Vegan wild rice soup is loaded with seitan chicken, carrots, celery, onions, kale, and garlic. You’ll taste the flavors of rosemary, thyme, and herbs de Provence in every creamy bite.
It’s a one-pot meal that’s perfect for cooler weather. It can also be made gluten-free.
Creamy chicken and wild rice soup is a classic with chunks of carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. But vegans don’t need to go without this fall and winter favorite!
It’s easy to make a dairy-free, plant-based version by swapping out the bird for seitan chicken instead.
You still get toothsome wild rice, along with protein-packed seitan. It’s finished in a velvety broth with cashew cream.
What is wild rice?
Wild rice is a bit of a misnomer. Although rice is in the name, it’s actually a type of aquatic grass. It grows in marshes along lakes and streams.
(My friends from Minnesota take particular pride in it, as it’s one of their most beloved local crops.)
Wild rice has a deep brown color, pleasing chewiness, and an earthy, nutty flavor.
You can find wild rice in stores next to the packaged grains or online. It’s often sold in bulk bins as well at natural grocery stores.
Wild rice has a longer cooking time than white, brown, or basmati rice. That’s why this soup recipe takes a little longer than soups with standard rice or potatoes as its carb-y base.
For the vegan meat, I like to use my own homemade seitan chicken recipe.
I make it by the loaf. It can be used in a myriad of ways. And it also freezes well.
However, if you’d prefer, you can use any store-bought chicken-style or turkey-style seitan of your choosing. I especially like the seitan from Herbivorous Butcher or Upton’s Naturals. This is also a great way to use Thanksgiving roast leftovers.
How to make it
Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe.
Start by making the cashew cream. Blend raw cashews with water in a high-speed blender.
(Have a standard blender? Soak the raw cashews for several hours first & drain to soften them. Or grind dry raw cashews in a clean coffee grinder and then add them your standard blender.)
Then set the cashew cream aside for later.
1. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and salt in a pot or Dutch oven with oil.
2. Once the onions are translucent & fragrant, add wild rice, dried rosemary, dried thyme, herbs de Provence, and pepper. Sauté a couple minutes more.
3. Add water, Better Than Bouillon no chicken base, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender.
4. Then add the cashew cream from earlier, diced chicken seitan, and chopped curly kale. Bring back to a low simmer, and cook 10 more minutes to thicken. Add more salt & pepper to taste.
Make it your own
You can make this creamy vegan soup your own by varying the ingredients.
Make it gluten-free
Make this soup gluten-free by using a gluten free bouillon or vegetable broth.
Then for the protein, choose beans or Soy Curls instead of seitan. Use an equal amount of Cannellini beans, Great Northern beans, chickpeas, or hydrated Soy Curls.
Replace the onions
Yellow onions can be replaced with chopped shallots, sliced leeks, or diced red onions.
If you’d like some shroom-y goodness in your soup, add your favorite chopped mushrooms at the same time as the carrots, celery, and onions. (Think baby bella mushrooms, cremini, or button.)
Or the mushrooms can replace either the celery or carrots.
If you add a lot of extra vegetables, you’ll need to add more water.
Vary the rice
Instead of wild rice, use basmati brown rice, white rice, or pink rice.
Wild rice needs more water to hydrate, so you can use less water with one of these other grains.
Water ratios vary by grain. So try using 2 fewer cups of water to start. You can always add more later in the cooking time if it seems necessary.
Swap out the seasonings
The soup is seasoned with herbs de Provence, thyme, and rosemary. If you don’t have any one of the seasonings, feel free to use more of the other types.
Instead of dried rosemary or thyme, use fresh instead. The general guideline is that 1 teaspoon of dried herbs equals 1 Tablespoon of fresh (because the flavor is intensified & concentrated with dried.)
Use vegetable broth
The water + bouillon can be replaced with veggie broth if you prefer.
Replace curly kale
Curly kale can be replaced with lacinato kale, red kale, or collard greens.
Collard greens are sturdier/denser than kale. So you’ll want to add them earlier in the cooking time. Add chopped collards at the same time as the wild rice, so it has plenty of time to soften.
What to serve with it
This soup is a wonderfully hearty one-pot meal. You can easily enjoy it on its own, with crackers, vegan croutons, or garlic bread.
Or fill out the meal with any of these side dishes:
- Warm bread & dukkah
- Crackers & olive tapenade
- Warmed Castelvetrano olives
- Salad with persimmons & delicata squash
- Easy spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with apples
How to store leftovers
Keep leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. It will keep for about 4 days. The kale will lose its bright green color over time, but it will still taste good.
When you’re ready to reheat, simply heat the soup in a pot on the stove or warm in the microwave.
This creamy wild rice soup will continue to thicken as it cools. So be sure to add some splashes of water when reheating until it is your preferred level of soupiness.
Can I freeze it?
Creamy soups made from dairy like cream or milk can split in the freezer. However, soup thickened with cashew cream freezes beautifully.
Simply put any cold leftovers into a freezer-proof glass container, or freeze flat in a freezer bag.
When you’re ready to reheat, thaw in the refrigerator. Or if you’re using a microwave-safe container, use the defrost function on the microwave.
Then reheat in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
The soup thickens with time. So add extra water, if needed, to reach your preferred consistency.
More vegan soup recipes
Here are more vegan soup recipes I know you’ll love:
- Double lentil mushroom barley soup
- Creamy vegan tomato soup
- Vegan miso soup
- Creamy gnocchi soup with sausage & kale
- Potsticker soup
Creamy vegan wild rice soup with seitan
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup raw cashews soaked & drained if necessary
Vegan chicken & wild rice soup
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil or your preferred oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 carrots sliced thick
- 4 celery ribs sliced thick
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Pinch salt plus more to taste
- 1 cup wild rice rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary crumbled in fingers
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
- Dash pepper
- 8 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon no chicken base or your preferred bouillon
- 2 cups diced seitan chicken in bite-sized pieces (about 11 ounces)
- 4 leaves curly kale chopped with ribs removed (about 2 big handfuls)
For the cashew cream
- Put 1 cup of water and ¾ cup of raw cashews in a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. (You'll know it's ready when there are no crunching sounds in the blender.)If you don't have a high speed blender, check out the workarounds for standard blenders in the notes section below.
- Set the cashew cream aside for use later in the recipe.
For the soup
- Bring a large soup pot or Dutch oven to a medium heat with oil. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute for several minutes, until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
- Add wild rice, rosemary, thyme, herbs de Provence, and pepper. Stir and saute for a couple minutes more.
- Add 8 cups of water and Better Than Bouillon no chicken base. Stir and bring to a low simmer.
- Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender. Once the rice can be bitten easily, continue with the recipe.
- Add diced chicken seitan, cashew cream, and chopped curly kale. Bring back to a low simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes. This allows the kale to soften, the flavors to meld, and the soup to thicken in creaminess.
- Once the soup has thickened a little, add more salt and pepper to taste. Then serve.
- Grind dry raw cashews in a clean coffee grinder until it becomes like a flour. Add it to the blender with water.
- Soak raw cashews in water for several hours. Then drain and add to the blender with fresh water.
- Microwave raw cashews in water until hot or cover them in hot water from the stove. Soak for at least 10 minutes. Then drain and add to the blender with fresh water.