Winter Melon Mushroom Soup with Seitan

This recipe is based on Chinese food traditions and ingredients, such as winter melon, mushrooms, seitan, and a flavorful broth. Simple, hearty, and wholesome, it’s like a comforting, nourishing bowl of goodness! Completely plant-based and gluten-free, this Winter Melon Mushroom Soup with Seitan satisfies everyone at your table. It can be served with a side of brown rice to make it a meal. While I’m not an expert at Chinese food traditions, I do enjoy and celebrate these delicious plant-based foodways. My dietitian friend, Elaine Gong Kubela, taught me how to make winter melon soup and helped me pick out the ingredients to go along with it at an Asian market in Orange County, California. I used my learnings from her, along with a few extra ingredients, to create this truly delicious, healthful soup. She loved winter melon soup as a child, and now I know why! It is so, so good—for the mind, body, and soul.

Winter melon

What is winter melon? Also known as ash gourd, winter melon is a mild-testing fruit that grows well in Asia and is a popular ingredient in food traditions there. It is a member of the gourd family, which also includes cucumbers and squash. The oblong gourd has white flesh that is very mild in flavor—it doesn’t taste sweet like other melons, and is good cooked. You can find it in Asian markets or farmers markets.

Winter melon for sale at an Asian market in California.
Wood ear mushrooms are available at Asian markets too.


Winter Melon Mushroom Soup with Seitan

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The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Total Time:
30 minutes

12 servings



Based on Chinese food traditions, this delicious, healthful Winter Melon Mushroom Soup with Seitan is a vegan, gluten-free meal that soothes the mind, body, and soul.


4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 pounds (including peel) winter melon, peeled, cubed
2 medium carrots, sliced
8 ounces wood ear mushrooms, sliced (may substitute for a different mushroom)
2-inches fresh ginger, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces seitan, chopped (make seitan from scratch here)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
4 green onions, sliced
1 chili pepper, sliced


Add broth, 3 cups water, rice vinegar and soy sauce to a large pot and heat until it comes to a boil.
Add cubed winter melon, sliced carrots, sliced mushrooms, shredded ginger, minced garlic, and chopped seitan.
Stir well, cover, and simmer over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Mix cornstarch with ¼ cup water and stir into soup, cooking for a few minutes until mixture thickens.
Pour into bowls. Garnish with green onions and chili pepper slices. Serve immediately.
Makes 12 servings (about 1 cup each).

Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 22 minutesCategory: SoupCuisine: American

Keywords: vegan soup, best vegan soup, winter soup, healthy soup, mushroom soup

For other plant-based soup recipes, check out the following:

Easy Curried Leek Vegetable Soup
Curried Yellow Lentil Stew
Carnival Squash Soup with Fresh Turmeric

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