This vegan wild rice mushroom soup is the perfect healthy dinner to enjoy on a chilly fall evening. Includes lots of vegetables and chewy wild rice, the broth is made extra rich and creamy without any added cream or dairy. It's easy, healthy and with a gluten-free option.
Who else needs a cozy kiss of a warm thick soup?
I might have been slightly obsessed with chilled light meals lately (oh hello, zucchini Italian salad). But now that Mother Nature has teased me with a few late August chilly days in a row, I'm slowly getting ready to take on all the heavy, warm and filling stews and soups.
And this vegan wild rice and mushroom soup will give you such an amazing taste on all the cozy fall feasts coming up soon. Not that cold mango salads don't have a place-to-be during winter, but when it's really cold outside, please load me up on all the curry stews and rich pasta bake dishes!
A nutritious vegan meal that feels indulgent
Yup, that's my jam.
This dairy-free creamy soup will prove this once more: it combines a thick and creamy broth that's filled with umami-rich mushrooms and satisfying chewy wild rice. Also loaded with vegetables and very filling, you can get your nutrients with this crave-able soup while letting yourself warm up to a nice cozy fall vibe.
What is wild rice
Tie your hat real tight because I geeked out and found out that wild rice actually is NOT even a type of rice! I know, I was shocked too.
We call it wild rice because it does look and cooks like other kinds of rice, but it is actually a specie of aquatic grass. The tall grass grows in shallow water and produces a comestible grain that we call "wild rice". It is darker in color, from black to brown, but also thinner and longer than common kinds of rice.
Wild rice grows naturally in Asia, but also in the Great Lakes region in USA (native from the Connecticut River Basin). It does not really grow in the wild anymore, but rather in controlled regions where its native growing conditions are reproduce and protected. Growing and harvesting wild rice takes some more time and effort compared to regular kinds of rice, which explain why wild rice is rather an expensive grain.
You can learn more about wild rice by reading this "What is wild rice" article by the Spruce Eats.
Why use wild rice when making this plant-based mushroom soup?
Not only does wild rice add a unique toasted nutty flavor and satisfying chewy bite to this soup that contrasts well with the creamy base, but also brings valuable nutrients to your meal as well. Just to name a few, wild rice contains a fair amount of anthocyanins, which is a great antioxidant and also provides its beautiful dark color. Also filled with fiber, protein (wild rice has more protein than other kinds of rice!) and many other minerals.
But also, I love how the skinny dark grains look in the soup! What a nice pop of dark color within the fairly brown-ish soup.
How is this dairy-free creamy soup thickened?
Look at that rich creaminess!
Just like this white chili, the secret is in the roux-based creamy broth. Once you have browned some veggies into the pot, you will coat them with some flour before adding in the broth. This helps create a consistency that's thicker, creamier and tricks your taste buds into thinking that it must have heavy cream in it.
Also, I like to add some vegan milk to help reach an even creamier feeling to the soup.
Ingredients needed to make this vegan wild rice and mushroom soup
This soup is highly customizable! You can swap most of the veggies depending on the season and adjust the spice profile to your taste.
- Wild rice
- Veggie broth
- Vegan milk
- Dried thyme + Salt
How to make the BEST creamy wild rice soup
Step 1 - Pre-cook the wild rice
Wild rice takes more time to cook, which is why it is best to pre-cook it first for this recipe. Get the rice on the stove before even starting to gather the other ingredients you need, so it will be almost ready by the time you need it.
I cook wild rice following the instructions from Cookie and Kate, or you can simply follow the instructions from the packaging. I would recommend you keep your grain on the chewy side maybe even slightly undercooked, since the rice will keep cooking a little longer after you add it to your soup. Typically, wild rice can take up to 45-50 minutes to cook, but I cooked mine until the grains were just starting to crack open, maybe 35 minutes or so. You are looking for a grain that's pleasantly tender while still being robust in texture.
To speed up the process, you can also soak your grain overnight in cold water so they cook even faster!
Step 2- Brown the veggies
Cook the onion, carrots and celery with a good pinch of salt and pepper until browned, stirring often so they don't burn. I usually spray the bottom of the pot with a little avocado oil to avoid adding too much oil. Or, add a small amount of water once in a while when cooking the veggies if following an oil-free diet (although this might prevent browning of the veggies).
When the veggies are mostly browned, then add the garlic, mushrooms and dried thyme. Stir and keep cooking until the mushrooms are tender.
Step 3 - Make the roux
Add the rice and flour to the cooked veggies and stir well to coat everything while scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge all of the flavorful brown bits . Keep cooking for about 30 seconds, then add the veggie broth and vegan milk. Stir well and bring back to a simmer.
Step 4 - Simmer and adjust
Once it simmers, simply keep cooking until desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes or so. Stir often and taste to adjust saltiness.
Watch how to make it
What if I don't want to pre-cook the wild rice
I recommend to pre-cook the wild rice as it requires to cook for 40-50 minutes to become tender. If you would add it raw to the soup, then you would have to cook the soup for too long and that might create mini clumps to the creamy base.
So to skip on pre-cooking the rice, here are a few options:
1- Skip on the flour and the vegan milk, but otherwise follow the recipe as is. Add the rice at the same time you are adding the broth and simmer the soup, covered, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes, stirring often.
