Evan Kleiman’s Almost Instant Mushroom Soup: How to make it in a cinch

Evan Kleiman’s Almost Instant Mushroom Soup is easy to make, and the recipe can also be used as a condiment for a delicious mushroom risotto or as a base for stroganoff. If you use less liquid, it becomes a great pasta sauce or base for lasagne. Photo by Evan Kleiman/KCRW

Angeli, Evan Kleiman’s former restaurant, was known for soup, all of which were deeply flavored yet light because they were made using only water instead of broth. The vegetables and aromatics used in the soups created their own light broths as the soup simmered. 

Although all of them are simple to make, one of the easiest is Almost Instant Mushroom Soup.

Kleiman calls it “almost instant” because if you like using time-saving prepped produce, this is a cinch to put together quickly.  Trader Joe’s Mirepoix (diced onion, celery, carrot) is usually fresh, as are their sliced mushrooms. 

In addition to eating as a soup, this recipe is an excellent multitasker. You can use it as a condiment for a delicious mushroom risotto or as base for making stroganoff. If you use less liquid, it becomes a great pasta sauce or base for lasagne. (See more notes at the bottom of the page.)


Evan Kleiman’s Almost Instant Mushroom Soup features cremini mushrooms (or any mix you like), carrots, onions, celery, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Photo by Evan Kleiman. 

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced or 1 package Trader Joe Mirepoix
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 dry or 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 - 2” sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 - 10 ounce bags, Trader Joe’s sliced crimini mushrooms or
  • 2 pounds of any mix of mushrooms you like, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup any tomato sauce or canned tomato product
  • 6 to 8 cups broth/water
  • Small handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package roasted and salted pine nuts (optional)

Instructions

-Cook the chopped aromatic veggies in the olive oil over medium-high heat. If you salt the veggies, they will wilt faster. Don’t worry if you get a little browning around the edges. It will build flavor. Add the garlic, bay leaf and rosemary, and stir around in the oil. When you smell the garlic, add the mushrooms and additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir so that the mushrooms absorb flavor from the aromatics. Then add tomato sauce and enough water and/or broth to completely cover the mushrooms by an inch or so. Add parsley.

-Bring the soup to a simmer, and let it cook at least half an hour or until the mushrooms are cooked. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

-Add the pine nuts during the last 10 minutes of cooking if using.

Additional notes: 

Kleiman’s Instacart shopper once bought her a single 6 oz package of mushrooms instead of the one pound she asked for. Normally there would be more mushrooms to the amount of mirepoix pictured. It still made for great eating. 

Also, this is not a tomato soup with mushrooms. The tomato sauce is used as a condiment for acidity, umami and color. Don’t overdo it. 

Kleiman isn’t normally a pine nut aficionado unless they are real Pinus Pinea, the longer and more expensive variety that used to be the only variety. It’s a splurge of piney richness. The stubby pine nuts you find in grocery stores come from a different variety of pine tree. Those nuts can have the effect of giving you metallic “pine nut mouth,” which would be panic-inducing during COVID times.