Creamy Sweet Corn Chowder (vegan)

You guys know I love a good soup, especially a creamy, dreamy, plant-packed soup. Well, I’ve got another one for you – Sweet Corn Chowder. This soup gives me cool-summer-night-at-the-beach energy, obviously topped with oyster crackers or served with crusty bread. But summer, the beach and vacation time are not required – it’s actually made with frozen corn and comes together in under an hour with energy to spare.

I also give the option of adding some clam chowder action with canned hearts of palm, a classic vegan sub for seafood. I chop them up in large irregular chunks and stir them in at the end, along with some of the brine-y liquid they come in. It’s definitely not required but it’s awfully delicious, if you’re a hearts of palm fan.

For the seasoning blend I used Old Bay as my inspiration – a classic chowder seasoning blend. I had to move beyond my Lean Pantry line-up of spices with some celery seed and nutmeg, but I actually keep both of these on hand as well (celery seed for coleslaw, nutmeg for baking). Other than that, it’s just some of my go-tos – thyme, paprika, black pepper and red pepper flake. Of course lots of the flavor comes from the ridiculous amount of produce I pack into this soup – potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion – and also from the easy plant-based cream made from cashews (or sunflower seeds if you prefer). So while this soup feels rich and indulgent, it’s actually quite balanced and nutrient-dense. Let me know if you give it a try!

Creamy Sweet Corn Chowder (vegan)
serves 4-6

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut oil
4 medium carrots, peeled/diced
4 large celery ribs, peeled/diced
1 large yellow onion, peeled/diced
salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled/minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1.5 teaspoons paprika
1.5 teaspoons celery seed
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake, optional
2 large russet potatoes (or other starchy baking potato), peeled/diced
1 lb frozen corn kernels
4 cups vegetable broth or stock, I’m using low-sodium
1 cup raw cashews (or about 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds)*

Optional

1 14-oz can hearts of palm, drained/chopped, liquid reserved*
oyster crackers, for serving
chives or scallions, for garnish

To Make

Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, then add garlic, give it a stir and then add the spices.

After 1-2 minutes, add peeled/diced potatoes, corn kernels, vegetable broth, 2 teaspoons salt (to taste) and two cups of water to the pot. Over medium-high heat, bring to a rolling simmer. Reduce to low and partially cover. Simmer for 20+ minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a high speed blender, combine 2+ cups of slightly cooled soup (mostly broth) with 1 cup of cashews. Carefully blend soup and cashews until it becomes a super smooth cream. Stir “cream” back into the soup pot. If using hearts of palm, add the chopped hearts of palm and 1/4 cup of the brine liquid to the pot when adding the “cream” back in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Hearts of Palm are a great way to add a brine-y seafood feel to plant-based dishes. For a clam chowder vibe, use chopped up hearts of palm and some of the liquid.

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