As a lot of you know, medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens are all the rage right now. You’ve likely seen them on Instagram in wellness bloggers bulletproof matcha lattes, in coffee and healthy tonics and elixirs. Literally they are everywhere these days.
BUT what the hell is lions mane?
That is what my family asked when I said thats what I was cooking with this past Sunday afternoon. I was, as you can imagine, so excited to drop some mushroom magic knowledge on them.
Lions mane is really cool and has been found to potentially have insanely beneficial qualities to it. Because of its brain boosting and cancer fighting ways it has been popular in Chinese Medicine.
One study that I came across on Pub Med from Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found lions main to have an impressive guest list of benefits including:
“antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, anti-fatigue, antihypertensive, anti-hyperlipodemic, anti-senescence [anti-aging], cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective, and improves anxiety, cognitive function, and depression.”
I mean, I want all of that from the food I eat.
I wanted to figure out another way to use it that wasn’t in a smoothie or fancy latte. Not that that is not a great way to use it, it absolutely is, I am just a savory, would rather eat my calories, kind of girl (most of the time). So I asked the mushroom forager at the farmers market where I bought them how she uses them and she said soup. so soup it is.
Considering how harmful alcohol is for our brain and the fact that I drink it pretty often gets me really excited to add this mushroom to my diet.
It has been found to support the growth of neurons in our brain which could help protect us from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cognitive decline is something I have a geniune fear off as I watched it happen to my grandma and its was really difficuly on my whole family which I am sure some of you can relate to.
Additionally, It potentially can help protect against cancer and reasearch has found that it can prevent the build up of “bad”LDL cholesterol making it heart health friendly. AND its also good for digestion and inflammation so it really does a lot of things for being a fungus.
Ok but HOW DOES IT TASTE?
Not going to lie, it has a mushroom-y taste for sure, however it is slightly sweet and the texture of it is really nice in this soup. Kinda meaty if I had to describe it. Since this soup is pureed the mushroom chunks add a nice texture, while the hazelnuts add another layer of sweet and crunch. If you like cilantro then I reccommend being a little heavy handed on it because it really adds to the overall spoonful.
Sweet Potato Soup with Brain Boosting Lions Mane
Serve 4 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 40 minutes
6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and roasted
3 cups cauliflower, roasted
1 cup yellow onion, roasted
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp miso pasta
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
4-5 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp maple
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp pink salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cup lions mane, dried and chopped in bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat over to 400f
Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Chopped the cauliflower into small florets. Chop the onion. Then lay it out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast for 20 minutes or until fork tender
Then add the veggies, onion, garlic, aqua faba or vegetable broth into a vitamix or high speed blender. Blend until smooth, adding in the water 1 cup at a time to blend. Then add the spices, vinegar, miso, tamari, lemon juice and maple syrup. Blend again. Then taste it.
Adjust the flavors as needed. Lemon or vinegar for brightness and sour, tamari or miso for umami (salty/savory), maple for sweetness.
Then transfer to a soup pot and add in mushrooms. You want them to be bite sized, so they would easily fit on a spoon. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Top with a lid and let cook for about 20 minutes so the flavor can blend.
To serve top with hazelnuts, cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.