This comforting mushroom noodle soup recipe with handmade pasta called ‘lapsha’ makes a centuries-old Russian vegetarian soup. Historically eaten during the Orthodox Great Lent period of fasting, when eggs and sour cream would have been forbidden, this hearty nourishing soup with hand-cut noodles can be enjoyed any time of year. Serve with plenty of fresh fragrant dill and rye bread.
This mushroom noodle soup recipe for a Russian vegetarian soup made with hand-cut pasta called lapsha, is one of my favourite handmade pasta recipes. I love my soups, especially hearty Russian soups and Ukrainians soups, such as shchi and borscht, and I adore mushroom recipes, and there are few soups more satisfying to make and more enjoyable to eat than a soup with handmade noodles and mushrooms.
It’s with a heavy heart that I share this post today, however, because my grandparents were Russian and Ukrainian, and as I re-write the introductory text to this post, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s forces are arriving in armoured vehicles and tanks in the Ukraine capital, Kyiv, having invaded the country yesterday.
While it was heartening to see hundreds of thousands of Russians protesting Putin’s war on Ukraine in scores of Russian cities overnight, including the heart of Russia’s capital Moscow and Putin’s hometown St Petersburg – with over 1,700 people arrested, including elderly baboushkas – harrowing images out of Ukraine today gave us all a glimpse into the violence and destruction to come.
Let’s hope for the sake of the Ukrainians who’ll have another sleepless night this evening that Russians take to the streets of Russia’s cities and towns to protest again tonight, that people around the world show their disgust and support, and that global leaders are able to persuade Putin and Russian forces to pull out of Ukraine immediately.
If you want to help the people of Ukraine, the best thing to do for now is to donate funds to established international non-governmental organisations such as the Ukrainian Red Cross, Save the Children and UNHCR, which are working with Ukrainian authorities to provide emergency cash and other assistance to Ukrainians. I’ll share more ways to help Ukrainians over coming days.
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Now let’s tell you more about my mushroom noodle soup recipe with handmade pasta.
Published 25 February 2022.
Mushroom Noodle Soup Recipe with Handmade Pasta for a Centuries Old Russian Vegetarian Soup
This comforting mushroom noodle soup recipe with hand-cut pasta will make you a centuries-old Russian vegetarian soup. Traditionally eaten during the Orthodox Great Lent, which begins after Pancake Week or Maslenitsa next week and runs until Easter, this delicious broth provided so much nourishment that the forbidden meat, eggs and sour cream wouldn’t have been missed.
Though having said that, if you’re not an Orthodox Christian, I highly recommend a dollop of sour cream. Before I tell you more about this mushroom noodle soup recipe, I want to tell you a little more about my family and heritage and culture that I hope will shed a little light on this tragic situation, and even offer a little hope.
My Russian-Ukrainian grandparents died decades ago and I miss them terribly. Not a single day passes without me taking some time to reminisce. I miss my living family members in Australia so much that it hurts. We haven’t been able to see since the pandemic and we still don’t know when we might see them again. Hopefully it won’t be too long, as it is times like these that I’m reminded how very important family is.
Cooking the food of my family – the dishes I watched my baboushka cook in her Blacktown kitchen as a child; that we all enjoyed over seemingly never-ending meals around my grandparents dining table – and exploring my culinary heritage is a way for me to connect with my family, living and dead.
As the grand-daughter of grandparents of Russian-Ukrainian origin, born in the early 1900s in the land now known as Ukraine, when it was part of the Russian Empire, I grew up listening to my baba and papa share stories of their homeland.
Their tales were always told around that same dining table – stories that were as beautiful and bittersweet as they were terrifying and tragic; tales of bliss, tales of loss.
Although my grandparents were born and raised in very different places and wouldn’t meet until World War II, in a displacement camp in Germany, their shared culture, connection and memories would have played a major part in bringing them together.
Their dreams, nightmares and aspirations would take them across lands and seas to Australia, with my great-grandmother and mother in tow, then just a baby, along with fellow refugees from Poland and Hungary, Ukraine and Russia, then part of the Soviet Union.
It’s times like this, as tanks roll into Kyiv, that I’m reminded that had my grandparents have returned to their homelands, they would have identified as Russian-Ukrainians rather than Russian-Australians.
While online food wars about the origins of shared dishes such as borscht and pelmeni might give you the impression that they’re enemies, many Russians and Ukrainians, especially younger generations, consider themselves sisters and brothers – which is why so many Russians took to the streets of Russia last night and, we hope, tonight will do the same again.
Russians and Ukrainians are much more alike than they are different, their long rich histories and cultures so intertwined it can often be difficult for outsiders to distinguish between the two, the best example of their shared connections felt in their cuisines and culinary cultures.
