Hearty Vegan Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup Recipe – with Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions

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Today’s vegan shiitake mushroom soup has quickly become our family’s favorite. It’s hearty and filling, entirely plant-based, oil-free, and better yet, it can be made both in the Instant Pot and on stovetop!

I’ve mentioned before that I could eat soup any time of the year, and I truly appreciate the fact that soup always makes great leftovers. Less time stressing over what to bring to work for lunch = happy and pleasant me.

Whenever I make this Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup, I almost have to hide the soup pot after Rob and I have a couple bowls 🙂 This vegan mushroom soup recipe is so good that we would gladly wolf down the whole pot and not leave any leftovers for the following day!

UPDATE July 2015: This recipe has been approved by Dr. Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts.org to be a part of his healthy plant-based recipe directory!

Hearty Vegan Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup RecipeI’ve made different variations of this soup in the past months, but it all started as an attempt to recreate one of my favorite soups form my childhood.

My parents used to make this hearty and delicious soup with rich cuts of lamb or beef back when I was a wee lass growing up in Russia. We called it kharcho (харчо in Russian) – if you Google it, it comes up as ‘Georgian lamb and rice soup’ (Georgia being the country in the Caucasus mountains, not the Southern US state).

I continued making this soup after I moved to the US long before Rob and I entertained any thoughts about going vegan. Rob absolutely loved this soup, and every pot of it never stayed around for too long in the fridge.

Vegan mushroom soup with chickpeas, barley and spinachThen our vegan days came. Although I was excited to discover so many delicious new plant-based dishes, I kind of missed the rich flavor of kharcho every now and then. What I didn’t miss was all the fat from oil and rich cuts of meat that saturated this soup.

For a while, I was sure that recreating this rich flavor in a vegan way was an impossible feat, especially if I wanted to make it oil-free. (See why I prefer to cook with no oil over here.) I kept trying though, and eventually this recipe was born!

Vegan Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup RecipeThe combination of tomato paste-based broth, mushrooms, chickpeas and rice gives this soup the exact richness I was looking for, no oil or added fat needed.

Shiitake mushrooms make a great substitution for meat strips in shiitake mushroom recipes like this one thanks to their chewy texture. You can use either fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms here. Dried shiitakes tend to run cheaper, so feel free to use those to save some money.

To make the soup even healthier, I top each bowl with a generous handful of chopped fresh spinach.

Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup Recipe - a vegan soup recipe with mushrooms and chickpeasWhy adding spinach before serving the soup, and not when it’s still cooking? I find that spinach wilts very well when added to a piping hot broth, and adding it to the pot of soup while it’s in progress tends to overcook spinach.

If you don’t want to top each bowl with fresh spinach, however, you’re welcome to stir it in right after you take the pot of soup off the heat.

Sprinkle each bowl with black pepper, chopped parsley or scallions, and you’ll get exactly the soup I grew up loving so much! Except for this time, it will be meat-free and much healthier.

Recently I adapted this recipe for the Instant Pot, and I have to say that this soup comes out even more delicious when pressure cooked! The recipe card below includes both Instant Pot and stovetop directions.

In case you have an Instant Pot but don’t feel very confident cooking in it yet, see my easy-to-follow 5-step guide to using an Instant Pot for beginners.

Trying to make being vegan easier both for yourself and your family? Check out my favorite vegan finds on Amazon, from useful cookbooks and vegan pantry staples to kitchen tools, products for vegan kids, etc.!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Vegan Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Chickpeas (Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions)

Vegan Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Chickpeas (Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions)

This rich and hearty vegan shiitake mushroom soup with chickpeas will be a hit with your family on cold winter nights. A yummy vegan mushroom barley soup that can be made in the Instant Pot or on stovetop. Top each bowl with fresh spinach or arugula, or add them to the soup just before taking it off the heat. Plant-based, vegan, oil-free recipe.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms*
  • 1/3 cup barley**, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup red lentils, uncooked (optional)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed***
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 cups of water or low sodium vegetable broth, plus more for sautéing vegetables
  • 1-2 cubes low sodium veggie bouillon (optional, best when using water instead of broth)****
  • Handful of fresh spinach or arugula, roughly chopped, to serve*****


  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Dash cayenne pepper


Instant Pot Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over shiitake mushrooms, set aside to soak for 10-15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

2. Mix all the spices in a small bowl, set aside.

3. Press Saute button on your Instant Pot. Once the inner bowl is hot, add 1-2 Tbsp water/broth (or oil if using). Add diced onion, carrots and celery, saute 3-4 min until the onion is translucent. Mix in 1/2 of the minced garlic and 1/2 of the spice mixture, saute 1 min.

