I am so excited about this soup recipe – bread bowl clam chowder – without the clams! Or cream. This Vegan Clam Chowder is smoky, creamy and brimming with flavor. It is made from a cashew and soy base. A hint of smokiness and nutritional yeast too. Those tender bits of “clam” are actually king oyster mushrooms – diced – and sauteed with white onion, celery and a splash of truffle oil and liquid smoke.
The vegan subs..
soy creamer and soy milk (instead of dairy cream/milk)
..plus soaked cashews for extra body and texture
king oyster mushrooms (instead of clams)
A note on ingredients. I have to emphasize how important the seasonings are in this recipe. Yes you will easily get the creamy rich texture by using the cashews, potato, soy but the flavor really needs to punch for this soup to be good. And the ingredient accents make that happen
So even if you think the seasoned salt, nutritional yeast, add-in spices or splash of truffle oil I used are all afterthoughts – they are not. They are crucial for molding the flavor of the chowder. Yes the “mushroom clams” will bring a hearty boost of savory, smoky flavor – but you still need a peppery, bright accent of flavors blended into the soup.
My Seasoning… Simple. I used my favorite new spice/salt, Penzey’s Seasoned Salt (4/S) – it really is super. It is available online. The ingredients in this seasoning include paprika, onion, rosemary, thyme and even a hint of sugar. Choose a spice that is bright, peppery, maybe a tinge of heat. And again, that splash of truffle oil is really important too. I use a truffle-infused blend with a sunflower oil base – this stuff goes a long way and you will be able to use it in a wide variety of recipes. Truffle oil and mushrooms are a blissful duo.
Vegan Clam Chowder
vegan, serves 4
1 cup soy creamer, plain
1 cup soy milk, plain
1 3/4 cup soaked raw cashews
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium potato, peeled/boiled
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup white onion
splash truffle oil (white or black)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fine black pepper
spices (I used Penzey’s seasoned salt as my salt so there was plenty of spices built in. You could use any “chowder-friendly” spice blend – paprika and onion work very well)
mushroom “clam” saute:
3-4 king oyster mushrooms, cubed 1/4″ thick
1 tsp truffle oil
2 tsp safflower oil
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup white onion
splash liquid smoke
a few dashes salt (or seasoned salt)
1. Soak cashews overnight in salted water. Or for the quick soak method: simmer cashews over medium heat in salted water for 25 minutes.
2. Peel and boil the potato.
3. Add all the ingredients to a high speed blender, aka Vitamix. Blend until creamy. Start on low and blend until all the cashews have blended. Do a taste test and add additional spices and salt as needed. You can also add more liquid if you prefer a thinner coup.
4. You can serve your soup warm – or simmer in a soup pot until ready to serve.
5. For the “clams” prep your veggies. Dice your mushrooms into dice sized bits resembling chopped clams.
6. Add 2 tsp oil to saute pan. Add celery, onion and mushrooms to pan – saute over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add a splash of truffle oil and liquid smoke halfway through the cooking process.
7. Serve soup in toasted bread bowls or soup bowls. Add a few spoonfuls of “clams” over top each serving dish.