Gluten and Dairy Free Cream of Mushroom


I'm reposting this piece from last year. The soup is amazing, and I think everyone should make this for Thanksgiving!

There was a long time (until about 10 years ago) that I didn't care for soup much. I've always loved split pea with ham and New England clam chowder, but other soups just seemed thin and boring to me. In the recent past, though, I realized that soups, curries and stews are all based on the same principles, making me try thicker soups with lots of layers of flavor. A whole new world opened to me. And, of course Asian noodle soups are a favorite of mine now, so I can say I'm a soup lover through and through.

I came across a gluten and dairy free cream of mushroom soup (via my friend Thanya whose sister-in-law is an expert of all things allergen-friendly). And, this year, I added bacon to it, so now, it's perfect.

There are a lot of steps, considering that a traditional cream of mushroom soup doesn't involve three steps to thicken it. And, of course, I love cooking my mushrooms in butter, but that doesn't really fit into my diet right now. By using bacon fat, I was able to bring back some of the depth that butter gives the mushrooms (and of course, anything with bacon is better).

So consider this a nudge to make a wonderful and satisfying cream of mushroom soup for your friends and family this holiday season!

Gluten and Dairy Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

adapted from original recipe: Cybele Pascal, Allergen-Free Cuisine, 10.8.2010

serves 4 to 6


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small shallots finely minced
  • 1 ½ lb. mushrooms, chopped (I use a mix of white mushrooms and Chantrelles)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon porcini salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • ½ cup rice milk
  • 1/2 pound black forest bacon, cooked and diced


  • Over high medium -heat, heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot, large enough to accommodate all ingredients.
  • At this point, I also add in a bit of the grease from the bacon (used for garnish at the end). It give the mushrooms a nice richness.
  • Add porcini salt, shallots and mushrooms, stir often, cook for 3 minutes.
  • Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown.
  • Stirring well to coat mushrooms, add in thyme and tapioca starch/flour.
  • Reduce heat to low. Scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the tapioca and mushrooms incorporated, cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Making sure that all clumps are broken up, add 2 cups of the chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  • Stir well, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Boil remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and add quick-cook tapioca to the stock. Mix gently.
  • Add chicken stock/quick-cook tapioca mixture to the pot.
  • Keep the heat on a low simmer, stirring often to help the quick-cook tapioca dissolve. It's ready when the tapioca is completely clear.
  • Add rice milk.
  • Pulse in food processor (or use a hand blender or a blender) until desired texture is reached. I keep mine kind of chunky, but you can blend it all the way to smooth.
  • Serve in bowls with diced bacon on top.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini Veggie Pizza

Comfort foods are my best friend. My parents are both great cooks and go out of their way to make everyone's favorite foods at all times. One of my favorite childhood dishes, was the English muffin mini pizzas Joe (my dad) would make for us. Honestly, I can't remember if he made them very often , but this is a dish I always associate with him.

I've been wanting to make these mini pizzas myself, but I have two problems: gluten and dairy. In the past, I've made my own pizza crust with gluten free flour, but I just want to be able to throw together a quick and easy pizza, that reminds me of Joe's pizza.

My solution presented itself in the form of these great gluten and dairy free Amy's sandwich rounds. I haven't had much luck in finding a small roll or English muffin-type of bread in the past. These are amazing. They are nice and soft, but not too chewy and held up well with all of the toppings on them, too.

Veggie Pizza


  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 3 to 4 mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in olive oil
  • 3 to 4 asparagus stalks, steamed and cut into small pieces
  • Amy's Gluten-Free Sandwich Round or 1 English muffins or 1 pita cut in half
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. If using pizza dough: prepare as per the package instructions and pre-bake the dough halfway.
  2. If using English muffins or pita bread: place in a toaster oven or a regular oven on broil for 3 minutes.
  3. Take the partially baked pizza dough or the toasted bread and layer on top all of the veggies.
  4. Pour the oil over top, and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.
  5. Place back in the oven or broiler and cook until the veggies and crust/bread have browned slightly.

Serves 2. Prep time, 5 minutes; cook time, 5 to 20 minutes.

Cook’s note: You can add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese as a base, before you place the vegetables on the bread.




Leek and Cremini Mushroom Soup

A version of this recipe is featured on The Fruit Guys website.

