Some of these cold, icy nights call for chowda. We've been having plenty of those nights this week. This morning, I woke up to my Subaru literally enveloped in a rock hard, thick coat of solid ice. Wonderful. Bob's morning walk was more of a morning ice skate... Thus, clam chowder time. Being vegan, I saw this as a tiny, potential obstacle. Once again though, I've discovered that I can still have the delicious things I loved as an omnivore. Everyday I become a little more confounded about why more people don't go vegan. It's fun to create new ways to make your favorite dishes without harming animals, and all with better consequences for health of the planet! Think you're leaving the world a better place for the children with your Prius? It's a good start, but being vegan would do so much more. Hippie propaganda alert! 

Moving on, have you watched the public tv channel "Create"? I've seen one of the cooking shows they feature,  Cooking with Nick Stellino, a couple times. Both times Chef Nick was making soup with a confit. He is extremely flamboyant and vivacious. Todd thinks he's obnoxious, but I adore him. He's everything I'm not...Italian, large, male, hairy...and of course super gregarious. I think that's why he appeals to me. This really has nothing to do with this post besides the confit connection. I just really wanted to share my love of Nick with you all. 

Anyways, this vegan, smoky mushroom clam chowder is ultra creamy and super thick making it very rich and hearty. It'll take your mind off the fact that you may have to jack-hammer your way into your car to get to work.

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Creamy Vegan Not Clam Chowder

Inspired by Happy. Healthy. Life.

Serves 4

  • --Soup Base--
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup plain soy creamer
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 cup fresh water
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. kelp granule seasoning(optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • splash of liquid smoke
  • --Mushroom Confit--
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 10 oz. shiitake mushrooms, cut small
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • splash of liquid smoke
  • dash of kosher salt

To start, you'll need to soak the cashews. The best way to do this is overnight in the fridge, but if you're strapped for time use boiling water and soak for half an hour. When ready, drain and rinse well before use.

Next, place the cubed potatoes in a microwave safe, shallow bowl and cover with saran wrap. Microwave for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Set aside until ready to use.

Place all the soup base ingredients in a blender, including the soaked cashews and cooked potatoes. Blend on high for a couple minutes, until the mixture is silky smooth. Add additional water as needed to achieve your desired soup thickness or thinness. 

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Transfer to a soup pot and heat on low, whisking occasionally.

Now it's time to make the confit. Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the chopped mushrooms, celery, onion, and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, turning the heat to medium-high. When almost finished cooking, sprinkle in the salt and the liquid smoke, to taste. Stir well. The confit is done when the celery is somewhat softened. The mushrooms and onions should be cooked thoroughly.  

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Serve a small piling of the confit in the middle of a hot bowl of the chowder and enjoy!  

soup (8 of 9) soup (7 of 9)Don't judge me...Lenka – All My Bells Are Ringing

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