This hearty and healthy veggie-packed easy vegan corn chowder recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables. Blended up corn, potato, and coconut milk make the chowder base for this super delicious hearty soup!
This easy creamy, thick and amazing dairy-free chowder recipe can be made any time of year! Use canned corn on the off season, and fresh corn during corn season!
Who doesn’t love a big steamy bowl of creamy, salty, sweet, chunky, cozy healthy corn chowder?
Up until I started making homemade chowder a few years ago, me of all people!
Confession: I used to be the biggest of chowder naysayers that ever did live. When I was little, my siblings would go wild over the clam-chowder-in-a-bread-bowl situation, especially when we visited San Francisco. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the stuff turned my stomach in knots…until…
Flash forward a couple decades, and come to find out it was because the cream and gluten content of the soup made me feel like less than stellar. Too much cream and gluten for this girl = bellyache = bad mood juju. Even the slightest whisper of the word, “chowdah” wrecked havoc on my digestive tract.
A few years ago, one of my brothers started making his own clam chowder, complete with bacon and potatoes for hearty splendor. He goes with a thinner (not roux-based) consistency and less cream.
Not only could I enjoy his homemade clam chowder without feeling sick, but it inspired me to work my own magic in the substitutions department. Nothing like a big brother to draw you a map to the Eightfold Path of Chowder Enlightenment.
I know, I know…it’s hard to believe something so seemingly fun-less could be so good, but you guys, it truly is. This hearty vegan corn chowder is amazing during the cooler months and happens to be the most delicious corn chowder I’ve tried!
Plus, it won’t make you curl up in a food coma and beg the chowder higher-ups for forgiveness and the whole family will love it!
How to Make Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chowder:
As it turns out, you don’t need cream, butter, and flour in order to make chowder. You can replace regular flour with a gluten-free all-purpose blend, use a vegan butter replacement, and/or substitute coconut milk for the cream.
As strange as it may seem in its cream-less, chicken-less, bacon-less glory, this veggie-packed dairy-free, gluten-free version of corn chowder is hands down the best batch corn chowder I’ve ever made.
The key to making this chowder sweet, thick, and creamy is to cook one of the red potatoes and blend it with half of the cooked corn kernels and the coconut milk. This makes for a chowder-y consistency without having to tap into the butter and flour to make a roux.
The other red potato gets chopped up and cooked with the veggies in order to make the soup nice and chunky and hearty.
Similarly, the other half of the corn kernels go into the soup – I like keeping long strips of corn to make for the optimal big bite. I hope that all makes sense – holler at your girl if you need clarification on the prep method.
Note: If you don’t have access to fresh corn, you can use 3 cans of corn. You don’t even need to drain them before using!
Ingredients for Vegan Corn Chowder:
Fresh Sweet Corn: The star of the show! I always recommend using fresh when possible, but during the off season, you can absolutely use canned corn! If you use canned corn, you can do as I do and not drain the corn before using it. The liquid adds natural sweetness and can be used in place of broth.
Red Potatoes: Potatoes serve two purposes in this recipe: 1.) one potato takes the place of cream and flour for the chowder (thick broth) mixture and gets blended in a blender with some coconut milk, corn, and broth. This ensures you get that silky-smooth, creamy, thick and satisfying chowder without all the dairy and gluten! 2.) one potato gets chopped and added to the soup for texture and that comforting appeal.
You can also use Yukon gold potatoes! Some folks have used jewel yams to make this recipe instead of red potatoes and have reported it works marvelously.
Coconut Milk: Full fat coconut milk takes the place of dairy milk to help make the chowder nice and rich and creamy! I recommend sticking with full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream, although you can use light coconut milk for a lower calorie version. I don’t recommend using almond milk as you’ll lose the rich savory flavors. The end result is the chowder is naturally sweet and rich creamy corn chowder packed with corn flavor, yet healthful!
As an alternative, you can go with cashew cream by blending a cup of raw cashews that have been soaked with 1 cup of water
Vegetables: Onion, garlic, carrots, and red bell pepper provide all sorts of flavor, hardiness, and color to this vibrant meal! I have also added celery in the past and I prefer the corn chowder without celery; however, if you’re a huge fan of it, add 2 or 3 stalks! If you want to get creative, consider adding other vegetables, like cauliflower, poblano pepper, or sweet potatoes.
