No dairy, no problems with my corn chowder! This recipe for smoky vegan corn chowder with potatoes combines fresh corn, smoked paprika, sun dried tomatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, thyme, non-dairy milk, and lemon for a robust and silky dairy-free corn chowder. This vegan soup bubbles away on the stovetop before a portion of it is puréed in the blender for a creamy texture (without coconut milk!). With an optional step of steeping the corn cobs in vegetable stock, this recipe takes about an hour to cook up.
This vegan potato corn chowder is inspired by a version in my cookbook! In this recipe, we give the classic soup an extra smoky bump with smoked paprika. I also heighten the umami depth with minced sun dried tomatoes and miso. Both of these ingredients are not typical, but they work SO well. Fresh thyme and lemon are tried and true flavour partners for corn that play their role perfectly here.
To really enhance the corn flavour, I like to simmer the shaved corn cobs with the vegetable stock for 20 minutes prior to starting the chowder. The cobs have a lot of flavour to give after you’ve cut the kernels off, and this is a simple way to extract it. Of course, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step!
How to thicken corn chowder:
- I don’t use flour or an abundance of plant-based “cream” substitutes to thicken my corn chowders. You don’t need them!
- I simply purée about one third of the fully cooked soup with a small amount of non-dairy milk. The speed of the blender really activates the starch in the potatoes and corn, making for a thicker texture (but not gluey).
- I like to use a richer non-dairy milk here, like unsweetened soy or cashew.
- The end result is a velvety and rich corn chowder (never watery!) with zero compromise.
I love to take advantage of sweet summer corn when making this. But if you were wondering: yes, you can use frozen corn in this corn chowder. You’ll need about 5 cups of kernels total. The flavour won’t be quite as intense, but it will get you about 85% there, which is still quite nice!
This soup keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days. You can freeze it for up to 6 months. I’m telling you, thawing out a container of this chowder in the depths of January feels like such a gift!
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Smoky Vegan Corn Chowder with Potatoes
- 6 cobs corn (about 5 cups kernels total)
- 5-6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-large sweet onion, small dice
- 1 stick celery, small dice
- 1 small red bell pepper, small dice
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes or ground chillies (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons light miso
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- chopped chives or parsley, for garnish
- I like to simmer the vegetable stock with the shaved corn cobs for about 20 minutes. This really helps to bump up the corny flavour of the finished chowder! Of course, if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step and it will still be quite good.
- For the non-dairy milk, I prefer a rich milk like cashew or soy here.
- If using frozen corn, you’ll need 5 cups of corn kernels total.
Optional Cob Stock Step
- Cut the corn kernels off of the cobs and place the shaved cobs in a large pot. Pour 5 cups of the vegetable stock into the pot, and place it on the stove over high heat. Once the stock is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and let it go for 20 minutes, covered. After 20 minutes, remove the cobs and set the stock aside.
For the Chowder
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, pour in the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the onions, celery, and red bell pepper all at once. Sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables are quite soft, about 10 full minutes. If the vegetables are browning too fast, lower the heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes, thyme, smoked paprika, chili flakes, and garlic to the pot. Stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the potatoes and corn to the pot and stir. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour in 5 cups of vegetable stock and stir. Bring the pot up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are quite tender, about 25 minutes.
- Remove about a ⅓ of the soup and place it in an upright blender. Add the non-dairy milk and miso to the blender as well and then blend this mixture on high until completely smooth. Pour the puréed potion of chowder back into the pot and stir, bringing it back up to a simmer.
- At this point, if the chowder is too thick for your liking, add some more vegetable stock to loosen it up. Stir in the lemon juice.
- Check the chowder for seasoning and adjust to suit your taste (more salt, pepper, chili, lemon etc). Serve the corn chowder hot with chopped chives/parsley on top and extra black pepper.