When the cold of the New England fall brings a chill, there is nothing like a warm stew or chowder to restore a sense of warmth and comfort. This vegan corn chowder with quinoa more than fills the bill.
Yesterday, on my run, I realized that the peak colors of foliage had faded to the browns of leaves ready to fall. Today there is a wind and rain that will surely bring many of them down. In the mood for a warm soup, I looked over my pantry offerings and happily realized I had all I needed to make this vegan corn chowder. Because I didn’t have every single one of the standard ingredients, I did what I often do and tweaked it to use what was available. So I’m sharing today’s version of this meal with you.
While I realize green peppers would make for a prettier picture and, perhaps, a slightly bolder flavor, I decided to use the baby sweet peppers I bought in an indulgent moment when my daughter declared them “too adorable” in the market. (Did I mention it was raining? Not going back out.)
Of course potatoes are essential for a chowder, I think, and I have used sweet potatoes and golden potatoes, but today I picked some lovely red ones. (Honestly, though, I think sweet potatoes are my personal favorite for this recipe).
When using quinoa, be sure to rinse it. It has a bitter coating designed to discourage birds. It is easily rinsed away. Toasting the quinoa with the cumin seeds may not be an essential step, but the fragrance makes it well worth it. Quinoa is also an excellent source of very high-quality protein (another way to answer that “where do you get your protein” question!). I also am doubling my usual vegan corn chowder recipe. We like to bring leftovers to work for lunch and we hate that awkward moment when there is just one serving left and we have to decide who will have it tomorrow. Big pot meals = harmony.
In place of vegetable broth, I always use Vogue brand Vegebase. I don’t have a ton of storage and this jar lasts a long time and has a long shelf life. Using a rounded teaspoon to each cup of water, it is extremely economical compared to many commercially prepared vegetable broths. It is also low sodium and organic. A winner for me. (No, I never make vegetable broth or stock from cooking vegetables. I just don’t.)
Any plant milk will work. I have used soy milk. Today I have almond milk in the fridge – so that is what I am using.
Oil and Fats
Because it calls for such a scant amount, I never worry about the olive oil. However, for those who are trying to omit all fats and oils, I am sure this would be fine without it.
Time for Vegan Corn Chowder!
Enough disclaimers! If you are in a northern latitude during the winter months, or experiencing a cold snap, this is an easy and really lovely chowder, best complimented by some chunky bread, like sourdough. For those of you in warmer climes, or southern areas, give it a try too – this is a delicious recipe that comes together very quickly, anytime!
There is nothing like a warm stew or chowder to restore a sense of warmth and comfort. This vegan corn chowder with quinoa more than fills the bill!
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds
1 Tbs olive oil
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen organic corn
2 medium to large potatoes, died
1 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups plant based milk
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 tsp dried cilantro or 3 Tbs fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Stirring constantly, toast quinoa and cumin seeds in a soup pot over medium to high heat, 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and set aside
Heat oil in pot.
Add corn, potatoes and onion and cook stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
Add milk and broth and bring to a boil.
Stir in quinoa, peppers and cilantro (if dried), reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add salt and pepper to taste and cumin if desired and turn off the heat.
Adjust the thickness of the chowder (if desired) by adding small amounts of the plant milk
Stir in cilantro (if fresh) and serve with additional cilantro for garnish as desired.
We usually have sweetened plant milk. If you prefer unsweetened, you may want to add a little sweet to the chowder. A dash of agave would be just fine.
Quinoa expands a lot when fully cooked. So, the chowder will seem quite thin, at first, but will suddenly start to thicken as the quinoa expands towards the end of the cooking time. Add a little extra plant milk at this point to achieve the consistency you prefer.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race. She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).