This hearty Vegan Corn Chowder is a creamy and delightful mouthful of comforting flavors and textures. It's a satisfying, but light bowl chock-full of savory flavors with an undertone of tart and subtle sweetness.
This Vegan Corn Chowder may be non-dairy, but it's super creamy using cashew as the cream base. You can keep it traditional with a flavorful mix of corn kernels, potato chunks, veggies, and an assortment of herbs, and spices. Or add some complexity to the dish by infusing it with a dash of white wine and a tinge of lemon juice!
So eat to your heart’s content and enjoy it with your favorite bread, sandwich, or a salad. And not just in the summertime when these golden cobs are in season! You can use canned or frozen corn kernels to enjoy this all-year-round- especially on a cold winter day.
The soup base is very similar to my Vegan Clam Chowder recipe. They taste different, of course, but they are basically made the same way and turn out so creamy.
Ingredients you’ll need
This recipe calls for common veggies and pantry staples. See below for alternatives.
(full amounts and instructions in the recipe card below)
Corn: I prefer fresh corn for this recipe, but it's not always in season so feel free to use frozen in its place. Canned will work too, but it will lack that fresh corn taste.
Celery: If you're not a fan, you can replace it with red or green bell pepper. It provides a different flavor, but it's just as delicious.
Yukon Gold Potatoes: You can use russet or red potatoes too.
Thyme: you can replace it with dried oregano.
Crushed Red Pepper: if you don't like heat, you can omit it. However, if you do like heat, you can replace it with 1-2 small jalapeños that are deseeded and sliced or diced. Keep some seeds for extra heat.
White Wine: this is optional, so feel free to omit it without a replacement. However, if you want to substitute it, you can use a few splashes of white grape juice instead. This will deglaze the pan and add a pop of zing.
Cashews: If you are allergic to, you can use 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk to replace the cashew cream. You may need to cook the soup a little longer for it to thicken.
With or Without White Wine and Lemon Juice?
Adding dry white wine to your chowder is optional; the chowder will still be tasty without it. However, adding white wine endows a crisp and bright essence that enhances rather than overpowers the rest of the ingredients. If you do decide to add this, your best bet would be the dry, crisp variety that is moderate in alcohol content and price like a Sauvignon Blanc.
Note: not all wine is vegan and may contain traces of egg white, milk protein, gelatin, and more. However, there are many affordable brands on the market. Here is a vegan wine directory with many to choose from.
Lemon juice is an optional ingredient in this recipe. But if you want a pop of zest in your chowder, then squeezing a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice into your soup base will do the trick. It will definitely lighten up the soup and will harmonize well with the over-all sweetness and savoriness of the dish.
Tips when Making Vegan Corn Chowder
- You can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour brand to make this a gluten-free dish!
- If you are using fresh corn cobs, scrape the remaining bits and juices off the cobs with a knife or spoon to get that sweet and milky essence that will add more flavor and thickness to your soup.
- If you like your soup really smooth, you can pour it into a blender and pulse until you get the consistency you wanted. But if you want more chunks in your soup, you can just take 1-2 cups of it for blending and leave the rest as is.
- Freshly cut parsley, cilantro, or green onion
- Smoked paprika
- Old Bay seasoning.
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan cheese shreds
- Crushed red pepper
- Vegan bacon
- Replace the thyme and crushed red pepper with 1 teaspoon of cumin, coriander, and ½ teaspoon each of ancho chili powder, and smoked paprika.
- Switch out the celery for a large poblano pepper that's seeded and diced.
- For extra heat, add 1 small jalapeño that are deseeded and sliced or diced. Or add 1 serrano pepper for a bigger kick!
- Switch out the lemon juice for lime juice.
- You can roast, pan-fry, or grill the corn first for a smoky flavor.
- For an extra smoky flavor, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the recipe.
- Top with chopped cilantro.
More corn recipes to try:
I love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Corn Chowder, I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Vegan Corn Chowder
- ½ cup raw cashews (*See Note)
- ¾ cup water + more for soaking cashews
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or preferred oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion , diced
- 2 celery stalks , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 ½ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- 2 large yukon gold potatoes , peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt , more to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper , to taste
- 4 cups fresh corn , cut off kernels from 4 corn cobs (frozen can be used)
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
- To prep the cashews, boil water in a small pot and remove from heat. Add cashews and cover for 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews and discard soaking water. Place them in a high-powered blender with ¾ cup of water. Blend on high until very smooth. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion and celery. Sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant
- Now add the crushed red pepper and thyme. Sauté 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Add wine and turn heat up to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering turn heat back to medium. Cook wine down about 2-3 minutes. * If you're not using wine, you can skip this step entirely without substituting.
- Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir constantly for 30-60 seconds. This will cook off the raw flour taste.
- Stir in broth and add potatoes, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Turn heat up again to medium-high to simmer. Once simmering, turn heat back to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add corn kernels and cook for another 8-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender and corn is cooked. Remove bay leaf.
- Turn heat to low and slowly stir in cashew cream. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Warm for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice if desired.
- Optional: to give the soup base more body, place 1-2 cups of soup in a blender and pulse 2-3 times, then pour back into the pot and stir (you can also use an immersion blender). You can skip the blending if you prefer a chunkier soup.
- See note for topping ideas. Enjoy!
Useful Tools To make This Recipe
- If you don't have a high-speed blender, the cashews might not completely break down and this could result in a gritty texture. You can try soaking the cashews longer for 8 hours or more.
- Instead of cashew cream, you can also use 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk. You may need to cook the sauce a few minutes longer to thicken.