Vegan Clam Chowder

Vegan Clam Chowder

Vegan clam chowder is my latest recipe that I’ve just made. This idea has raised more than one eyebrow when I told people about it. Even my vegan friends gave me strange looks. 

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I’m not remotely vegan, and I probably never will be. But hear me out. This was a fun thing for a couple of reasons. One is that I had the opportunity to cook for a friend who otherwise wouldn’t be eating at my house. Plus with being a prepper, I find it important to try other options when the standard and traditional choices may not be available. 

The knowledge of how to transform somewhat unconventional ingredients into something familiar is important and why I wanted to give this a try. I’ve never followed recipes closely. I just use it as a baseline and develop my own from there, and that is a fundamental skill in prepping. This was the perfect opportunity to exercise some creativity. 

Ingredients: 

Mushrooms I picked crimini and used 8 small/medium ones. My vegan friend suggested more mushrooms, which I agree with because they were delicious, but not the star of the show. Next time I’ll use 10-12 or use larger mushrooms. 

Vegan Butter One stick 

Plant Milk Any type works. If you are vegan, you probably have a preference already. For me not knowing exactly what I wanted, I picked almond milk. The key here is to make sure that it is unsweetened. Click here for my recipe. But my concern was the sweet factor because many companies will add vanilla flavor to their products. 

All purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill flour is the best, in my opinion) I used 2 tablespoons. 

Celery four stalks, sliced thin. A mandoline works wonders for this. 

Onion ¾ of a medium yellow onion, diced. 

Potatoes 3 medium-large potatoes were plenty in this dish. I cut my potatoes into small cubes, making sure they were the same size to ensure even cooking. 

Vegetable broth (2 cans, click here for what I buy) 

Cashew cream

Nori One sheet, finely ground up using either an immersion blender or a spice grinder

Old Bay seasoning 2 teaspoons. 

Liquid smoke I used hickory in this case, but may try applewood in the future. 

Smoked Paprika for garnish. 

Green onion stems for garnish and added pop of freshness to the dish. 

Miso paste 2 tablespoons dissolved in ¼ cup of hot water. 

Salt and pepper to taste. I sprinkled in some garlic salt. 

Directions: 

Dice all vegetables on a large cutting board to maintain organization and correct cooking times. I’m a stickler for organization, and do all of my prep work first so that I am ready to start cooking. 

In a soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add in the mushrooms and saute. Add in the seasonings from there, and then the other veggies and nori. Grind up a sheet of nori first to have ready. 

Once the mushrooms have been sauteed and the remaining veggies are added in, more butter and a small amount of water (¼-½ cup) may be needed to cook everything and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the soup pot. 

Continue cooking and stirring. Add in the flour and stir into the butter and veggies. Once that has been incorporated, add the vegetable broth and plant milk. I let this heat up on medium heat until it started to simmer and turned it down to low for about 30 minutes and the veggies were tender but not mushy. 

Serve with some cashew cream swirled into the bowl, and garnish with smoked paprika and green onion stems. The cashew cream will add a creaminess to it and make it feel more like a typical rich chowder.  

Notes: 

My vegan friend thoroughly enjoyed this dish and was impressed by it. His only criticism was that the recipe needed more mushrooms. 

Nathan is my anti-vegan and feels that every meal should have a minimum of two animals in it. But he does eat his vegetables as well. He ate two full bowls of this chowder and enjoyed it. His comment was that he didn’t hate it like he had expected to. If I wanted to make a chowder and didn’t have clams, this would be a perfect substitute. I was shocked when he went back for seconds and told me that I could make this again for him. 

I tasted every vegan thing I put into this recipe before using it, because I was curious. Somehow I expected every vegan ingredient to be weird or terrible by itself. Not sure why, but probably a preconceived notion. The butter is the big one I was worried about. It is different than traditional butter, but not by much. In a blind taste test, I would say it reminded me of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread, in terms of texture and taste. My vegan friend said he uses an avocado-based vegan butter that is really tasty. I’m interested in trying that one. 

Opinions on vegan clam chowder

I did not like the nori in this recipe. It overpowered the entire thing for me. But I didn’t even like it when I opened the package and smelled it either. In the future I would either skip it or cut the amount in half. What I did was heat up some almond milk alone and strained the veggies in to temper that strong seaweed oceanic flavor. Nathan and our friend ate it normally, but I couldn’t handle the seaweed flavor. 

I would also add in a clove of minced garlic and some fresh herbs like thyme for the next batch, just to give it a little extra depth of flavor. Lemon may have balanced the ocean flavor with a pop of acidity as well. 

This vegan clam chowder recipe definitely turned out better than I expected, and it was a ton of fun to learn and try something totally new. It is a recipe that I will be making again. 

Discussion

Have you tried vegan clam chowder before? What is your favorite vegan food? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Check out my other vegan recipes!

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13 thoughts on “Vegan Clam Chowder”

  1. I would be so 100% into this considering I normally don’t eat chowder 🙂 Though I am not vegan this is one non-meat eating meal I stand behind. Kind of reminds me of a ministrone in a way but with a different flavoring. I’m goign to give this one a try for sure before winter ends.

  2. My wife tried out one of your recipes and it came out so well. Although that was a non veg dish, Pepper Chicken. This vegan dish looks so healthy without too many spices. I will ask her to prepare this tomorrow. Am excited to try this signature Erica dish.

  3. I’m not a fan of fish or anything fishy flavor but I love the way you took a classic Clam Chowder dish and created a Vegan version of it! I love vegan recipes, even though I’m not vegetarian because I find them so creative and interesting!

  4. Even growing up when I wasn’t vegan or vegetarian I was never a fan of clam chowder. Mostly because it was slimy to me and I knew what I was eating. But this recipe sounds amazing! And I’m sure I won’t have any issues with the texture of the mushrooms because not only do I LOVE mushrooms but I will know I’m eating a plant and, somehow, that makes the slimy ness not so bad. Though I think if I were to use the larger mushrooms like you said it would not have the slimy feel that possibly the smaller ones have. IDK. But this recipe sounds awesome!

  5. This looks, and sounds delicious. I could see making this very soon. The weather has been cold over where I live, so this would be perfect weather to make this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  6. I’ve never heard of this but it sounds good! I try to eat more vegetarian/vegan so I want to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing!

    xoxo Simone

  7. I haven’t tried vegan clam chowder before, but this looks incredible. I am a vegetarian, not vegan, but we often embrace a lot of vegan meals. This Christmas I got a vegan instant pot cookbook and there are some INCREDIBLE recipes in there! My favourite is the vegan instant pot mac and cheese – quick to make and super delicious.

  8. I’m a vegetarian (not a vegan yet though) so this recipe is right up my alley. My mouth was watering as I read through it! I agree with you that some garlic would be even better (when is it not?!). I’d probably skip the nori too – don’t have the taste developed for it yet.

  9. This really looks delicious. I am not into vegan food normally but I think if I had good recipes on how to cook them I might. Thanks!

  10. Your post is making me crave it. Looks overly delicious and super welcoming. We have terrible weather today so I could totally use it this clam chowder

  11. I’m moving to more of a plant based way of eating so I like finding recipes like this. It sounds delicious and fairly easy to make. I can’t wait to try it out.

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