This Creamy Mushroom Soup with Couscous is packed full of earthy mushrooms, chewy couscous pearls, tangy dill, smoky paprika, and rich cream. It is a quick and delicious meal perfect for a cold evening meal – or served as leftovers for lunch! Some soups take hours to cook, but this soup can be made in less than 30 minutes
Is this a cream of mushroom soup recipe?
This soup is a creamy mushroom soup recipe, but does not resemble the cream of mushroom you’ll find in a can in the grocery store! The texture is much more brothy and the couscous adds a lovely chewiness to each spoonful. The flavors are fresh and it avoids all the additives found in many store-bought soups.
Oil/Fat. This recipe calls for oil. We use a neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed oil. Butter is also lovely in this recipe.
Mushrooms. What are the best mushrooms for mushroom soup? You can use many types of mushrooms in this recipe. We’ve made it with baby bella mushrooms (which are immature portabella mushrooms), standard field/button mushrooms, as well as lobster mushrooms. Use what you have or can find local to you. The mushrooms will need to be sliced into bite-sized pieces. You don’t want a hunk of mushroom that’s too big to spoon into your mouth!
Worcestershire Sauce. This dash or two of this sauce adds just an extra bit of umami to this mushroom soup recipe.
Spices: This recipe calls for garlic, dried dill, paprika, and dried thyme.
We use 2 teaspoons of Dried Minced Garlic. If using fresh, you’ll need 2 cloves diced finely.
Dried dill adds a bright tangy flavor that helps to balance out the rich earthy flavors of the beef broth and mushrooms.
Smoked Paprika gives this soup recipe a hint of deep smoky flavor which complements the earthy mushroom flavor.
Dried Thyme Thyme is one of those must-have ingredients in many recipes! It's a great addition to vegetables, soups, and sauces when one wants to add warmth and herbiness to a dish without overpowering the other flavors – and it does just that in this mushroom soup recipe.
Vinegar. We add just a touch of vinegar to this recipe to help cut through the richness. Mild apple cider vinegar is our favorite. Lemon juice also works well.
When tasting your soup for seasoning, if it tastes flat, it may need a splash of more vinegar. Acid can lift flavors just as much as salt.
Broth. Beef broth has a strong, rich flavor which goes well with the mushrooms. Any broth can be used if beef broth is not available. If you would like to make a vegetarian or vegan mushroom soup, we suggest soaking dried mushrooms in hot water and using the resulting liquid as your broth.
Couscous. Pearl or Israeli Couscous is much different than instant couscous. It is big and looks like a ball. Its soft chewy texture makes it ideal for soup or stew. If you can’t find Pearl Couscous substitute orzo. If you need a gluten-free mushroom recipe, use rice instead of couscous.
Half and Half. Half and half is a mixture of cream and whole milk. We use it instead of full cream making this soup just a bit less heavy.
Sour cream. And then we add a dollop or two of sour cream! Sour cream has a nice tang that goes so well with the dill, beef broth, and mushrooms!
Vegetarian and Vegan Mushroom Soup Recipe.
To make this mushroom soup vegetarian, you’ll need to substitute the beef broth. We suggest using mushroom broth made by soaking dried mushrooms in hot water and using the resulting liquid as your broth.
You’ll also need to substitute the Worcestershire sauce with a vegan version as Worcestershire sauce is made with salted fish. If you can’t find a vegan version, we suggest using 1 tablespoon of Tamari Soy Sauce instead.
To make this mushroom soup vegan and dairy free, you’ll need to follow the above suggestions and take out the half-and-half and sour cream. Instead of half-and-half use an unsweetened half-and-half substitute. Or you can use pureed silken tofu. Or simply skip the dairy for a more brothy, but still delicious soup!
Gluten-Free Mushroom Soup Recipe
To make this Creamy Mushroom Soup Recipe Gluten-Free, there are a few ingredients to substitute.
First, you’ll need to substitute the couscous for rice or quinoa. If using rice, cook it separately and then add a scoop to each bowl before serving. Either white or brown rice works well. If using quinoa, it can be cooked right in the soup, but you’ll need to cook it for about twice the amount of time the couscous is cooked for.
Second, look to make sure your Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free. Some brands do contain wheat. If you can’t find gluten-free Worcestershire Sauce, we suggest using 1 teaspoon of Tamari Soy Sauce instead.
Third, double-check your broth for gluten. Some brands do contain wheat.
How to Make Mushroom Soup!
Cook your mushrooms over medium heat. When you first add your mushrooms, they will absorb all the oil and it will be tempting to add more. Don’t! Add the salt and pepper and keep stirring and soon they will release a lot of liquid. Keep cooking until that liquid is gone. This may take 10 - 15 minutes depending on how much liquid your mushrooms had. Don’t be tempted to rush this process or proceed while your mushrooms are still wet or you will end up with soggy flaccid mushrooms! As the liquid evaporates, your mushrooms will become squeaky–you’ll hear a squeak as you stir them. Let them sit a minute or so between stirring so they can begin to brown. You want them to brown but not burn, so don’t walk away!
As soon as your mushrooms are browned, add the spices and stir. As soon as you smell the garlic, add the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Stir quickly and then add your broth.
Bring the broth to a boil. Add your couscous. Turn the soup down to low and cover. Cook for the amount of time your couscous calls for. Ours says to cook 8 - 12 minutes.
After couscous is cooked, remove from the heat and add your half and half. Stir.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We find this soup tastes even better the next day! Reheat over low heat just until warm. No need to bring to a boil.
To freeze this soup, prepare the base right up to before adding the couscous. Once you are ready to thaw and prepare it, add to a pot and continue with your recipe. Can be kept in the freezer for 3 - 6 months.
Creamy Mushroom Soup with Couscous
Creamy mushroom soup with couscous packed full of earthy mushrooms, chewy couscous pearls, tangy dill, smoky paprika, and rich cream.
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil or butter
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon Pacific Flake Sea Salt
½ teaspoon or 4 -5 grinds of Tellicherry Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Dried Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Dill Weed
½ teaspoon Thyme
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 cups beef broth
1 cup pearl couscous
½ cup half and half
½ cup sour cream
Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add oil or butter. Add sliced mushrooms and salt and pepper.
Cook mushrooms until they are browned (see directions above in the technique section).
Add garlic, smoked paprika, dill weed, and thyme. Cook just until you smell the garlic.
Add vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir quickly and then add broth.
Bring the soup to a boil. Then add couscous.
Turn heat under the pot down to low and cover the pot.
Simmer for the time required to cook couscous. Most pearl couscous will cook in 8 - 12 minutes. Follow the directions for your couscous.
Check couscous for doneness. When couscous is done, remove the pot from the heat.
Stir in half and half.
Taste for seasoning. Soup may need more salt or just a splash more vinegar.
Serve with sour cream.
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