When my husband and I were still in the "courting" stage of our relationship, he took me to his hometown to meet his parents. His mother had made a glorious Caesar salad, complete with homemade croutons. Since it was our first meeting, I very politely ate a normal amount of salad, and I did not sneak back in the kitchen later to surreptitiously snack on handfuls of those homemade croutons, the way I would after we were engaged and they were stuck with me. I can think of few things more addictive than those savoury croutons, and now my mother-in-law just makes extra when we visit, in preparation for my gluttony.
Ah, but this post is supposed to be about soup. I love a warming, savory soup in the cold winter months, and this Portobello mushroom soup really hits the spot. You don't NEED to make your own croutons to top this creamy vegan soup, but I highly recommend them. In fact, you might want to double the batch so you can sneak back into the kitchen later and scarf them down by the handful.
Portobello Mushroom Soup:
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add onion and garlic and saute until fragrant and soft, about ten minutes.
Add the chopped portabello mushrooms and saute until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are soft.
Stir in vegetable stock, salt, pepper, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender - or transferring contents to a regular blender - pulse until soup is smooth.
Stir in cashew cream or heavy cream. Serve with homemade croutons, and, optionally, Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place bread cubes into a large bowl. Whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the bread cubes, and toss to coat.
Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Sample a few, but save some for the soup!