I’m always looking for ways to bridge seasons. I generally prefer the root vegetables and mushrooms that show up in fall but always miss the fresh tang of spring and summer that I get from lemon and cilantro (especially because my husband is allergic to cilantro).
This soup successfully complements the waning winter and early days of spring that are still too cold for my liking. It is during this time of year that I am especially attracted to what are otherwise hearty winter soups with a stubborn dash of summer.
The recipe calls for za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice made of dried hyssop, citrus, and sesame seeds which you can find in most Middle Eastern markets in the United States. If you’re in a pinch, dry oregano will work, but does not pack the same crisp, rich spice of za’atar. I use coconut oil here because it tastes especially rich with the mushrooms without feeling as heavy as butter.
Mushroom Coconut Soup
- 2-3 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 250 g button mushroom caps, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp or a pinch of chili powder
- 6 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut cream
- 1 tbs za’atar
- 1 tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
- a squeeze of lemon
Heat a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat with 2-3 tsp coconut oil (or 2 tsp coconut oil and 1 tsp vegetable). Cook the black mustard seeds until they begin to pop out of the pot. Add the onions and mushrooms and stir. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, around 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, chili powder, za’atar, and garlic; stir and cook another minute.
Pour 6 cups of mushroom broth into the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Using an emulsion blender, blend the soup to the desired consistency. Add coconut cream, stir, and serve.
Garnish with a handful of cilantro, squeeze of lemon, and pita croutons.