This creamy summer vegetable chowder is rich and full of flavor.
It’s been a while, I know. But here we are again and I’ve got some big fat chowder to share. This stuff is good. It’s really really really creamy, without a single drop of heavy cream.
I got the inspiration while I was reading this kinda silly beachy book (no shame, silly beachy reads are so relaxing, even if you’re on the couch in the Midwest, and not on the beach at all) and the characters kept eating crab chowder and lobster chowder. And all of a sudden I really wanted some chowder, the creamy kind with huge hunks of veg.
I used to love Friendly’s clam chowder, just thought it was the best soup ever put on earth. Obviously I don’t eat that stuff anymore, but I can still make this delish chowder without harming a single sea creature. Well, that’s not exactly true. Just by living and being a consumer of everyday goods, I am hurting sea creatures. But I am trying to minimize my impact, I guess.
Speaking of minimizing my impact, for those of you who own cats, do you let them out? (this has a related point, i swear) I let my little girl out because she loves it, but also because if she doesn’t go out, she spends her whole day napping in the laundry basket. It makes me feel guilty because she’s not getting any exercise. But I also feel guilty (and here’s where “minimizing the impact” come in) when she brings me little “gifts” of birds and mice. Poor little field creatures.
Okay…enough about cute little household predators. Let’s talk chowdah.
The ultra rich and creamy soup base gets its texture from a rich array of produce, along with a fat scoop of cashews. You throw all these potato chunks in a pot with some onions and corn and garlic and nuts and squash. Let it get all bubbly and hot. The squash and onions and corn will practically melt, essentially turning into a broth for the potatoes to cook in.
When that’s done, you whir it together and end up with this crazy smooth vegetable cream. It will be so thick that you will need to stir in some water or milk to thin it out a bit.
Set the cream base off to the side for a sec, which will give the flavors time to really develop. While the cream base is relaxing, get to work on the other on the other ingredients.
I guess “work” is a misnomer, all you really do is sautee some stuff and then add it to the pot. This ensures that the soup will not be all one single flavor, as sometimes happens with cream soups. It will also offer you a variety of textures, which I personally love.
To add even more texture, ya gotta serve it with some bread or crackers. I am constantly working on this half chewy half crusty vegan/gf bread stuff, which is always good but never good enough for the blog. It was really good with this soup, though. What do you like to eat with soup?
Creamy Summer Vegetable Chowder
- 2 lbs good zucchini (not the spongy stuff!), thinly sliced
- 1 lb red skin potatoes, diced
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1 white onion, diced
- 6 ears of the freshest corn
- 1 bottle of your favorite beer
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3-5 cups of water or plant-based milk
- 1/2 lb carrots, cut to chunks
- 1/2 of a small purple cabbage, very thinly sliced
- about 1/4 lb green beans, French cut
- coconut oil
- caraway seeds
- squash blossoms, optional
- freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- Add the zucchini, the potatoes, the cashews, the onion, 1-2 of the garlic cloves, the beer, the bay, the thyme, and the nutritional yeast to a big sturdy pot. Strip the kernels off 3 of the ears of corn and add those in too.
- Cover the pot up tightly and set over medium heat. Let cook for 45 minutes. You can stir once or twice, but really try not to mess with it too much.
- Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for about ten minutes.
- Puree up everything that’s in the pot until it’s nice and smooth.
- Press it through a sieve to get out any corn skin or other bits that might have gotten past the blender blades.
- At this point, it will be super thick and really creamy. Add three cups of water or plant based milk, one at a time, to thin it out. If it is still to thick for your liking, add 1-2 more cups of water or milk.
- Strip off the additional corn kernels and add them to the cream base, along with some salt and pepper.
- Melt little bit of coconut oil on a skillet. Grate in a garlic clove and stir till fragrant, about 1-2 min.
- Add the carrots of the skillet and cover. Let them cook for about five minutes. Stir in the cabbage, a spoonful of caraway seeds, and some salt. Replace cover and let cook for an additional ten minutes.
- Once the carrots and cabbage are all nice and tender, add them to the cream base.
- Lightly sautee the beans. I am leaving this step vague on purpose because I like my beans very very green and crispy, barely cooked at all….and some people like them very very cooked and wilted. With that in mind, cook the beans to your liking, and then add them to the pot.
- If you are using the squash blossoms, add them to the saute pan that still has all the garlicky oil in it. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add them to the top of the soup.
- Reheat the soup till it’s bubbling.
- Ladle out the soup into individual bowls. Melt a little Daiya on top if you want.
- Get out some chewy bread, or some crispy tortillas, or some crackers, or whatever you like to eat with soup.
- Serve with love, with cold watermelon on the side and fresh lemonade.