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Plant Based Recipes

Vegan New England Chowder

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

If there was only one seafood based soup I absolutely love it would be the New England style Clam Chowder! Today I’m going to share with you a fool proof, surprisingly easy way to make Vegan Clam Chowder right at home!

No need to purchase, prepare and cook fresh clams for this vegan clam chowder. No risk of food poisoning either!

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

A creamy, rich and incredibly flavorful bowl of clam chowder soup is so comforting. It reminds me of family trips to Vancouver and Victoria.

It also reminds me of special dinners out with a delicious soup to start.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

It’s been years now since I’ve had a traditional clam chowder soup. Recently my husband and I were delighted to see one of our favorite Edmonton restaurants, Die Pie had it on their menu-vegan style!

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

This soup was so fantastic. It was creamy, rich, hearty and brought back so many memories for me! I decided I just had to recreate it at home to share with all of you guys!

Can vegans eat clam chowder?

Vegans cannot eat a traditional clam chowder because vegans do not consume shellfish or dairy! I’m going to show you what we will use to replace the clams and cream in this vegan clam chowder. Don’t worry-it’s gonna taste amazing!

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

How do you thicken new England clam chowder?

So when doing research for this recipe, it seems that most traditional clam chowders rely on a classic rue to thicken their soups. This is a mixture of flour and butter, with cream or milk added.

For our vegan clam chowder we will be using the same technique with vegan ingredients. You will need a plant based butter, all purpose flour and plant milk. For this recipe I’ve gone with vegan Becel and Silk Soy Original.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

How to make clam chowder vegan

The dairy will be taken care of by replacing milk with the plant milk, and butter with a vegan version.

To replace the clams for a vegan clam chowder soup we will be using mushrooms! Mushrooms have the same chewy texture and mouth feel as clams. They also have an intense umami flavor which is just perfect for replacing any type of meat.

Of course, mushrooms do not have the same ocean flavors as clams do. In order to get the same sea flavors in our vegan clam chowder soup, we will need some seaweed and some Old Bay Seasoning.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

You can use nori or doulce for this recipe. Nori sheets are readily available at almost all grocery stores. They are used for making sushi. This is what I’ve decided to use for our vegan clam chowder in order to make it easy for you guys!

A lot of traditional clam chowder recipes also call for bacon or pork. For our vegan clam chowder we will be using a little liquid smoke and smoked paprika to add depth of flavor.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

What’s the difference between New England clam chowder and Manhattan clam chowder?

There is a big difference when you compare a New England (also known as Boston) Clam Chowder to a Manhattan style clam chowder.

A New England clam chowder will always be a creamy based soup. Thick, rich and white in colour. A Manhattan style clam chowder has a tomato based, thin broth.

I personally much prefer the New England style clam chowder! You guys will have to let me know what you think of Manhattan style clam chowder. If I get enough requests I’ll go ahead and make a vegan version for you guys!

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

Is Vegan Clam Chowder Healthy?

When you compare this vegan clam chowder soup to a traditional one, you’ll see it’s quite a bit healthier. There is no cholesterol, and you don’t need to worry about heavy metals or other contaminants seafood often has.

This soup is such a great option because it’s allergy friendly. By substituting the dairy and switching the clams for mushrooms, people who are allergic to shellfish or milk can now enjoy this flavorful chowder!

You can feel good about eating this delicious vegan soup, knowing that it is 100% cruelty free!

Is clam chowder a soup or a stew

A chowder’s consistency is in between that of a thin soup and a super thick stew. This vegan clam chowder thickens up beautifully. It has the same thick, creamy texture that a traditional clam chowder soup has.

You can serve this vegan new England chowder as a starter to a large supper, or have it as a perfect soup and sandwich for lunch.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

Here are a few other vegan soup ideas for you to try next!

  1. Beefy lentil barley soup
  2. Easy Black Bean Soup
  3. The Best Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
  4. Easy vegan minestrone soup

Ingredients for vegan clam chowder soup

For this recipe we will need:

  • mushrooms
  • vegan butter
  • plant milk
  • all purpose flour
  • potatoes
  • celery
  • onion
  • vegetable broth
  • cashew cream
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • nori
  • liquid smoke
  • smoked paprika

In addition, this soup is just lovey served with fresh parsley and a loaf of homemade bread.

Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon

How to make vegan clam chowder soup:

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To start, we will be sauteing our mushrooms and nori in some vegan butter until they are soft and tender. I like to sprinkle them with salt, garlic powder, and the smoked paprika to enhance the flavor.

Remove the mushrooms and nori from the pot and add some more vegan butter. Sprinkle in some all purpose flour and stir for a minute.

Slowly add in the plant milk and continue stirring until the rue thickens.

Add in the vegetable broth, seasonings and vegetables. Cook until the veggies are tender.

Lastly fold in the sauteed mushrooms and nori.

