For the longest time, I thought coconut and mushrooms was a weird flavor combination. I’m so comfortable using mushrooms in Italian dishes (my Italian side of the family grew up in the mushroom business), that cooking with coconut just sounded way too bizarre.
But then I fell in love with Thai food – especially the soups. My two favorites are Tom Yum, which is a sweet and sour soup that is delicious with shrimp, and Tom Kha Gai, a creamy coconut and chicken soup.
That was the first time I had a coconut milk soup with mushrooms and I have been a fan ever since.
Mushrooms are a special ingredient (especially when turned into a mushroom quinoa soup!). I know not everyone out there is a mushroom fan, but they’re one of those vegetables that I simply adore. They help add meatiness to a dish, but also a richness, without being overpowering or heavy. And they soak up flavor like nobody’s business.
Which is why I think they pair perfectly with coconut milk.
Coconut milk has a very delicate flavor, but it’s also quite pronounced at the same time. I can almost always tell when a dish has coconut milk in it. But coconut milk also adds a natural sweetness, so with my current diet, I’m using it all the time, especially for breakfast (and for soups).
For someone who doesn’t have dairy-based milks in their diet, coconut milk has been a savior. Especially the full fat variety. I use it to replace heavy cream in my baking, to thicken soups (like this Creamy Coconut & Mushroom Quinoa Soup), to make ice cream and also to make whipped cream topping. It’s incredibly versatile, and while it is rather fattening, it’s made up of healthy fats, so I don’t worry too much about it. All in moderation, right?
The other thing I’m loving about coconut milk (I promise, this is the last thing), is that you can make it at home! Seriously, it’s super easy and takes all of 5 minutes. Check out Leanne’s tutorial post – she takes you step-by-step through the process. And with the left over pulp? Simply dry it out in your oven on the lowest setting, and use it in a grain-free breakfast porridge the next morning. Soo good!
And finally, we get to the soup. Oh the soup.
I wasn’t really planning to go in the coconut milk direction with this, but that’s what I had in my pantry. You have to go with what you’ve got sometimes…and times like this it totally turns out for the better.
This soup is fully of creamy, coconuty, mushroomy, quinoy goodness. The broth has the faintest sweetness from the coconut, the mushrooms have sopped up all that delicious flavor and the little quinoa pearls lend a unique texture to the soup that makes it hearty, but at the same time surprisingly light and refreshing. It’s a warm or cold weather soup. An all-year round soup.
Really it’s an anytime you want kind of soup. And it’s seriously tasty.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini, portobello and shitake)
- 4 shallots, diced
- 4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons quinoa flour
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 2 - 3 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
- ⅓ cup white quinoa or rainbow quinoa
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Sriracha to taste (optional)
- Chives / parsley to garnish (optional)
- Additional sauteed mushrooms (optional)
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant and mushrooms have started to soften, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add quinoa flour and stir to combine and mushrooms are coated.
- Add coconut milk & broth (start with 2 cups and add more if needed), followed by quinoa. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes, until quinoa is cooked. Add more broth here if needed.
- Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper (and Sriracha if using). Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh herbs and additional sauteed mushrooms.