white though, so make sure you get the right kind for this soup, or else you can also use leeks or bell peppers. I love toppings or some kind of side dish with my soups, so for this one I made shiitake bacon, but it would also taste great with some toasted bread and vegan butter, cubed avocado or tofu sausages.
For the cream, coconut is my go-to ingredient, but I definitely want to try this with soy, almond or oat cream as well. The coconut taste is not too strong and it just makes soups and stews creamy and delicious. My tip: don’t fall for “light coconut milk/cream”, that’s basically just full fat coconut milk thinned with water for the same price or sometimes even more, so you might as well just get the original one.
Step 1: Make the Shiitake “bacon”
Since the shiitake bacon takes a while to bake, be sure to prep it before you start making the soup. Preheat the oven to 400F/200F, then line a baking tray with parchment paper and prep the mushrooms. I never ever wash mushrooms, that just makes them soggy, so all you need to do is remove the stems and slice them thinly. Shiitake are the best kind, but I’ve seen people use oyster mushrooms too. I have yet to try and other kind of mushroom, but if and when I do, I’ll let you know!
Once the shiitake are sliced, add them to a bowl and mix them with olive (or coconut) oil, liquid smoke, (smoked) paprika and sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. Note: this will NOT work without the oil. Trust me, I’ve tried. So if you’re avoiding oil for any reason, you might be better off just sautéing them in a non-stick pan with a little soy sauce or veggie broth.
Place them in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. The exact time will depend on the type of oven and the amount of liquid you use. I’ve found that if you use a little more liquid smoke or if you add soy sauce, it takes a little longer for the “bacon” to get crispy. Be sure to check in on the mushrooms regularly, especially if you’re making this recipe for the first time. They should look golden brown and be crispy. If you don’t have liquid smoke or paprika, it’s fine to omit those, the most important ingredients are the mushrooms, oil and salt.
Step 2: Make the soup
Choose a medium sized pot and start by chopping the onions and mincing the garlic. Sauté both in some vegan butter in the pot over medium heat. If your stove top gets hot very quickly, opt for low-medium heat instead. I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect vegan butter lately and the one I used for this recipe, Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter, is the one I like the best for far. It doesn’t have the typical butter color, but taste-wise, it’s a winner. If you have a favorite vegan butter you’d recommend, definitely let me know. Instead of vegan butter, you can use oil or just a little water.
The overall cooking time for this soup is 25 minutes, so set a timer at the beginning and just add the ingredients as you’re cooking. I know a lot of people prep all of their vegetable before they start cooking, but I like to just chop and prep as I go, which saves time and is a lot more convenient. That’s just a personal preference though, so you can just do whatever feels best to you.
Wash and cut the white pumpkins into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller. Remove the seeds, but leave the skin on if you like (it’s edible), then add to the pot. The next step is to peel the asparagus. Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus has a bitter first layer, so it’s best to peel it using a regular vegetable peeler. No need to cut off the ends.
Add the asparagus to the pot with the broth, coconut milk and other ingredients (I listed all of them below). Then let the soup simmer before blending it. You can use an immersion stick blender, which is probably the safest option, but I usually just pour it into a blender, in which case you just need to make very sure that the lid is on and that you’re being careful, since the soup is very hot.
Lastly, enjoy the soup with the bacon and any other toppings or garnishes you like. Freshly ground pepper is always a good idea when it comes to soup. If you try this recipe, don’t forget to let me know in the comments and/or tag me on instagram. Hope you like it!
A hearty and delicious vegan soup, perfect for a fall or winter home cooked meal with lots of flavor.
Ingredients for the soup:
500g/1lb white asparagus
2 yellow onions
2 garlic cloves
2 mini white pumpkins
1-2 tbsp vegan butter (or olive oil)
2 tsp vegetable broth paste
160mL full fat coconut milk or cream
1 tsp dried (or fresh) rosemary
Sea salt to taste
Ingredients for the shiitake bacon:
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid smoke (or smoked salt)
1/4 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
1 pinch sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil drizzle
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C
- De-stem and slice the mushrooms thinly. Add them to a bowl and mix them with the oil, liquid smoke and seasonings until every mushroom is well coated. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes (check after 15-20 minutes, they should be crispy but not burned)
- While the shiitake bacon is baking, chop or dice the onions, mince the garlic and start sautéing both in a pot with the vegan butter (or oil) over medium heat (set a timer for 25 minutes)
- Wash the pumpkins and remove the seeds, then chop or dice them (no need to peel).
Add the pumpkin to the pot about 5 minutes after the onions and mix well.
- Peel the asparagus (just the first outer layer) and chop, then add to the pot 10 minutes into cooking.
- Next, add the coconut milk or cream, the water, vegetable broth paste and rosemary.
Lower the heat to low-medium and let simmer for 15 more minutes, making sure you stir well.
- After 25 minutes total, remove from heat and blend the soup using an immersion stick blender or a regular blender (just be careful – the soup will be very hot). Taste test and add a pinch of salt if necessary.
- Serve in a bowl with the shiitake bacon, an olive oil drizzle and freshly ground pepper and enjoy! Other serving suggestion: serve with a slice of toasted whole wheat bread with vegan butter.