Dairy-Free Corn Chowder is thick and chunky with fresh corn, baby potatoes and a rich cashew cream base. It’s also vegan, with a spicy kick, and topped with crunchy coconut bacon. Enjoy it as an appetizer, side dish or main meal!
Late Summer Corn
Isn’t it the best? It’s sweet and juicy, and works so beautifully in savoury summer dishes. This summer vegetable orzo salad (with roasted corn) has been on repeat all summer, and now this vegan corn chowder is kicking into high gear with corn season upon us.
If you have an abundance of fresh corn (say, from a recent farmer’s market visit), this spicy corn chowder is just for you. It’s inspired by this dairy-free seafood chowder which has a thick and creamy cashew base, except of course, this corn chowder is completely vegan and loaded with a whopping four cups of fresh corn!
And then there’s the coconut bacon……
Essentials for making this dairy-free corn chowder recipe:
- Obviously, fresh corn on the cob and yellow baby potatoes are a must.
- And you’ll need veggie broth, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
- For the creamy, flavourful base, four ingredients are key – cashews, cashew milk, nutritional yeast and smoked paprika.
- To add an extra kick, you’ll want a Thai chili and some crushed red pepper flakes.
- And the ultimate topper is vegan coconut bacon – which is just dried coconut slices baked with maple syrup, avocado oil, tamari, smoked paprika and ground black pepper.
How do you make corn chowder with cashew cream?
- Start by adding the cashews to hot water and letting them soak for 30 minutes. As they soak, you can start prepping the coconut bacon and chowder.
- For the coconut bacon, just mix all your ingredients together and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7-10 minutes. (The coconut tends to bake faster on a dark pan). Set aside and let it cool completely.
- To make the chowder, sauté your onion, garlic and Thai chil with some oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the veggie broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare your cashew cream by blending the cashews (drained of water), cashew milk, nutritional yeast and smoked paprika together until thick and smooth.
- Stir the cashew cream into the broth mixture, and then stir in the corn. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. This is the time to add some additional salt and pepper to taste and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve with the coconut bacon and other garnishes such as fresh cilantro or chopped Thai chilis.
How do you thicken corn chowder?
Since we’re talking about dairy-free chowder, some dairy-free thickening options include coconut milk, potatoes and cashews. I’m opting for cashews as the creamy base for this corn chowder. It’s simply cashews soaked in hot water, and then puréed with liquid and desired seasonings.
This chowder is ultra thick and chunky. If you still want it thick, but a little less chunky, carefully add some of the chowder to a blender (it will be hot) and blend until creamy. Pour the mixture back into the chowder to thicken it.
Can you use canned corn in corn chowder? Can you use frozen corn?
Absolutely! While this recipe uses fresh corn, you can easily sub in canned or frozen corn. Just remember canned corn will only need to be cooked in the chowder for about two minutes, while frozen will require about five minutes.
Can dairy-free corn chowder be frozen?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing this corn chowder. I’ve tested it and the texture gets a little gritty and the chunks of potato get mushy when re-heated.
Some additional tips for making this vegan corn chowder:
- This is a spicy chowder, so if you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can use half a Thai chili, or just leave it out completely.
- I normally use no salt added broth, but everyone has different tastes, so if you like your chowder a little saltier, feel free to use a broth with salt or add more salt to the chowder while cooking.
- As mentioned, you can use fresh, canned or frozen corn. I like to use fresh corn on the cob. You can cut it right off the cob and cook it in the chowder, or you can roast it first, then cut it off the cob and add to the chowder just before serving.
- If you’d like to make this chowder a little less chunky while keeping it thick, just purée a ladle or two of the chowder and add it back to the pot. You can also add less potato or more vegetable broth.
- I used yellow baby potatoes and quartered them, but you can also use larger potatoes and just chop them into one-inch cubes. You can leave the skin on for extra texture (and it’s easier!) or you can peel the potatoes if that’s your preference.
- When baking the coconut bacon, I find it bakes faster on a dark coloured baking sheet. So I recommend baking for about 7 minutes on a dark pan or 10 minutes on a light pan. Regardless, keep an eye on it as it can start to burn quickly.
Pin this Dairy-Free Corn Chowder to make for dinner tonight!
If you make this Dairy-Free Corn Chowder with Coconut Bacon, I would love to hear what you think in the comments below!Print
Dairy-Free Corn Chowder with Coconut Bacon
Dairy-Free Corn Chowder is thick and chunky with fresh corn, baby potatoes and a rich cashew cream. It’s also vegan, with a spicy kick, and topped with crunchy coconut bacon. Enjoy it as an appetizer, side dish or main meal!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 bowls 1x
- Category: Main Dishes
- Method: Sauté and Simmer
- Cuisine: Vegan
For the cashew cream:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup hot water
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or nut milk of choice)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
For the coconut bacon:
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut slices
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the chowder:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small Thai chili, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups no salt added vegetable broth
- 4 cups mini yellow potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
- 4 cups fresh corn (about 5 large ears), cut off the cob
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or more to taste)
- Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
- Optional toppings:
- fresh cilantro
- chopped Thai peppers
- crushed red pepper flakes
- Prepare the cashew cream: Add cashews and hot water to a glass dish and let sit for 30 minutes. (Use this time to get started on the coconut bacon and chowder). Once soaked, drain water and add cashews, milk, yeast and paprika to a blender. Purée until thick, smooth and creamy.
- Prepare the coconut bacon: Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients and stir together. Spread out on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 7-10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet. It will get crunchy as it cools.
- Prepare the chowder: In a medium-sized pot, add the oil, onion, chili and garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant. Add the broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked. Stir in the cashew cream and add the corn. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until corn is cooked to your liking.
- Serving and storing the chowder: Serve with coconut bacon and garnish with cilantro. For extra heat, top with additional chopped chilis and crushed red pepper flakes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3-4 days. Coconut bacon can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
- This is a spicy chowder. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, just use half a Thai chili, or leave it out completely.
- If you prefer your chowder a little saltier, feel free to use a broth with salt or add more salt to the chowder while cooking.
- You can use fresh, canned or frozen corn. If using canned corn, drain and cook in the chowder for about 2 minutes. If using frozen, rinse and cook in the chowder for about 5 minutes.
- For extra flavour, you can use grilled corn on the cob. Just cut it off the cob and add to the chowder just before serving.
- If you’d like to make this chowder a little less chunky while keeping it thick, just purée a ladle or two of the chowder and add it back to the pot. Or add less potato and/or more vegetable broth.
- If you don’t have yellow baby potatoes, just use full sized yellow potatoes and chop them into one-inch cubes. You can peel them or leave them un-peeled.
- When baking the coconut bacon, I find it bakes faster on a dark coloured baking sheet. So I recommend baking it for about 7 minutes on a dark pan or 10 minutes on a light pan. Regardless, keep an eye on it as it can start to burn quickly.
- Make sure you’re using smoked paprika and not regular paprika. While the two look similar, smoked paprika has a distinctly different taste, which adds unique flavour to this recipe.
Keywords: corn chowder, vegan chowder, chowder with cashew cream