Creamy and comforting vegan clam chowder. Mushrooms make the perfect chewy clam replacement. Cooked in a fragrant cashew creamy soup base with hearty potatoes and carrots.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- hearty and healthy
- all in one pan
- full of healthy vegetables
- made with simple ingredients
- delicious and easy to make
- perfect comfort food for soup season
🧂 Ingredients and substitutions
- Mushrooms - any mushrooms will do but if you want to take this recipe over the edge, shiitake mushrooms are the best. You can use half shiitake and half button mushrooms if you want to save a little money. King oyster mushrooms and cremini mushrooms are also delicious. If you don't like, or have mushrooms you can replace them with white beans, like great northern beans or hearts of palm.
- Root vegetables - I love a mix of carrots and potatoes for a hearty chowder.
- Aromatics - you've gotta have onions and garlic to make a soup.
- Seasonings - bay leaf, thyme, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and onion powder are delicious in this.
- Old bay seasoning - this adds that classic New England style clam chowder taste.
- Soy sauce - this adds a nice depth of flavor and umami savory flavor to the broth. It also helps to replace the salty clam juice called for in traditional clam chowder.
- Miso paste - this also adds savory umami flavor to the broth. You can substitute this for tomato paste as well.
- Cashew cream - we're making a cream base by soaking cashews in boiled water, then blending with some vegetable broth or non-dairy milk in a high speed blender. If you don't have cashew cream, you can substitute with canned coconut milk. Mix 2 teaspoons of corn starch in it before adding it in, to help thicken the broth. You can also use a store bought vegan heavy cream.
- Vegetable broth - you can also use a vegetable bouillon cube or paste.
- Lemon juice - the tartness and acid in the lemon balances out the earthiness of the mushrooms.
- Seaweed - you can use a sheet of nori (the seaweed used in wrapping sushi), dulse flakes or kelp flakes. This adds the fishy, taste of the sea to this vegan dish, without having to add any animal products. You can substitute this for vegan fish sauce to get that seafood flavor, but that can be hard to find.
- Oil or vegan butter - this helps add some richness to the chowder that will leave you feeling satisfied.
- Top with fresh parsley
👩🍳 Helpful tips
- You can find nori sheets or dulse flakes in the international section of your grocery store where the other Asian goods are found. You can also order them online. I love to have them on hand as a fish flavor replacement in vegan dishes. They last a long time in your pantry.
- If you'd like to add more protein to this vegan soup, add in a can of white beans. Great northern beans are delicious in this.
- If you want to make the creamy base even creamier, use a non-dairy milk to blend the soaked cashews in. Make sure it's unsweetened though. My favorite to use is extra creamy oat milk.
- The chowder will thicken up the longer it's heated up once the cashew cream is added. Stir and keep it on a medium low heat until you get the perfect consistency.
- The nori or dulse flakes can be added depending on how much fishy flavor you'd like. Add more if you like that flavor, and add less if you don't care for it.
🔪 Recommended equipment
I love using a good enameled cast iron large pot for cooking a good hearty soup, stew and chowder in.
I also swear by using this pastry scraper to scoop up and transfer my chopped vegetables to the soup pot. Makes it really easy.
- Soak the cashews in boiled water for 10 minutes, then blend with non-dairy milk. Set aside.
- Sauté the aromatics, then add in the root vegetables and mushrooms and sauté.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients, minus the cashew cream and lemon juice and simmer until vegetables are fork tender.
- Turn off heat and add the cashew cream and lemon juice. Top with oyster crackers.
Fridge - this will last in an airtight container for five days.
Freezer - this chowder can be frozen as well. Let it thaw out in the fridge before reheating.
🥖 To make this gluten free
This recipe is gluten free as long as your broth is gluten free and you use a gluten free soy sauce.
🥗 What to serve with clam chowder
Top the chowder with either saltine crackers or oyster crackers. The crunchiness adds a nice texture to the chewiness of the mushrooms.
❓ Recipe FAQs
This chowder can easily be made in an instant pot. Just sauté the onions, carrots and garlic on the sauté setting. Then add the rest of the ingredients, to the pressure cooker.
Cook on high for five minutes, then quick release. Add in the squeeze of lemon juice and salt to taste.
This recipe is full of whole food ingredients and made with vegetables. It's full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
If you want to cut down on the fat, use half the amount of raw cashews and add in a teaspoon or two of corn starch to the blender when blending to help thicken the soup.
New England clam chowder has a creamy base that is generally more thick than other styles. It's made with a base of milk, butter or cream and topped with oyster crackers.
Shiitake mushrooms make an amazing substitute for clams because of their chewy and meaty texture and flavor when sautéd. If you can't find these, chopped white button mushrooms also work.
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Vegan clam chowder
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1-2 teaspoons neutral oil
- ½ onion (diced)
- 2 carrots (diced)
- 2 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms (chopped)
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms (chopped)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste (or tomato paste)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
- 1-2 sheets toasted nori sheets (crumpled) (see notes)
- salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ lemon (juiced)
Make cashew cream
- Boil two cups of water. Place the raw cashews in a large mug or small mixing bowl. Pour the boiled water over the cashews and let them soak for 10 minutes¾ cup raw cashews
- Drain the water from the cashews and blend them in a blender with vegetable broth and corn starch, until smooth. Set aside to add later.1½ cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon corn starch, ¾ cup raw cashews
Make the soup
- Add oil to a large dutch oven on medium heat. Let the oil heat up for one minute. Add the onions and sauté until lightly golden brown.1-2 teaspoons neutral oil, ½ onion
- Add the mushrooms and sauté until the liquid evaporates. Should be about 5-8 minutes.8 ounces white button mushrooms, 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- Add in the rest of the vegetables, miso paste, seasonings and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.2 carrots, 2 large potatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, 1-2 sheets toasted nori sheets (crumpled), 3 cups vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso paste
- Once the soup has cooked, pour in the cashew cream, black pepper. Stir on low heat until the chowder thickens up. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and salt to taste then stir. Serve with saltines or crackers.salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ lemon
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.