Simple mushroom soup, 37p (MICROWAVE) (VEGAN)


I love making a mushroom stock when I have a few shrivelling up in the drawer of the fridge, cooking them long and slow with some garlic and onion and some dried or fresh herbs, before freezing it to use as the base of a flavoursome risotto or stew… Pungent and almost truffley, at just a fraction of the cost. But, my most recent fistful of wrinkly mushrooms were destined for the microwave project, along with some more of that large green passive-aggressive cabbage still rolling around in the fridge, which may make an appearance in the next ten recipes. So without further ado, allow me to introduce my very simple mushroom soup… Slightly salty, reminiscent of miso without any actual miso in, and so good I made it two days running.

To make a more substantial meal, you could add 50-70g uncooked rice, and an extra 50ml water, and cook it for an extra 2-4 minutes. Basic plain white rice would work well, but if your budget stretches to it, brown would give a nutty, delicious flavour. I’m going to try it later in the week with pearl barley, myself…

For a quick and easy work lunch, you could prepare all of the ingredients and cover with water, and simply ping it in the microwave to heat through. I carry soups around in jars with screw-on lids to be on the safe side (and no soupy paperwork) – just take the metal lid off before putting it in the microwave! Zzzzt!

Serves 1 at 37p each*

1 fat clove of garlic, 3p
30g onion, 1p
100g mushrooms, 24p
a handful of dark green leafy veg – I used cabbage, 8p
½ a vegetable stock cube, 1p

First peel and finely chop your garlic, and peel and finely chop your onion. Pop them in a microwave-safe container (NO METAL) and add a scant tablespoon of water. Cook on HALF power for 90 seconds, until softened but not burned, you just want to lose that raw edge to them.

Slice your mushrooms and thinly slice your dark green leafy veg, and add to the onions and garlic. Crumble over your stock cube. Cover with 250-300ml water, and stir well. The stock cube won’t dissolve until the water heats through, so don’t worry if it looks a little gross at the moment, it will all come together shortly.

Cover with clingfilm and pierce a few holes in the top to let steam escape and stop it from bursting/splattering your microwave with soup. Some people like to put a small plate on top instead, which works well too – use what you have and are comfortable with, there are many roads up the culinary mountain.

Cook on FULL power for two minutes, leave to stand for a minute, then repeat. And voila, a miso-y mushroom soup, ready in a flash, with very little effort. And huge amounts of deliciousness.

I worked out the cost of this recipe based on my most recent Sainsburys shop, because its my nearest big supermarket and where I do my weekly shop. Similar items are available at all the major supermarkets for around the same price – and things like loose mushrooms and onions may be cheaper at local shops or markets if you have any available in your area. Prices correct at the time of blogging but are subject to change. If you see any super offers on any of these ingredients at your local supermarket then please comment below as it’s good to share the bargain info. Basics garlic bulbs 35p/2. Basics onions 85p/1.5kg. Basics mushrooms 96p/400g. Savoy cabbage 80p. Basics vegetable stock cubes 25p/10.

I’ve given up my oven for Lent and am blogging recipes here – it’s a world of discovery but I hope it will be useful for people with limited cooking facilities, whether at home or at work, and if you’re looking to save money on your energy bills. You can follow the journey on Twitter and on Instagram and on Facebook

And finally, if you like my recipes, there’s around 200 for free on my blog that can be searched for in the ‘Search’ bar, either at the bottom of each post or on the top right hand side of the page, depending on whether you’re reading on a phone, tablet or computer. Just type in something you have in your cupboard or fridge, and see what it suggests!

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Jack xx


My new book, Cooking on a Bootstrap, is now available to order HERE.

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  1. For many years, I’ve understood that mushrooms should not be stored in ‘the drawer of the fridge’ – or anywhere in a fridge. Was I misinformed?

  2. Yummy! Can see me taking this is to work to blitz in the microwave-yummy!

    I buy the frozen cubes of garlic (and ginger) never really sure how much of a cube I should be putting in these recipes, any suggestions from any one would be helpful. Thanks in advance!

  3. I’m going to try this with some dried mushrooms I have in a tub in the cupboard. This is so much better than Marmite 😀

  4. 04.03.15 I did this for the first time today OMGosh it was lovely! I added some broken up egg noodles after microwaving on full for 1 min (running from kitchen to PC to read instructions – got muddled!) then microwaved twice for two minutes to make sure noodles cooked. I measured boiling water from the kettle into the measuring jug and added the stock cube to that so was able to make sure it had dissolved – not sure if this recipe really starts off with cold water in which case you would need to microwave for even longer I think. I did make a mistake in not reading it properly and put a whole stock cube in and also forgot the cabbage until later so microwaved it for 2 mins on full and added to in the bowl. I also had a little bit of soya milk with vanilla which I added which was wonderful. I have been experimenting with the home made pot noodle thing for a while – lots of links to others ideas if you google …

  5. How opportune Jack … I bought a large box of portobello type mushrooms late afternoon at the market yesterday for a matter of pence. Having shared them out with two friends, I still have a mushroom mountain. As I don’t have a microwave I’ll be adapting the cooking method, but thank you for the idea of a sumptious soup which will lower the mountain to a mere hillock! And thank you for all your other ideas – they are exciting and very uplifting.

  6. i made this with fine rice noodles and added some curry powder and a dried chilli at the same time as the stock cube. It took one minute longer but was like a pot noodle but healthy and much more satisfying. Thanks Jack for the inspiration.

  7. Quick question: I’m assuming you can make a big batch and freeze it? Has anyone tried this and found it doesn’t work?

  8. Omg. Jack, how amazing. Brand new reader of your blog today, and I can now make soup at work. I live/work in Bosnia where ingredients are really limited. Thanks for your idea to explore oven-free time and for using ingredients I can source.

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