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Chicken of the Woods Wild Rice Soup

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Chicken of the Woods Wild Rice Soup is hearty, warming, healthy, and a great way to embrace cooler weather. It’s really a vegan wild rice soup- it’s a passed down family recipe that’s been veganized.

This creamy soup is perfect for chilly weather, dipping in bread, and warming your soul. This soup is a Minnesotan classic that is a bowl of comfort!

Chicken of the Woods Wild Rice Soup is a cozy fall soup perfect to enjoy after a day of mushroom foraging, or autumn hiking. Try this classic Minnesotan recipe to warm your soul!
chicken of the woods wild rice soup


This is a veganized version of a classic family recipe that uses the mushroom chicken of the woods in place of chicken. If you don’t have the mushroom chicken of the woods swap it out with presoaked soy curls, TVP chunks, or some seitan chicken!

No matter how you customize it with chicken of the woods, seitan, or soy curls you are still getting a traditional Midwestern Classic.

Try using a homemade vegetable broth for the base of this soup using saved veggie scraps or try adding some homemade chicken style seitan chunks for a more meaty experience.

Chicken of the woods wild rice soup with some bread.

Featured Ingredients

Coconut Milk

To make this vegan wild rice soup creamy you will need a can of full fat coconut milk along with some potato starch to help thicken it up. There is no coconut flavor- the salt, mushrooms, and veggies overpower the coconut leaving you with a rich creamy broth.

Chicken of the Woods Mushroom

This soup is made using wild chicken of the woods mushrooms, or Laetiporus sulphureus. It’s a meaty, chicken-like mushroom that grows along the west coast, east coast and in the Midwest. They like to grow on and around hardwood trees and stand out with their vibrant orange hue.
They are considered a great beginner forager mushroom since they are very distinctive and have no poisonous look-a-likes. In warmer areas they can start to pop up as early as April and can be found throughout the summer. Their peak season is in the fall during September through October.
What’s cool about these mushrooms is they are very chicken-like in flavor and texture. They even shred like chicken!
Did you luck out and score more Chicken of The Woods?! Try out these Chicken Of The Woods Wings too!

Chicken of the Woods on a board
Chicken of the Woods Substitutes

Since they aren’t always available you can sub out these mushrooms with another meaty mushroom like hedgehog (sweet tooth), Hen of the Woods, or Oyster Mushroom. Granted, those mushrooms are not very similar to the Chicken of the Woods; it will change the mouthfeel and flavor.

Another option is using chicken style seitan chunks. Wheat meat (seitan) is chicken like in the way it shreds with a meaty mouthfeel. It’s a high protein, low fat substitute that works beautifully in this recipe. You could pick up some plant based chicken as well, brands like Gardein, Boca, and Morning Star are all good options. Soy curls are another great option! They are very chewy and meaty compared to traditional tofu and work great in soups.

I’ve seen recipes where they sub out chicken with chickpeas, like chickpea noodle soup. In theory, it sounds like a healthy plant-based option that is very heart healthy. I haven’t tried it for this recipe so I can’t speak to how it would be. I imagine it would be very light, yet warming!

Chicken of the Woods in a group
Wild Rice

To make this Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup you’ll need wild rice.
Wild rice is a very healthy grain that is chewy, meaty, and wonderful in this soup. It’s not even a rice at all, but really a grass seed that is harvested in marshes. It is a staple in many native recipes and a popular ingredient up North. It’s perfect for cozy meals, and wonderful in this hearty soup.

You don’t want to use a wild rice mix for this recipe, try to use plain wild rice if possible. The mixes frequently have white and brown rice, which can get mushy in this soup.
You’ll want to precook the wild rice before adding it into the soup, otherwise it absorbs too much broth. The result will have any leftovers get thick like a risotto. Since wild rice takes 40 minutes on the stove I like to use my Instant Pot to cook it for a faster result. Simply cook it at a 2:1 ratio for water to rice and cook for 30 minutes. Other recipes say to cook your wild rice in the Instant Pot for 35 minutes, but it’s better on the more chewy side when you are going to add it to soup.
Here are some directions to cook it on the stove, be sure to presoak it to save on cooking time.
Do not add raw wild rice to the soup before precooking it!

Wild Rice Substitutes

This wouldn’t be a wild rice soup without wild rice. However, I understand that it is not the most affordable rice. It may not be available where you live. While it’s widely available in places like northern Minnesota, but you might not have an easy time finding it in Texas or Arizona.