You will have to add more broth then the recipe recommends as the rice will absorb some of it while cooking. When the rice is cooked, then add some canned coconut milk (stir it first) to the soup to make it creamier. Start with one cup and add more as needed. Play around with how much you add of the coconut milk vs broth after the rice is cooked to the desired consistency, then bring back to a simmer and serve. This will give you a soup that's nice and creamy, but not overly thick.
2- For a thicker option, then also skip on the flour and vegan milk and add the rice with the broth as well. Cook until the grain is tender, about 40 minutes stirring now and then, while keeping the pot covered. Once the rice is done, add more broth to a desired consistency (the rice will absorb a lot of it while cooking) and bring back to a simmer.
On the side in a small bowl, make a cornstarch slurry: combine a 1:1 ratio of corn starch and water (you can start with 2 tbsp of each), combine well until no clumps anymore with a fork, and pour in a stream while stirring in the soup (the soup has to be in a simmer or almost boiling when doing so). Keep simmering for a few minutes until the soup has thickened and add some more slurry if needed.
3- I haven't tried this option, but I saw many recipes cooking the rice within the soup within a fair amount of broth and making a cream sauce on the side to only add at the end to the soup when the rice is done. The cream sauce is pretty much a bechamel sauce, that's poured into the broth soup while whisking, so keep this option in mind too.
4- You can also use frozen rice! I'm not sure that you could find frozen wild rice, but any frozen grain could be added to the soup at the end of its simmering time.
Tips and substitutions when making this vegan wild rice and mushroom soup
- Use canned coconut milk instead of regular vegan milk for a richer soup.
- When roasting the veggies to the bottom of the pot, make sure to brown them enough before adding the broth. This adds lots of flavor!
- I love to use a dutch oven kind of pot, as it helps create tiny brown bits that taste delicious.
- I love adding a little dried thyme to the soup for extra flavor that pairs well with the mushrooms, but feel free to use other spices and herbs like Italian herbs mix, oregano, bay leaves, etc. Fresh herbs like dill would also be amazing in this soup.
- Change up the veggies as well depending on the season and what you got. Sweet potatoes, leafy greens, zucchini and corn would all be great in this soup. I would highly recommend you insist on adding mushrooms though as they are key to creating a broth that extra fragrant.
- This soup will thicken up while resting, so feel free to play around with how much broth/vegan milk you add to get a more or less thick soup depending on what you want.
- For a soup that's a little higher in protein, then white beans would be a great addition. Simply add them towards the end of cooking the soup.
I find this soup hearty enough to make it a full meal, especially when served with a side of bread or crackers. Dipping the bread into the flavorful creamy broth is the best part!
Sprinkle with fresh herbs and a crack of black peppers if desired and dig in!
Storage and reheating tips
Simply keep any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The soup will significantly thicken after cooling down and storing, so add a splash of vegan milk or broth (or water!), then stir well to loosen up the broth, then reheat either on the stove or microwave.
Can I freeze it?
I froze some of the soup to test storage and although a few tiny clumps formed after thawed, they mostly went away after stirring well and reheating.
How to make this vegan wild rice and mushroom soup gluten-free
Wild rice is naturally gluten-free, but many kinds of flour are not. So, to make this soup completely gluten-free, you can omit the flour altogether and add a cornstarch slurry to thickened the soup as needed (see above for how to make it)
Other cozy veggie soups and stews you might like
- Cheesy broccoli soup
- Creamy quinoa cauliflower soup
- Butternut squash and red pepper soup
- Vegan white chili
- Potato and spinach zesty soup
I hope you enjoy this creamy soup as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 3 carrots - diced
- 1 white onion - diced
- 2 celery stems - diced
- 2 garlic cloves - crushed
- 4 cups mushrooms (12 oz) - chopped
- ⅓ cup flour - all purpose or white whole wheat
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups plain vegan milk
- ½ tsp dried thyme - or dried herb of your choice
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Start by cooking the wild rice following the instructions on the packaging (Keep it al dente).
- In a large pot, cook the onion, carrot and celery with a sprinkle of salt and pepper for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat (use a small amount of oil if desired). Then, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds while stirring.
- Add the mushrooms, dried thyme and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
- When the vegetables are tender, then add the cooked rice, flour and stir. Cook for about 1 minute while stirring often.
- Then, add the broth and vegan milk all at once and give it a good stir. Bring to a gentle simmer and keep cooking on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until thickened to your desired consistency. Serve right away.
- Storage: store the leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. This soup thickens significantly while cooling down and resting, so when reheating, you might want to add a splash of water or vegan milk to loosen up the broth. Can also be frozen.
- This recipe is highly customizable! Use different veggies like sweet potatoes, corn or leafy greens. Make sure to include mushrooms, they give so much flavor to the broth!
- I recommend you to cook the rice before adding it to the soup to prevent creating clumps into the creamy base soup (wild rice needs to cook for a while and this could curdle the milky broth!). There are other options to consider if you do not want to have to cook rice apart that are explained in the blog post.
- Make this soup gluten-free by omitting the flour all together. To thicken the soup, then make a cornstarch slurry of 1:1 cornstarch and water mixed into a small bowl (start with 2 tbsp of each), then add when the soup is done, but still bubbly and simmering. Add like a stream while stirring and cook for a few minutes until the soup has a desired consistency.