vegan clam chowder

snowpocalypse / new england no-clams chowdah

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DSC_0015I’m a big fan of storms, especially ones involving blankets of snow and the necessity for roaring fires, daytime pajamas & copious amounts of tea. And thanks to the sensationalism of The Weather Channel, Americans like me can become easily convinced that this storm is going to be the most “crippling blizzard since 1978”. Because let’s be honest, once a storm has a name- and this one has two– it means we’re doomed for a snowpocalypse! I am however, still confused as to why this storm has two names, but I’ve already decided that blizzard Nemo is a lot freaking cooler sounding than blizzard Charlotte. I know at first you might think of that do-gooder fish looking for his dad, which is all good and fine, but what about Captain Nemo! The bad ass anti-hero scientist! That’s the kind of blizzard name that will inspire millions of Americans to go spend thousands of dollars on a generator.

But since I already have one, the only thing I need to do is wash my softest pair of yoga pants, buy lots of food, and make a creamy bowl of vegan clam chowdah! (Yes I have to say it like that. I can’t help myself). Don’t worry, there aren’t any fake clams going into this yummy soup; in fact, just thinking of them conjures flashbacks of my first (and only) time eating a fake soy shrimp. Translation: rubbery, dyed pink processed soy dumped into a bowl of broth and noodles that tasted like a fish made out of plastic. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of faux meats. However, if you’re making the transition to a plant based diet, and you’re craving a little familiarity, faux meats can be helpful in bridging the gap. Just keep your consumption to a minimum and remember that very processed soy products are usually GMO and contain soy protein isolate (a highly processed carcinogenic form of soy). In this recipe, I use king trumpet mushrooms, which have a nice chewy texture and even look a little bit like clams when chopped up. Sauteed with veggies and a generous dollop of cashew cream and you will become Bill Murray from What about Bob?. 

Vegan No Clams Chowdah!

1 T refined coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 potato, peeled and diced

4 king trumpet mushrooms, chopped into small, clam-sized pieces

Splash of white wine, any variety is fine

Pinch of paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp white truffle oil

2 1/2 cups stock ( I recommend Imagine Foods No-Chicken Stock)

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours or overnight

3 T nutritional yeast (I buy it in bulk from Whole Foods and other natural foods stores)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tsp tamari or shoyu

Optional toppings:

1 crumbled nori sheet or a few shakes of Eden seaweed gomasio (this is great if you want a little taste of the sea without the sea creatures)

Dash of hot sauce (I tend to put hot sauce on everything!)

Funny Seasonal Ecard: Everyone's freaking out about the blizzard, and I'm like 'Hey, I made vegan no-clams chowdah!'

In a wide soup pot or dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat and add onion. Saute until soft, then add potato, celery and chopped mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Deglaze with a splash of white wine, scraping up any bits of veggies that have become stuck to the bottom of the pan. Season with paprika, onion powder and truffle oil, then pour in stock and bring to a lively simmer. Allow to simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes, or until potato can be easily pierced with a knife. Meanwhile, rinse soaked cashews and pour into a high speed blender. Add 4 cups of fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy. Add cashew cream, nutritional yeast, tamari and lemon juice to the chowder. Simmer on low heat for another five minutes. Season with fresh black pepper and sea salt. To serve, ladle into soup bowls with a big hunk of whole wheat sourdough bread. Makes enough for 4-6 snuggling unicorns in pajamas, ready to embrace the snowy wonderland.

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