Vegetarian Fresh Pea Soup with Roasted Morel Mushrooms
By Heidi Allison
This recipe approaches fresh pea soup in an entirely new way, by using fresh green pea shoots rather than classic British garden green peas, as the foundation of the soup. Pea shoots are the young leaves of the pea plant, harvested as microgreens after a few weeks of growth. This nutritional powerhouse is packed with vitamins A, C, K, folic acid and fiber, and, is touted to have high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds. On the culinary front, this switch-out produces a fresher-tasting “spring pea flavor”, with a subtle spiciness reminiscent of watercress, that will seduce both vegetarians and carnivores alike.
In this on-trend soup, the fresh pea flavor is balanced with sweet, caramelized leeks, which add a rounded and complex grace note, while the pan-roasted morel mushrooms lend an earthy, decadent hit. Freshly-prepared, thick-style vegetarian cashew cream, used in place of traditional full-fat whipping cream, creates a more heart-friendly soup – without any compromise in texture or taste! While this soup can be served chilled as an amuse bouche, as an entree, it is best served warm.
Serves: 3 as an entree; 5 as a side
1 cup Cashew Cream (see recipe slow)
7 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided use
2 Leeks, white and slightly green parts, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 Tablespoon Neutral Oil (Safflower, Canola)
8 Morel Mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 8 ounce package Pea Shoots, rinsed and spun dry in salad spinner
1 6 ounce package of Organic Spinach
5 cups Filtered Water
1 teaspoon Prepared Vegetable Demi Glace (optional)
1½ teaspoon Kosher Flake Salt
½ teaspoon White Pepper
1 cup Organic Raw Cashews
4 cups Soaking Water
1 cup of Water
Place raw cashews in a medium bowl and cover with water. Place in a cool area and allow to sit for 4-5 hours. Pour off soaking water and rinse. Place soaked cashews in a blender and add 2 cups of water and purée until the consistency of créme fraiche. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Place 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter into a 10-inch skillet, on medium heat, until it sizzles. Add leeks and a sprinkling of salt and stir. Reduce heat to medium- low, and sauté until leaks are soft and caramelized. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Place oil and 2 Tbsp. butter into a medium skillet and heat until it sizzles. Add morels and pan roast until slightly crispy—about 1-2 minutes. Remove morels and all of the remaining oil/butter mixture onto a plate, and set aside.
Place 5 cups of water into a large pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Add spinach and pea shoots, stir with a wooden spoon, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the stems on the pea shoots are soft and no longer stringy.
Add cooked spinach, pea shoots, leeks, half of the morels, remaining oil/butter from pan-roasted morels, vegetable demi glace, salt and white pepper to a VitaMix or blender and purée to a smooth consistency. Add cashew cream and purée again for about 5 seconds. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or white pepper if desired.
Ladle soup mixture into warmed soup bowls and top with remaining morels, and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.