4. Add shiitake mushrooms, barley or rice, red lentils, tomato paste, veggie bouillon**** if using, and 6 cups of broth (if we add all broth at once, it will take longer for the IP to reach high pressure). Press Cancel button.

5. Lock the lid in place, making sure that the vent lever is set to pressure. Press the Manual button and set the timer for 4 minutes. Once the time is up and your Instant Pot beeps, quick release for 10 minutes (let the timer reach 10 minutes, then press Cancel and carefully turn the pressure knob to release steam - be careful not to burn yourself when the steam starts coming out!).

6. Open the lid. Press Saute button. Add the potatoes, cooked chickpeas, two additional cups of broth, and the rest of the garlic and spices. Bring to a boil. Cook 10-12 bin until the potatoes are soft. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

7. Once the potatoes are done, press the Cancel button. Serve topped with spinach or arugula***** if desired.

Stovetop Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over shiitake mushrooms, set aside to soak for 10-15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

2. Saute diced onion, celery and carrots in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot with 1-2 Tbsp of water/broth or oil until the onion is translucent, 3-5 min. Add minced garlic, saute 30 seconds longer. Mix in tomato paste; stir the mixture until the paste is well incorporated. Add rinsed brown rice or barley and lentils, if using. Add all of the spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 min.

3. Meanwhile, slice the soaked shiitake mushrooms into 1/4 inch thick strips. Add them to the soup pot along with cubed potatoes and chickpeas. Pour the water or broth over the mixture. Add the bouillon cubes/low sodium soy sauce if using.

4. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-17 minutes. The soup is done when the rice/barley is soft, and the potato cubes can be easily split in half. If the soup looks too thick, add more water/broth and bring to a boil once more.

5. Taste the soup, adjust the seasoning.

6. Serve topped with chopped spinach or arugula***** and/or parsley if desired.


*I prefer using dried shiitake mushrooms because they have a chewier texture once cooked, plus they are more affordable than fresh shiitake, and have a long shelf life. Alternatively, sliced crimini mushrooms can be used, about 1 1/2 cup.

**For gluten-free option, use brown rice or any other type of gluten-free whole grains.

***Alternatively, use 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas.

****Or substitute with 1-2 Tbsp of low sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free).

*****I find that hot soup broth does a good job wilting fresh spinach/arugula, that’s why I suggest using it when serving the soup. Alternatively, you can add the greens to the soup just before taking it off the heat.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bowl

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 253 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrates: 50g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 8g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 12g
Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Tag @vegan_runner_eats on Instagram, rate this recipe above, or leave a comment.

Vegan Instant Pot mushroom and chickpea soup recipe - includes pressure cooker and stovetop cooking instructions | Vegan Runner Eats

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About Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.

12 Responses to Hearty Vegan Chickpea and Shiitake Mushroom Soup Recipe – with Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions

  1. Joan says:

    Hi! I would love to try this soup. Like you, I could eat soup any time. I have a problem though, I have a problem with all those mushrooms. Anything I can replace them for? I simply don’t like mushrooms. Or maybe I can reduce the recipe so I won’t be wasteing too much. I know mushrooms are good for you and I may even like the flavor of the broth because of them.

    • Alina says:

      Hi Joan, thanks for stopping by! There are a couple things you could do here. You can either reduce the recipe like you’ve suggested, or only use crimini (baby Portobello) mushrooms, chop them finely and add them to the soup at the same time as the broth. This way, they will cook down quite a bit so you may not notice them when you’re eating the soup. Dried shiitake may be too chewy for you, that’s why I think you should leave them out.

  2. Cadry says:

    This soup sounds delicious! Soup is one of my favorite meals too. You can pack so much healthy stuff into it. Plus, it’s very warming, and comforting too. That’s exciting that you were able to recreate an old favorite. It is a satisfying feeling veganizing an old standard and making it even better!

  3. Doug says:

    Sounds yummy – my wife and I are trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet and we will give this one a try. Thanks for the advice on when to add the spinach.

    • Alina says:

      Glad to hear you and your wife are trying more vegetarian dishes, Doug! As for spinach, I’ve been adding it to just about every soup and chili lately to boost nutrition even further.

  4. Corinna says:

    Hello, made this soup today and we loved it!!!!!!!! Soooo good!!!!!

  5. Hello! Alina. Your recipe are wonderful. I too have a vegetarian food blog. Please visit if you like


  6. Sharon B says:

    The instructions, paragraph 4. it mentions potatoes. Are there supposed to be potatoes in this recipe?

  7. Pingback: 35 One Pot Vegan Meals - Quick, Tasty, Easy Cleanup.

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