Ok, ok, it’s time. I’m finally ready to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Or do you say Autumn? Whenever I think of Autumn I think of the movie 500 Days of Summer. And now I want to watch it right this minute, mostly for this montage.
What was I talking about?? Oh, right.
This vegan corn chowder is my fond farewell to the most beautiful summer I can recall. Farmer’s Market days, trips to the park and the beach, and enjoying the fruits of the garden (ever a work-in-progress). It’s truly been wonderful. But I’m ready for soup weather. So I’ve been making this chowder over and over again to get myself geared up, and now I’m sad that the fresh sweet corn is fading away. But it’s still out there to be found, and you should find some and make this soup. Let’s get started!
It’s hard to believe that 5 ingredients plus a few seasonings can make such a rich, hearty chowder, but it’s true! All you need are:
Red lentils (they break down and you don’t even notice them)
Corn (not to point out the obvious)
Raw cashews (for the ultimate in creamy texture)
Potatoes (for life)
Season it up with some minced garlic, dried thyme, and salt, and you’re in business! Oh, and if you are fast at prepping vegetables, you can make this chowder in 30 minutes. YES.
I am not fast at ANYTHING. So I make it in an hour. But I’m the slowest cook alive, so you can probably make it in 45 minutes.
That is a lot of corn. This IS a corn chowder, after all. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for corn chowder that have a bunch of extra vegetables in it, like carrots and celery and sweet potatoes and all that jazz. That sounds great to me, but not for corn chowder. You have to let the corn SING, baby. And 6 ears of corn will get that beautiful music into your mouth.
Oh, and you might be wondering about the red lentils. They are my secret weapon! They add protein, body, and extra nutrition to the soup, but if you didn’t add them yourself, you wouldn’t even know they were there. Covert cooking!
The creamy component of this soup comes from my all-time-favorite dairy alternative, cashew cream. A traditional recipe for corn chowder calls for 2 cups of heavy cream. YIKES! By replacing it with cashew cream, the calories per serving are reduced by 160 calories and 20 grams of fat. This version also has 4 additional grams of protein. All the indulgence, none of the guilt. Wow, that sounded like a bad diet pill commercial or something. Anyway, cashews rock my socks and I’m so thankful for whoever it was that discovered that raw cashews are so versatile. You have my undying gratitude, perfect stranger who I’ll never meet.
Watch out for the pigtailed corn nibbling bandit. She’s a sneaky one.
There you have it, friends. A perfectly simple and deceptively healthy corn chowder that warms your heart and your belly. If you make the smart decision to make this, please let me know here in the comments or tag #eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram. It makes me all giddy with joy.
And with that, I bid you adieu, Summer. See you next year.
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. dried thyme, or 2 T. fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 2-3 Russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup raw cashews (see note for prep tip)
- 10 cups water, divided
- 5-6 ears of fresh corn kernels, or 6 cups frozen corn
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, sauté the onions, lentils, garlic, and thyme over medium-low heat until the onions have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
- Blend 2 cups of water with the cashews in a blender until creamy (see note about how to soften the cashews)
- Add the potatoes, cashew cream, and remaining water into the pot, and bring to a hard boil for 7 minutes.
- Add the corn to the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer the soup for 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
Pan-roasted corn kernels
Hot sauce (Cholula is my fav!)
*If you don't have a high-speed blender, here's a quick tip to soften the cashews for easier blending. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of cashews to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the cashews and then make the cashew cream as directed.