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As soon as fresh corn hits the market, I start thinking about this Vegan Corn Chowder. It's something I make all year long with frozen corn, but fresh kernels cut from the cob add a special, sweet pop. A complex blend of textures and sweet, spicy, smoky flavors, it's comfort food that everyone loves.
This chowder began with a recipe in Real Simple magazine that I clipped ages ago. Over the years it has evolved into a vegan version that I much prefer: skipping the cream in the original as it’s better without it, and using chipotle hot pepper sauce instead of canned chipotle chiles that can be blisteringly hot. I’ve also found that adding Yukon Gold along with sweet potatoes balances the chowder's sweetness.
Ingredients You Need to Make Vegan Corn Chowder Recipe
- Sweet Corn Kernels: Cut fresh from the cob or frozen
- Red Bell Pepper: A yellow or orange sweet pepper would also work well.
- Vegetable Broth or Vegetable Stock: Homemade or your favorite store bought version. (I love to use homemade Corn Stock for this.)
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: You can also use waxy or new potatoes.
- Sweet Potato: I've called for peeling the sweet potato, but free to leave the peel if you prefer.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Though this savory chowder is vegan (and naturally gluten free), you don't have to compromise on flavor or heft. Smoked paprika lends a smoky rich decadence that's not just vegan, but much lighter than the bacon that's often called for in chowders. And with corn, sweet red bell pepper, and two varieties of potato the chowder is quite filling, but light in calories (about 200 per generous bowl). Just the kind of thing you want to be eating when you have bathing suit season in mind or slinking into a holiday dress.
- Blend a small portion of the soup to add just a bit of creaminess, leaving plenty of chunky bites. Or blend it all in batches if you prefer a creamy soup.
- For a truly creamy vegan corn chowder, add cashew cream (a magic alternative to heavy cream made with just raw cashews and water - directions for making it below), regular or light coconut milk, or almond milk.
- If you’re still able to find fresh corn on the cob, go with that. It has a wonderful sweet pop when added just before serving (I like to make Corn Stock with the bare corn cobs for this soup). Otherwise, frozen is your best choice.
How to Make Cashew Cream
To make Cashew Cream: soak 1 cup raw cashews in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Drain cashew water and add cashews to a blender pitcher. Add enough fresh water to cover by 1 inch and blend until smooth.
More Delicious Vegan Recipes
- Vegan Butternut Squash Soup (Another one of my favorite vegan soup recipes. Sweet potatoes are the secret ingredient to make the soup velvety smooth!)
- Sweet Potato Hash Browns (Crispy outside, tender and sweet inside. One of my favorite breakfast sides!)
- Skillet Potatoes (These crispy on the outside and creamy within potatoes are welcome at any meal!)
- Salt Potatoes (Serve these at your next party and watch them disappear. I promise that guests will seek you out to ask for the recipe!)
- Rapini with Raisins and Hazelnuts (This rapini (broccoli rabe) recipe is weeknight easy, but holiday table special!)
- Chinese Cucumber Salad (Tangy, sweet, spicy, and refreshing, this cucumber salad is a restaurant worthy salad that you can make easily at home.)
How to Make Vegan Corn Chowder
Step 1: In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook onion and red pepper in olive oil until tender.
Step 2: Add sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, vegetable broth, smoked paprika, and chipotle hot sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Optional: To thicken chowder, blend a small portion or all in batches with a standard or immersion blender.
Step 3: Add corn and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir until heated through; serve.
Vegan Corn Chowder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 sweet red pepper diced
- 1 pound sweet potatoes scrubbed and peeled if you like, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 cups vegetable broth or Corn Stock
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce plus more to taste
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels cut from the cob or frozen corn
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add peppers and onion; cook and stir until onion is translucent and pepper is tender, about 3 minutes more.
- Add sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, vegetable broth, smoked paprika, and chipotle hot sauce; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. To thicken the chowder and add a creamy texture, blend a small portion of the chowder in a standard blender or with an immersion blender (optional).
- Stir in the corn and kosher salt; cook until heated through. Season to taste with pepper and more kosher salt if desired; serve.