I decided to give leeks another try this week. I've not always been a huge fan, as you can see from this post. But, I'm growing up (about time) and decided I needed to give the mighty leek another chance.

My chance came when I walked through my local farmer's market this weekend and spied a pile of leeks. Now was as good a time as any to give this a go. Right next to the leeks, I spotted some lovely cremini mushrooms for sale. I thought for a moment and knew that I could make a good soup out of these, with some little additions from my kitchen.

I chose to enhance the cremini mushroom flavor with mushroom broth. And, I used bread to thicken the soup, as I've done many times in other soups. I figured this way, the flavor of the leeks and mushrooms would really take center stage.

The soup, I must say, came out pretty tasty. It's very simple to make, since all you're really doing is cooking the cut up leeks in broth while you saute the mushrooms in oil. Not much too it, but the flavors are really nice and earthy. Very Spring-is-in-the-air type of dish.

This recipe has proven to me that I need to not be so stubborn about my likes and dislikes and at least get creative with an ingredient I had long-ago written off.

Long live the might leek.

Leek Soup

Cook’s note:  The recipe can be easily double or tripled, dependent on the amount of people you are feeding. 1 cup of leeks was the equivalent of two medium sized leeks cut into rounds.


  • 1 cup of leeks, cut into rounds
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup mushroom broth
  • ½ tablespoon minced basil leaves, or ¼ tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 slice gluten-free sandwich bread, cubed (I like Udi's)
  • 1/3 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the vegetable stock over high heat in a large saucepan.
  • Add the leeks and boil until soft, about 20 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add the sandwich bread to the soup. It should thicken the soup right up.
  • While the leeks are cooking, sautee the cremini mushrooms in the olive oil with some salt, over medium heat until crispy.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
  • Put the soup, basil and oil from the mushroom pan into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Serve the soup in bowls with the crispy mushrooms on top.

Chicken Picatta

Have you ever had a dish that just makes you smile? This dish does that for me. Gran Fran made this for me and Joe a few weeks back and it reminded me of weeknight meals from my childhood.

My parents were (and still are ) the King and Queen of the multi-task. Both Gran Fran and Joe worked at the same office. They took shifts getting the younger kids (mostly me) to school. Gran Fran would head into the City early (around 7am, I think) and Joe would go in after he dropped me at school (around 8:30am). The afternoon shift would mostly fall to my older brother and sisters, and we did live in a town where we could just go out and play, ride bikes or walk down to the store without too much trouble.

Gran Fran would arrive home around 5pm, in time to get dinner on the table. She did, however, instruct us post-school over the phone on how to prep the dinner and get anything in the oven that we could handle before she got there. This was before cell phones and e-mail, so Gran Fran called us at about 3:30 to get us started.

The only issue was that she was convinced everyone around her could hear everything she said. She spoke at barely above a whisper, which sometimes led us to some odd conclusions on ingredient measurements and cooking temperatures. The best part about her behavior was that for a good number of years, she was in an office with her door closed whilst having these illicit conversations with her children.

Gran Fran and Joe managed to raise another generation of multi-tasking adults in my brother, myself and my sisters. It is both a blessing and a curse. A Claro can get done in half a day what it takes a normal person a full day and half to do. I often get comments when I arrive at work (around 8am) after I've recounted the amount I've accomplished between the hours of 5:45 and 8am. It seems normal to me to finish two loads of laundry, put away the dishes, make breakfast and lunch for myself and my daughter, get the dinner ingredients organized, shower and get out the door. I guess it's a bit much.

The chicken picatta featured above makes for a nice easy weeknight meal. Not much fuss, lots of flavor and not too many dishes after cooking. It's the perfect end to an otherwise crazy day.

Chicken Picatta

serves 4


  • 1 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced chicken breast
  •  1/4 cup all purpose flour (I use Rice Flour)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper tp taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups marsala
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced


1. Salt and pepper chicken cutlets; dredge in flour.

2. Pour oil intoheated skillet 3. Saute cutlets on both sides until golden and just about cooked through.

4. Remove cutlets from pan; add mushrooms and saute until golden.

5. Add garlic and marsala; reduce slightly over high heat.

6. Return chicken to pan,stir; cover simmer until the marsala forms a nice gravy.

7. Serve sprinkled with parsley