This potato and mushroom soup is made with Portobellos for extra flavor. Olive oil béchamel sauce makes it thick and extra creamy.
This Mediterranean creamy potato and mushroom soup is a wholesome and plant-based meal which tastes pretty amazing! It really is a wonder that with just a few simple ingredients and some spices (thank you so much smoked paprika!) you can make such a warm and comforting dish. This recipe uses almond milk (or vegetable broth) for the creamy olive oil béchamel, but if you’re not vegan you can also use whole milk. I like to eat this soup for a light lunch, but have in mind that it’s also ideal as an appetizer before the main course.
There’s a 40-day period of lent in Greece that is called Sarakosti. Sarakosti comes from the word “saranta” which means forty, and it starts 40 days before the Orthodox Easter. During Sarakosti a lot of people refrain from eating meat and dairy (they practically go vegan) so naturally, a lot of recipes suitable for lent have been developed through the years in order to cover this need. These vegan dishes are called “nistisima” which means that they’re suitable for Lent. This potato and mushroom soup is thick, creamy and very satisfying while being one of those nistisima dishes. Plus, it’s so warm and cozy that you won’t believe it has no meat or dairy! Check this vegan pumpkin soup with mushroom chips if you like thick and creamy soups, or find more recipes in the vegan category.
Béchamel sauce makes this soup extra thick and creamy. Though it is usually made with butter, I almost always make it with olive oil. And it’s so fragrant and flavorful that I never miss the butter! For this recipe, almond milk is used instead of regular milk to keep it vegan. Another key ingredient is Portobello mushrooms which are used instead of white mushrooms because they have a deeper, almost meaty taste and enough texture to make everyone – even your carnivorous friends – to ask for seconds!
- Smoked paprika is what gives this soup its distinctive taste, so try not to skip it!
- You want the potatoes and mushrooms to be about the same size. Because mushrooms will shrink during cooking, you should dice them a little bigger than the potatoes.
- Sauté the mushrooms very well over high heat!
- Bell peppers are not necessary, but they provide nice flavor and color. Plus, you get some extra nutrients!
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- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound (450 grams) Portobello mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup chopped leek
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- 1 sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 yellow or green sweet pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 pound (700 grams) diced potatoes
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups water, or enough to almost cover the potatoes
- For the béchamel sauce:
- 6 tablespoons (50 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons (40 grams) olive oil
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups almond milk or vegetable broth, warm
- 1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions
Heat a large pot over high heat and sauté the mushrooms with the olive oil until well-browned and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
Add the leek, onion, garlic, and peppers and continue to cook stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (about 3-4 minutes).
Remove and discard the garlic clove and add the potatoes, the thyme, the smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and enough water to almost cover the vegetables (about 2 1/2 – 3 cups).
Let it come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 30 minutes (it will depend on the size of the diced potatoes).
While the soup is simmering, make the béchamel sauce: transfer the olive oil and the flour to a small pot and cook over medium/high heat until the flour is toasted and smells nutty. Remove from the heat, let it cool down for 1-2 minutes and add the almond milk while whisking constantly with a whisk.
Add the nutmeg, paprika, salt, and pepper and return to heat. Cook whisking constantly until it starts to thicken.
When the soup is ready, add the olive oil béchamel sauce to the pot, stir well and cook for 5 more minutes. Taste, adjust the salt, and serve with chopped chives.
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