Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

A big, hearty mushroom soup made with a mish-mash of market mushrooms, pearled barley, toasted sesame oil, and onions.

Mixed Mushroom Soup

Big, hearty soups are what appeal to me this time of year - flavorful broths punctuated with earthy mushrooms, starchy beans, long-cooked onions, or chunks of roasted winter squash. The sort of soups and stews that are able to take their place at the center of a meal instead of being relegated to a side dish. This is exactly the sort of soup I made over the weekend. I used a mish-mash of market mushrooms, a bit of cooked barley, and a good dose of onions. I gave it a bit of a Japanese flavor profile by using toasted sesame oil and shoyu/soy sauce as finishing elements. Quick, hearty, and satisfying.

Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

You've heard me say it before, there a few things that help me eat well throughout the week - even when things get busy. I make over-sized pots of soup, like this one, let the leftovers cool to room temperature, then freeze them off in quart-sized baggies. A lot of the soups I love have grains and veggies and often some element of protein. They make for quick, one-pot lunches and dinners that you can pull from the refrigerator or freezer and have on the table in under ten minutes. It feels awesome. I've found on days when I'm too busy to shop, or cook something from scratch, these sorts of soups are just the thing I crave. And its a nice option to have versus eating out or ordering take-out.

Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

As I mention down below, I made this soup with barley, but it could also work well with wild rice or brown rice. You could also skip the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, and take things in an entirely different direction. A bit of smoked paprika and lemon creme fraiche might be interesting. Or what if you did a saffron yogurt swirl, like we did for this lentil soup and added lots of chopped chives to finish?

And a little housekeeping, if you'll permit? Somehow, six months has passed since the last update on my new cookbook. Not sure how that happened, but I assure you - plenty has been going on behind the scenes. I turned in the manuscript over the summer, we decided on an entirely new jacket, a handful of people I deeply admire were kind enough to write notes for the back cover, and if all went well last week, Super Natural Every Day should be at the printer. I can't believe I'm actually typing that sentence. I promise to do a proper write up and post a bunch of pics sometime in the next couple of weeks.

And! before it slips my mind - I know many of you are on the lookout for vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, and vegan ones as well. I updated those pages the other day and hope some of these recipes might make it to your holiday tables.

And lastly - a few of us have started cooking recipes from the newly-released Essential New York Times Cookbook. I think we'll focus on it through November, and then pick another cookbook to focus on in December. Please join us if you like! I learn much from spending time with individual books - and I bet you will too. So far, I've cooked Bill Granger's Scrambled Eggs, a variation on the Poppy Seed Torte, and the Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles - you can see my notes here. Judy Rodger's Warm Bread Salad is next on my list. -h

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Mixed Mushroom Chowder

As I mention in the main pot, I used cooked pearl barley that I happened to have bagged and frozen on hand. I could've just as easily reached for brown rice, wild rice, or even wheatberries - use whatever you've got! On the mushroom front - use a combination of mushrooms - brown, porcini, chanterelle, etc. The soup was particularly good with a slab of grilled sesame seed bread from Tartine.

You might add a bit of cubed pan-fried tofu, tempeh, or seitan, crouton-style to make this a complete one-dish meal. And as far as leftovers go, for a slightly more decadent version, I'm thinking about whipping up a bit of heavy cream, adding the toasted sesame oil to it, salting it, and serving the soup with a dollop of the cream plus some chives on top...

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter

1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

fine grain sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons shoyu or soy sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked pearled barley
6 cups / 1.5 l good-tasting vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
finely chopped chives, to serve

In your largest, widest soup pot heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring a couple times along the way, until the mushrooms release their liquid and they are deeply browned. About 8 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Using the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook until tender, a few minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons of the shoyu, barley, and then the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat a bit. Add the mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the toasted sesame oil and taste. You might want to add remaining tablespoon of shoyu or soy sauce, particularly if your broth wasn't very salty. And you might want to add more toasted sesame oil a few drops at a time. Just keep tweaking until everything balances out for you. Serve sprinkled with lots of chopped chives.

