Regardless of the weather, I LOVE soup. Even in Arizona, in 100 plus temperatures, I order soup out or make it at home. Soups are not only easy to make, but soup is also filling, satisfying, inexpensive, and freezes well if of course, you have leftovers. Vegan Clam Chowder, for instance, is one of my favorite soups, because it’s creamy, full of vegetables, and simply delicious.
WHY MAKE VEGAN CLAM CHOWDER?
Typically, I am not a fan of chewy, slimy clams. In fact, clam chowder has nothing to do with the taste of clams. Instead, it’s the flavors and textures in the creamy, savory soup. When I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I started “veganizing” my favorite foods. Even though I don’t remember clam chowder tasting like clams, I do remember the potatoes and vegetables in a creamy, thick, savory broth. And, I’m a savory girl.
Similarly, I remember clams tasting like oysters or escargot, slimy, difficult to chew, and tasteless. When I was young, I remember my dad wanting me to try a raw oyster. Curious, I put the oyster in my mouth, and swallowed. Within a second, the oyster came right up my throat and back into my mouth. Let’s just say that was a less than favorable memory.
But, the texture of cooked mushrooms, on the other hand, is a much better option for vegan clam chowder soup. For that reason, mushrooms transform into vegan clams.
CUT THE WHOLE MUSHROOMS IN 8 SECTIONS; DO NOT SLICE THEM THIN!
VEGAN CLAM CHOWDER TASTES BETTER THAN THE REAL DEAL!
Vegan clam chowder doesn’t taste like clam chowder, it’s way better! With a similar texture and creamy base, you may mistake this soup as the real deal. This plant-based vegan clam chowder recipe tastes creamy and buttery without any butter or any added fat from oils or vegan processed food. The savory flavors remain, but without the unhealthy fat. Plus, you get the added iodine from the Dulse.
WHAT IS DULSE?
Dulse is a variety of seaweed that resembles leafy red lettuce when fresh. Its flavor will definitely remind you of the ocean — its minerality makes it a great stand-in for salt.
The benefits of Dulse include, for example, high levels of protein and fiber. Dulse is a nutrient-rich red algae which has become increasingly popular in health food circles due to its numerous nutrition properties. More and more experts are advising people to implement sea greens into their diets, including dulse.
Here are some great ways to incorporate dulse:
- Mix flaked dulse into homemade salad dressings.
- Use dried flakes on top of popcorn
- Add strips of whole-leaf dulse to your favorite pickled vegetables.
- Sprinkle flakes over your vegan poke bowl
- Steep whole-leaf dulse in water for a restorative and savory “tea.”
- Mix flaked dulse into homemade bread dough.
- Add to a bowl of ramen.
- Sprinkle flaked dulse over a baked potato to amp up the flavor of a classic.
VEGAN CLAM CHOWDER IS MADE FROM VEGETABLES WITH NO OIL OR FAT
To create clams, I marinate the mushrooms in a small amount of liquid smoke, garlic, and soy sauce (or Tamari if you are gluten-free.) Cutting the whole mushrooms into small bite-sized chunks (not slices) gives them a more “clam” like texture. Any mushrooms can be used, but I decided to use baby bellas, smaller portobello mushrooms, in order to get the heartier texture. Then, I saute the mushrooms, separately from the other soup ingredients, to pre-cook the mushrooms before adding them to the soup.
Next, in a separate soup pot, I sautéed onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and fresh thyme together. The potatoes are all uniform size but serve as the chunky, yet soft component in the soup.
To thicken the soup, I made an oil-free roux. Roux, for instance, is generally made with butter or oil and flour to thicken soups. Fortunately, roux can easily be made without both. By simply adding small amounts of gluten-free flour or regular flour into the cooking vegetables, the roux is made without any need for added fat.
Now, slowly add the vegetable broth, stirring until flour is absorbed into the vegetables. Then add the potatoes and Old Bay Seasoning( a creole seasoning) which enhances the flavors inherent in the dulse.
For the soup to thicken and develop a creamy texture, blend raw cashews with unsweetened, unflavored almond milk. Any plant milk works, but I always cook with almond milk The trick is to make sure you have unsweetened and unflavored plant milk.
- If you are allergic to nuts or don’t eat nuts, you can blend 1/2 cup of gluten-free four with the almond milk and omit the cashews.
- Skip the almond milk altogether, and use vegetable broth instead with 1/2 cup of gluten-free or whole-grain flour
- Or, blend the cashews in the vegetable broth
Tad’ah Vegan Clam Chowder.