This New England vegan clam chowder is perfect on cold days. It’s made with soy curls, chopped mushrooms, vegan bacon, thyme and potatoes. Cashew cream is added to the rich broth to add some creaminess. It’s perfect served with oyster crackers or fresh biscuits!
I have been waiting for winter weather for three years.
It’s finally here.
Now that we’re back in Boston, I go outside on 30-something degree days. Breathing in the cold air and feeling it on my skin is fantastic. I’ve pulled out my long-forgotten and new-feeling sweaters, and love wrapping them around me. I love the banging of the radiators coming on. It’s a fair trade-off to have the skin crack around my knuckles as I slather on layers of lotion. I love wrapping them around steaming mugs of tea or black coffee. Nimrod is constantly seeking a hot spot. I love tucking blankets around her and watch her melt into them as she drifts off to sleep, reminding me she’s there with her faint wheezing or a low growl from a kitty nightmare.
The other day I was flipping through my massive stacks of Food and Wine and Bon Appétit magazines. I was looking for food inspiration to complement the brisk weather outside. When I came across Bon Appétit‘s New England Clam Chowder recipe I thought: what could be better than that right now?
How to make this Vegan New England Clam Chowder
Soy curls and mushrooms work together to create a clammy element. Firm Yukon golds provide a heartiness and textural contrast. Cashew cream adds a supreme richness and velvety quality that clings to the spoon (or crackers or bread) and sticks to your ribs.
What are soy curls?
If you’ve never tried soy curls, you’re missing out. They are a delicious and extremely versatile ingredient made from soybeans. They have a texture like chicken but, in this dish, they work great as a substitute for clams. Soy curls are dehydrated which means they last a long time, and need to be reconstituted before using them in a dish. It’s easy to do this in about 10 minutes in a vegetable broth. Once reconstituted, I like to drain them in a fine-mesh sieve, then place another sieve over the top and press to get the moisture out.
Here are some other delicious recipes that use soy curls:
Serve this vegan chowder with oyster crackers, warmed sourdough or fresh-baked biscuits. These olive oil biscuits from scratch are perfect! Check out these recipes for more soup recipes and ideas!
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This New England vegan clam chowder is made with soy curls and mushrooms as a stand-in for clams. Cashew cream adds a richness to the broth and vegan bacon, potatoes and thyme pull everything together. This soup is so perfect on a cold day! Inspired by and veganized from Bon Appétit.
for the cashew cream
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in plenty of water overnight, then drained
- 1/2 cup water
- couple dashes of coconut or apple cider vinegar (optional)
for the “clams”
- 1 TB Earth Balance
- 10–12 oz white, brown or oyster mushrooms, destemmed and chopped
- 1 cup Butler Soy Curls
- 1/2 sheet crumbled nori
- 1 TB olive oil
for the broth
- 1–2 TB Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
- 4 strips of tempeh or vegan bacon (I used Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon), chopped
- several dashes of liquid smoke
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups No-Chicken, mushroom or vegetable stock
- 2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 TB cornstarch, blended with 2 TB water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- oyster crackers
- fresh biscuits
- fresh thyme, chopped
to make the cashew cream
- Using a high-speed or immersion blender, blend the cashews and liquid together until velvety smooth. Add in a couple dashes of vinegar to counteract the sweetness of the cashews, if desired. Set aside.
to prepare the clams
- Melt the plant-based butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened, turning down the heat a bit if needed. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the soy curls and nori to the pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat, but leave on the burner for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil, then the soy curls. Allow to saute, stirring occasionally, until slightly dried out and slightly golden around the edges. Combine with the reserved mushrooms to the side.
to prepare the broth
- Using the same pot, melt 1 TB of the butter or oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped vegan bacon, and allow to saute for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, and add a few dashes of the liquid smoke.
- Add the celery, onion and garlic to the pot, increase the heat back to medium and stir. After a minute, add in the remaining 1 TB of plant-based butter or a few splashes of broth as needed to reduce sticking. Allow to cook for several minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Sprinkle in the thyme, add the bay leaf. Add the stock and potatoes. Allow to come to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.
- Bring back to a boil, stir in the cornstarch slurry, and stir until slightly thickened.
- Stir in the reserved cashew cream and mushrooms+soy curls. Heat through, adding in salt and pepper, and a few dashes of liquid smoke if desired, to taste.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Blended, Sautéed, Boiled, Reconstituted, Chopped
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan chowder, vegan clam chowder, vegan clam chowder recipe, chowder with soy curls