Which brings me back to food. But I’ll pick up on this subject again in another recipe post I’d scheduled before Putin invaded Ukraine. For now, let me share a few tips to making this comforting mushroom noodle soup recipe because we all need comfort right now. I wonder how many times I’ve written that over the last two years.
Tips to Making this Mushroom Noodle Soup Recipe with Handmade Pasta
I only have a few tips to making this comforting mushroom noodle soup recipe with handmade pasta. My first piece of advice is to make these noodles yourself: no matter how intimidated you’ve ever been by the idea of making handmade pasta, don’t be tempted to use shop-bought stuff.
These handmade noodles are super-easy to make and there are few things more satisfying than eating rustic hand-cut noodles that you’ve made yourself. I guarantee that you’ll get hooked on the act of making noodles, which is really very therapeutic, especially if you open a bottle of wine, which will also give you confidence.
Make these noodles with loved-ones and you’re also making memories, which I guarantee will give you just as much comfort as this soup one day.
My only other tip is in the timing. While you need to let the dough rest a bit, you can prep your ingredients and get the soup on the stove during that time.
Then while the soup is simmering, you can make the noodles. While it’s good to leave the noodles to dry out a little before you boil them, it’s really not necessary to hang them over clotheslines or chairs, just spread them out on a tray or two.
As long as I’m confident my noodles are covered in flour, I’ll even leave them in clumps, as we don’t have a lot of kitchen bench space.
My final tip for making this mushroom noodle soup recipe: whatever you do, don’t pop your noodles into the soup pot until you’re ready to eat, as they’ll be ready in a few minutes. You could leave them in there for longer, but note that they’ll continue to soften. It’s better to time things well instead.
So make sure you’ve sliced your rye bread or sourdough, opened another bottle of wine, and have your dishes of dill and sour cream ready before you even think about sliding your noodles into the pot.
Mushroom Noodle Soup Recipe with Handmade Pasta
- 100 g plain flour
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp table salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 220 g brown onion - finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves - peeled, smashed and finely chopped
- 300 g mushrooms - sliced
- 2 litres of boiling water/stock
- 330 g potatoes - peeled and diced
- 220 g carrot - peeled and diced
- 4 bay leaves
- ½ tsp
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 30 g fresh dill - roughly chopped
- freshly cracked black pepper - to taste
- fresh dill - for garnishing
- sour cream - to serve
- To prepare the noodle dough: in a large mixing bowl, with clean hands, combine the flour, egg and salt, and knead for 10 minutes. If too dry, add a little water; you shouldn’t need more than a teaspoon or so. Form into a ball, cover the bowl with cling wrap, and rest for 30 minutes.
- To make the soup: in a round-bottomed wok, fry-pan or skillet over medium-high, heat a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, fry the onions until soft and translucent, add half the chopped garlic, combine and fry until fragrant. Transfer to a soup pot/Dutch oven.
- To the wok/pan, heat another tablespoon each of olive oil and butter, turn heat to high, and fry the mushrooms until brown, add remaining garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, add a pinch of salt, then transfer to a dish and set aside.
- To the soup pot/Dutch oven containing the onions and garlic, add one litre of boiling water (or stock of choice or combination of water and stock), then add the diced potatoes and carrots, bay leaves, salt, white pepper, spices, and half the dill, and bring to a boil.
- Add another litre of water, bring to a boil again, then reduce to low, add the mushrooms, taste and adjust the seasoning and spices to your palate, then leave to simmer on low heat.
- To make the noodles: sprinkle your work surface with flour, divide the dough into four balls, working with one at a time (leave the others under cling wrap), roll the dough into a thin sheet, forming it into a rough rectangular shape, then dust a little flour across the sheet.
- Using a knife, working from one side of the dough sheet to the other, starting at a top corner, cut a long thin strip of dough about 5mm in diameter to create a noodle. Repeat until you’ve sliced the whole sheet of dough into noodles.
- Sprinkle a large tray with flour, dust your hands in flour, then working with one noodle at a time, holding each end between your two hands, gently pull the noodle a little, stretching it to near breaking point. (Don’t worry if it breaks.)
- Hold a noodle from a tip so the rest hangs down, wrap a flour-dusted hand around the top of the noodle and gently slide your hand down so the noodle is lightly covered in flour, then spread the noodle out onto the tray. Repeat with all noodles made so far.
- Repeat the three noodle-making steps above with the remaining balls of dough then leave the noodles to dry until you're ready to eat.
- Just before you’re ready to eat, turn the heat up to bring the soup to a boil again and add the noodles. They will only take a few minutes to cook, so take care not to over-cook them.
- Ladle the mushroom noodle soup into bowls, grind more cracked black pepper on top, garnish with fresh fragrant dill, and spoon a dollop of sour cream onto each bowl.
Please do let us know if you make my mushroom noodle soup recipe in the comments below, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.