My big holiday celebration for December is Winter Solstice.  Every year on December 21st I host a get together with friends and neighbours.  People have come to expect it and the soup I make for it.  The schedule for the party has always been the same.  Sunset walk for those who are able to get off work before 4pm with a warm soup ready for when we come back. There’s also a potluck and music jam.

If you crave some way to celebrate Winter Solstice with some wonderful people and good food (and soup), send me an email ( and I’ll give you the details of tomorrow’s event.  I wouldn’t want any nice people to miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the season in a no-pressure, easy-going environment.

This year I really wanted to make mushrooms the central theme. I wanted that creamy texture like cream of mushroom soup but a few of my friends don’t eat dairy.  The coconut milk and the quinoa created a rich flavour and smooth texture that I think I prefer over the dairy kind!

I will have little time from when I get home from work tomorrow and the walk start, so I’m using the Instant Pot to speed things up. It can also be done in a pot on the stove or slow cooker.

Ingredients (this made 4 litres)

3 Litres of Liquid Stock (I used both mushroom and chicken stock)
2 pounds of mushrooms (I used a mix of shittake, king, cremini and enokitake)
1 tablespoon of garlic
1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh thyme)
salt and pepper
1 cup of quinoa
1 cup of split yellow peas (cooked or add 7 minutes to the Instant pot pressure cooking time)


Using saute feature on high, put chopped mushrooms stirring occasionally, keep covered. Wait until the liquid from the mushrooms release.  Then add the rest of ingredients, (except coconut milk and enokitake mushrooms) stir and put on high pressure for 8 minutes, naturally release the pressure when it’s done.  Keeping Instant pot on warm, add coconut milk (add water to the can to get all remaining coconut milk).  Separate bunched enokitake and stir into soup.  Serve warm.  Happy Winter Solstice!

I made this soup today to warm up again tomorrow night for Winter Solstice.