Serves about six.

Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This looks great..perfect for the windy, damp, cold weather we've been tolerating with here. I love mushroom soup, but I must admit I'm guilty of using the sodium filled can much too often...this is a much healthier alternative. I do this strange thing where I through in some canned tuna and green peas...we call it tuna medley here...but it's absolutely outstanding!

Liana @ femme fraiche

how do you cook just plain barley? Thank you

Pamela Kieffer

This looks pitch-perfect for here, now. And I totally agree -- those prepared bits and pieces (grains and soups) make or break a week.


Looking forward to your new book--congratulations on going to print! And that soup--simple and sumptuous--looks like I need to pick up some fabulous mushrooms this weekend from the mushroom man. Your 'decadent version' in your note sounds amazing! Thanks!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

There can't be many more words that sound better that 'mushroom soup' or taste more comforting. Knowing you have a freezer full is like facing the winter with a really warm blanket.

Sally - My Custard Pie

Add some cooked garbanzos to that for a little extra MMM Mmm mm mm ! ! !


This looks so yummy! I plan to top mine with a bit of sauteed crab meat... thank you for the recipe!!!


As a confirmed soup-o-holic (who just had tortilla soup for breakfast), yes on all accounts. It warms my deepest being just thinking of it.


You read my mind. This soup sounds and looks delicious. Living in the mushroom capitol of the world (KSQ, PA) enables me access to fresh mushrooms all year round. HS: Yay KSQ, say Hi to the Graham family if you see them around town. Four kids, great looking parents. Hard to miss. Nikki and I grew up together :) -h

Shane Morgan

you read my mind. made the mushroom casserole last night and was talking about how I needed to make a mushroom soup real soon. this will be a great, light (in the non-greasy/fatty sense), post-Thanksgiving treat.


I love the simplicity of this soup. And I love the high mushroom content! I have been loving mushrooms lately. So good.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

As I'm looking at this for the second time I'm wondering if there's any room for a finely chopped leafy green? Spinach perhaps? I would love to hear some opinions on that. HS: I think that would be a mighty fine addition Monica - I'd add it at the last minute.


YUM! My husband is not much of a soup person, but loves my standard wild mushroom soup recipe I got from some random seasonal vegetarian cookbook found about 10 years ago! I use about a pound of assorted expensive mushrooms and stretch it with another pound of criminis. 2 shallots sauteed in butter, broth, and the mushrooms. Salt, pepper, and a cup of half-and-half at the end. I don't know if he'll go for the Asian-inspired, but I'm definitely adding smoked paprika next time I make it. BTW, he'll eat your curry pumpkin soup at the drop of a hat.


This soup looks lovely. Mushroom soups are so often blended and creamy--the fact that this is neither makes it interesting!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

I love soups in the fall and winter. And then by spring I am sick of them again, so I will have to enjoy them while I can!

life and kitchen

Coming from a Polish family, my favorite flavoring for mushroom soup is fresh dill and a little sour cream. I'll have to try the toasted sesame oil and soy sauce next time since that is one of my favorite go-to flavor combinations for quick meals.


Congrats on the book!! This mushroom soup looks amazing and perfect for the fall. Thanks for sharing :-)


I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I'm really intimidated by mushrooms. I haven't been exposed to that many varieties of them, and haven't yet ventured outside of the safe button/crimini/portobello world in terms of my cooking. This soup seems to take a lot of that intimidating out of it, though, and it looks so warming and delicious for a cold winter's day!

Meister @ Eat This Neighborhood

Lovely! I'm also a big fan of soups for week nights. Kids love it. We love it. It's so comforting at this time of year too. I make at least one pot of soup a week, and freeze a couple of yogurt-sized containers. My freezer has quite a nice variety. Some evening, there are two or three types of soups around the table. The kids love picking their soup out of the freezer! Whatever works, right? Congratulations on the new book. Can't wait to see it.


Those mushrooms look divine. A good reason to break out of boring white mushrooms and try something new!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

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