This walnut soup idea grew from a recipe I had saved from a teenage chef in Texas, who says his friends loved it. He’s probably grown up by now and very smart indeed if he’s continued down the walnut-tree-lined road of healthy eating. I found the earthiness of the walnuts in this dish was nice. The original recipe might be something the kids in the family would take to. But for me, I needed a little more oomph on my spoon.
So I threw in some mushrooms, including a few dried one’s we had in the cupboard. Then I zapped the soup with one of the humongous supply of Thai chili peppers I was forced to buy so I could get three of the darling little firebrands for another recipe I had tried. Finally, I corrected the seasonings with some fresh orange juice and changed the cream to skim milk to make the soup as nutritious as it is delicious.
For a touch of decadence, I used four strips of bacon to start. You can use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil instead, if you want to avoid animal fats. I changed up the order of cooking, too, for easier assembly.
I was so pleased this young chef had suggested using walnuts in soup. It was a wonderful starting point. The heat and sweet we added made this soup a keeper for my own recipe file. In the end, we all loved its slurpy goodness! If you prefer a blander, flatter taste, check out this recipe, which is similar to the one I started with.
Vinny’s Cream of Walnut and Mushroom Soup
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons flour (I always use whole-grain)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup walnuts, whizzed in a mini food proessor
- 1 Thai chili pepper with the stem removed, left whole
- juice from two oranges (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup skim milk
- fresh parsley or cilantro
- In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon on medium heat for a few minutes to release the fat.
- Add the mushroom, onions, garlic and celery. Saute until they get limp.
- If the fat is completely absorbed, add a tablespoon of coconut oil and the flour. Stir the flour into veggies for a minute or two while it browns.
- Add the stock a little at a time, stirring after each addition until well combined with the veggies.
- Add the walnuts, mushrooms, chili pepper, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the milk.
- Taste. If it’s spicy enough for you, fish out the Thai chili and toss it away. If you want more heat, leave the pepper in the soup for the next step.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Taste again and add a little salt if necessary, a few gentle shakes at a time.
- To serve, reheat gently, spoon into bowls, and garnish each serving with a cilantro leaf and a few walnut pieces.
This soup provides a taste sensation along with powerful nutrients from the walnuts and mushrooms, as well as a little metabolic nudge from the pepper.
A one-cup serving provides 330 calories chalk full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as plenty of the rare and valuable omega-3 fatty acid.
Specifically, it’s a phenomenal source of all the B vitamins, with up to 50% of your daily requirement in the one serving. It’s also excellent for vitamin E and D, both essential and both best obtained from food rather than supplements. All but 5 of the 26 grams of fat come from the good kind and mostly omega-3. A single bowlful gives you 10 grams of protein (1 full protein serving) and provides 2.5 servings of fruit and vegetables. I mean, wow!
- Walnuts raw, develop the jaw: Crunchy leafless party salad Vinny’s salad has much more than walnuts to offer you in the name of good health. There’s broccoli, barley, apple cider vinegar and cranberries, too, all nutrition powerhouses in one way or another.
- Where’s Walnuts? Crunchy or pureed, if we’re smart, walnuts will be found hiding on our plates in everything from soup to salads! An ode to walnut’s unique nutrition.
- The Faerie Queene’s Mushrooms: Pure Majic! A fairy tale format unfolds to reveal the astounding secrets of mushroom nutrition.