These chilly January nights call for a hot, steaming bowl of hearty clam chowder. But wait! How do you make a recipe vegan when the main ingredient isn’t?
In this recipe, Isa Chandra utilizes the chewy texture of mushrooms in place of clams and the sea-like flavor of nori to create the perfect vegan version of this winter favorite.
The best part is you won’t miss out on the heartiness this soup because it still includes the much-loved staple root vegetables, potatoes and carrots, which make the chowder alone a filling meal. On top of that, you’ll get that ocean-y taste that is simply essential to clam chowder via the nori, which are pressed and toasted sheets of seaweed.
What else can you make from seaweed? Believe it or not, this intriguing Raindrop Cake!
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 teaspoons organic cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced medium
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick half moons
- 3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 to 2 nori sheets, finely chopped (see note above)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Optional: fresh chopped parsley or chives for garnish
- Vegan Saltine crackers, for crushing over the top
- Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat.
- Saute onion and carrots in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, for about 10 minutes, until carrots are softened.
- In the meantime, make the cashew cream: Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth and cornstarch.
- Blend until smooth (between 1-5 minutes, depending on your machine.) Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every now and again to make sure you get everything.
- Back to the soup. Add mushrooms and celery and cook about 3 minutes, just until mushrooms are softened. (You want them to keep their texture.)
- Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, nori, and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not mushy.
- Stir in the cashew cream mixture, and gently heat uncovered for about 7 minutes, until nicely thickened. Add the tomato paste and lemon juice and taste for salt and seasoning. Add a extra water if it seems too thick.
- Serve garnished with parsley or chives, if you like, and a few saltine crackers. A wedge of lemon looks pretty, too.
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