Seasonings: This chowder is naturally sweet, rich and creamy all on its own, but you can add even more flavor by tossing in some black pepper, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and/or cumin. This combination gives a tiny smoky flavor and the slightest heat to offset the sweet. I love the chowder both with or without these seasonings. Be sure you add sea salt to taste!
Liquid: For the broth/chowder mixture, we need some liquid. I typically use water, but you can also use a few cups of vegetable broth (or chicken or beef broth if you aren’t vegan). You can also use more coconut milk for added richness. Options galore!
You can add in some red wine vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast for some added tang for an almost cheesy flavor to this corn soup.
How to Make Vegan Corn Chowder:
If you’re using fresh corn, remove the husks and boil them for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they turn puffy and are cooked but not over-done. Transfer the corn to a cutting board and allow them to cool while preparing the rest of the recipe.
Peel and chop both of the red potatoes in quarters and carefully place it into the same large pot of boiling water you used to cook the corn. Allow potatoes to cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked potatoes to a cutting board and chop one of them into smaller chunks. This one will be added to the chowder, and the other potato (larger chunks) will be blended into a broth with the corn.
Heat the olive oil or avocado oil in a large stock pot (I use my Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to turn brown, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the chopped celery, bell pepper, carrots, seasonings (if adding) and sea salt. Cover the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
By this time, the corn and potatoes should be finished cooking and cooling. Use a knife to remove the corn kernels from all of the ears of corn.
Place half of the kernels in a blender, along with one cooked potato (save the other one to add to the chowder in chunks).
Add the coconut milk and water (or broth) to the blender, and blend until completely smooth. If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use it! This may take two or three rounds of blending.
Transfer the chowder mixture to the stock pot along with the other chopped potato and bring to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables have reached desired doneness, about 20 minutes. Taste for flavor and add celery salt or sea salt to taste.
Serve in big bowls with tempeh bacon (optional) on top, and enjoy!
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
While this recipe contains no heavy cream or butter, it tastes completely rich and decadent. Like a treat soup. Chowder with benefits. Dessert chow chow. I’ll stop.
To summarize: make this corn chowder while fresh corn is still in season to keep your belly warm and satisfied on the chilly evenings.
Can I Make Corn Chowder Using Canned Corn?:
Yes, absolutely. I make this recipe year-round. In the summer months, I use fresh corn, and when corn is not in season, I use 3 cans of corn. I don’t drain the cans of corn, I simply add everything and this results in an amazingly sweet creamy vegan corn chowder!
If you go this route, transfer two of the cans of corn to the blender with the potato, coconut milk, and water/broth for blending, and save one of the cans of corn for adding to the soup later so you have corn kernels in the soup.
More Vegan Soup Recipes:
- Crock Pot Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- Vegan Broccoli “Cheddar” Soup
- Immunity-Boosting Turmeric Soup with Vegetables
- Jamaican Chickpea Stew
- Sweet Potato and Quinoa Stew
- Vegan Butternut Squash Bisque
- Fall Harvest Vegetarian Chili with Kale
My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your all your support!
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Vegan Corn Chowder
- 4 ears corn shucked and steamed*
- 2 large red potatoes peeled and chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1 large white onion
- 5 cloves large garlic minced
- 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper cored and chopped
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning optional
- ½ teaspoon paprika optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin optional
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- Place ears of corn into a large pot and fill with water. Cover the pot with a lid and place on the stove over high heat. Bring to a full boil and cook until corn is plump and juicy, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use tongs to remove corn from the boiling water and place on a cutting board. Note: If you’re using canned corn, skip this step and transfer two of the cans of corn to a blender.
- Peel and chop both of the red potatoes in quarters and carefully place it into the same pot of boiling water you used to cook the corn. Allow potatoes to cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the potato is cooking, sauté the rest of the vegetables. Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is beginning to turn brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped bell pepper, carrots, seasonings, and sea salt. Cover the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Use a knife to remove the corn kernels from all of the ears of corn. Place half of the kernels in a blender, along with one of the cooked potatoes. Add the coconut milk and water (or broth) to the blender, and blend until completely smooth. This may take two or three rounds of blending.
- Chop the other potato into smaller chunks. Add the remaining corn kernels to the pot with the sautéed vegetables, and pour the blended corn/potato (chowder) mixture into the pot. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, until all vegetables have reached desired done-ness and the chowder is nice and tasty.
- Remove from heat and taste chowder. Add sea salt to taste and enjoy!
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