There isn’t another rice that is quite as dense and chewy (because it’s a grass, not a rice in the first place). I would not recommend using white rice in it’s place, since it would ruin the texture. However, I bet that a grain like farro would be great in the place of wild rice in this soup. Other possible options are red or black quinoa, barley, or even orzo pasta.

Cooking Methods

I used my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker to make this soup- however it is easy to make on the stove top! The pressure cooker helps speed up the recipe with only 10 minutes cooking time.
On the stove, it takes about 30 minutes- which is not bad for making homemade soup from scratch. The main cooking time is spent getting those carrots and celery to soften up and help get those flavors to marinate together.

chicken of the woods wild rice soup

Chicken of the Woods Wild Rice Soup

Chicken of the Woods Wild Rice Soup is a cozy fall soup perfect to enjoy after a day of mushroom foraging, or autumn hiking. Try this classic Minnesotan recipe to warm your soul!
Print Recipe
CourseVegan Recipes
CuisineMinnesotan
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Servings4 servings
Calories435kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Finely Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 2 Cloves Crushed and Chopped Garlic
  • 1 Cup Broken-up Chicken of the Woods
  • 2 Ribs Chopped Celery
  • 2 Medium Chopped Carrots
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Cooked Wild Rice
  • 3 tbs Potato or Corn Starch
  • 1 can Whole Fat Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp *Salt To taste
  • 2 tsp Mushroom Seasoning Optional

Instructions

Instant Pot Directions

  • Turn on the Sauté feature on the Instant Pot and add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, your chopped onion, and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes
  • Now add your broken up chicken of the woods, carrots, celery, white wine if using, and sauté everything together for another 4-5 minutes- until onions start to get a little clear
  • Add your salt, thyme, black pepper, and bay leaf. Sauté for one more minute
  • Add your vegetable broth, wild rice, and potato starch- stir well. Now cover the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 10 minutes
  • Release the steam and add a can of your coconut milk, stir well
  • Serve with crusty bread, a green salad, and a glass of wine

Stove Top Directions

  • On medium heat add 2 tbs of olive oil, your chopped onion, and garlic to a large stockpot – sauté for 2 minutes
  • Now add your broken up chicken of the woods, carrots, celery, white wine if using, and sauté everything together for another 4-5 minutes- until onions start to get a little clear
  • Add your salt, thyme, black pepper, and bay leaf. Sauté for one more minute
  • Add your vegetable broth, wild rice, and potato starch- stir well. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes- until carrots are soft.
  • Add your coconut milk and stir well. Taste to see if any more salt is needed (amounts varies due to variable broths)
  • Serve with your favorite bread, good company, and a warm fire!

Notes

  • You can add either 1 tbs chickpea flour or all purpose flour as well. The purpose is to help thicken the broth.
    Do not use tapioca starch here- you don’t want your soup to be gooey!
  • I made this recipe with light coconut milk once since my grocery store was sold out of whole fat coconut milk one time I made this.
    I added 2 tbs of powdered coconut milk with another tablespoon of coconut oil. It worked great!
  • To Precook Your Wild Rice:
    Pressure Cooker-
    The best method to precook the wild rice is in a pressure cooker for the quickest result. Do a 1:1 ratio of water to rice and cook for 40 minutes
    You do not need to soak the rice in this method Stove Top-
    Otherwise presoak your wild rice either overnight or for at least 3-5 hours, then cook on the stove with a water ratio 1.5:1 to rice and cook covered for 40-60 minutes.
    The rice can be slightly chewy since it will finish cooking with the rest of the soup
  • Consider adding 1/4 cup dry white wine when you are sautéing your onions and garlic- it adds a sweet depth that is wonderful in cream sauces and broths. The alcohol will cook out and the wine will infuse your vegetables with a tangy sweetness.
    The flavor will be more earthy without it.
  • The amount of salt needed will vary depending on the vegetable broth you use. If you are using a homemade veggie scrap broth with no salt added you’ll want to add more salt vs using a prepacked vegetable broth.
    The premade vegetable broths tend to be high in sodium and may substitute any salt in this recipe.
    Try a 50/50 blend of black salt with truffle salt for extra depth in the broths flavor.
    Otherwise a simple sea salt also does the job!
    Taste as you cook to get your ideal proportion of salt.
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 2152mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 5600IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg

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    By on November 2nd, 2020

    About Jessica Flowers

    Jess Flowers is a multimedia specialist who creates vegan recipes using local and wild ingredients. Being plant based for over a decade, it is her mission to share delicious recipes that are made without animal products!

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