Cream of Kohlrabi & Mushroom Soup

This soup is inspired by one of my favourite childhood meals: canned mushroom soup with rice! This version offers the same creamy, comforting flavours while providing much greater nutritional value.

The mushrooms here play more of an accent role, while the creamy soup features one of my favourite vegetables, kohlrabi. The creaminess comes from soaked cashews and white kidney beans which create a seriously luxurious texture when the soup is pureed in a blender after cooking.

The tiny bits of mushy mushrooms in canned mushroom soup leave little to be desired, so I decided to sauté up some fresh mushrooms, garlic and thyme until they were browned and delicious. Um, YES! I actually wish I prepared way more mushrooms because they were that good.

Serve with crusty whole grain bread for dipping and you’re set! So comforting, nutritious, and tasty!

For the soup:
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
4 cups kohlrabi, chopped (leaves and tough outer skin removed)
1 cup soaked raw cashews*
1- 19oz can white kidney beans (also called cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
Low- or no-sodium vegetable broth to cover
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the mushrooms:
3 cups white button mushrooms, cleaned**, tough stalks removed, and halved or quartered, depending on their size
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) * Start soaking your cashews in advance. Add one cup of raw cashews to a bowl, cover with water by about an inch, and allow to soak for 4-6 hours or overnight. This softens them right up and contributes to the soup’s creaminess. Drain the cashews before adding to the soup.

2) Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.

3) Add the remaining soup ingredients: the kohlrabi, soaked & drained cashews, beans, broth to cover by about an inch and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Cook until the kohlrabi is quite soft.

4) Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste it and add more salt or pepper if desired. If the soup is too thick, add a little more liquid such as vegetable broth or a little water until your desired consistency is reached.

5) Prepare the mushrooms. **Mushrooms are best cleaned using a damp cloth or paper towel rather than rinsed so they don’t absorb a bunch of water. Depending on the size of the mushrooms, halve or quarter them so they’re all roughly similar in size. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cleaned mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown (they will first release some moisture, then the browning will occur).

6) When nearly done, add the minced garlic and thyme and toss to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

7) Serve! Add kohlrabi soup to bowls, then top with garlicky mushrooms. Serve with toasted whole grain bread if desired.