Swirl the cashew cream through the soup just before serving to add a little flare and richness!

Get your FREE copy of my eBook, Soup Remastered Volume One! You’ll have delicious vegan soup recipes you can make right at home!

cover of Soup Remastered Volume one shows tomato bisque soup in a clear bowl on wood background
Vegan clam chowder soup in a white mug on a blue plate with lemon
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Vegan Clam Chowder

This vegan clam chowder soup is rich, creamy, and full of the flavors of the sea. Allergy friendly and cruelty free, this healthy alternative will have you making vegan clam chowder again and again!

Course Soup
Cuisine Vegan, American
Keyword Vegan clam chowder
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 280 kcal
Author Megan Kerry

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 cups mushroom stems sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 sheet Nori wrap finely ground
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups cooked potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp miso paste

To serve:

  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • cashew cream swirled into soup to serve
  • fresh parsley
  • smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Place the soup pot over medium heat.

  2. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps. Set the caps aside for a different recipe.

  3. Slice the mushroom stems into small rounds.

  4. Saute the mushroom stems with 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, salt, and garlic powder.

  5. Break the nori sheet into smaller pieces that are easily able to fit into your spice grinder. Using a spice grinder or coffee grinder, pulse the nori sheet until very fine.

  6. Sprinkle the nori, old bay seasoning, and liquid smoke into the soup pot with the mushrooms.

  7. Add the diced onion and celery, along with the 1/2 cup of water.

  8. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft.

  9. Remove the vegetables from the soup pot and set aside.

  10. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegan butter into the soup pot.

  11. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until no lumps remain.

  12. Slowly pour the plant milk into the pot. Whisk until the mixture has thickened.

  13. Add back in the vegetables, veggie broth, and diced potatoes.

  14. Dissolve the miso paste in 1/4 cup of hot water and add this into the soup.

  15. Allow the soup to cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  16. Serve with cashew cream,fresh parsley, fresh cracked pepper and smoked paprika to taste.

Recipe Notes

  1. If you do not have enough mushroom stems to reach the full 2 cups, you may use the mushroom caps. The stems more closely resemble clams, but there will be no difference in taste if you choose to use the mushroom caps.
  2. The nori will not grind up well if it gets wet. It’s really important to keep the sheet dry and to break it up into smaller pieces before grinding it up.
  3. Be sure to dissolve the miso paste in hot water before adding it to the soup to ensure no lumps!

***calorie and nutrition information is an estimate.

What sandwich goes good with clam chowder?

One of my favorite ways to serve this soup is along side my chickpea salad sandwich. This sandwich is a dupe for tuna salad and is the perfect accompaniment for sticking with a seafood theme.

Read this next: The BEST Creamy Mushroom Soup

Pin it down below!!!

Vegan clam chowder pin with the text " Vegan Clam Chowder"

I hope you guys fall in love with this classic vegan soup recipe. Clam chowder is such a warm and comforting addition to your soup arsenal!

I’ve created a pin for your board so you can come back to this recipe when you are ready to try it out for yourself!

When you do try it, tag me on instagram! I would love to see your recreations!

Please leave me a comment with any questions about this vegan recipe.

RATE THIS RECIPE! It helps others find it!

Until next time guys,

Megan Kerry

Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!

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39 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t eat regular clam chowder specifically because of the clams (and the smell) but I can definitely see myself making this recipe with as you suggested, mushrooms. What a perfect substitute to still have this be a hearty soup. I’ll give this a try and let you know how it turned out and how the family liked it. It should be a success!

  2. I can’t say that the idea of vegan-izing clam chowder ever crossed my mind, so I was intrigued to read this recipe! But I must admit that this recipe sounds delicious! I have a friend who just started eating vegan food, and your name came up in conversation about recipes for him. I’ll not only be passing this one along to him, but trying it out myself. Both my husband and I love mushrooms, so this won’t be a tough sell to him.

  3. Wow this looks so good! This post is making me want to get some soup for lunch, this looks creamy and delicious. thanks for sharing this.

  4. This looks delicious. I also think it’s great as a way to share the opportunities that are available for vegans and vegetarians. I know, in talking with people, one question I often get is how I managed to give up all my favourite foods… but I didn’t have to! I just had to learn to make them a little differently, just as you did here. We’re big mushroom lovers in this house so that’s an easy substitution to make. I’m definitely going to give this recipe a try.

  5. 5 stars
    Looks very delicious! I would love to have it now, the weather is perfect for such dishes. Being vegan makes it even more handy for my vegan friends

  6. 5 stars
    I have had the Boston and Manhattan clam chowder so I was intrigued by a vegan clam chowder. Mushroom is a great substitute here and i have never tried making roux without milk. A great long and detailed write up and this is something i will have to try in the next couple of weeks and see how it turns out. A lovely detailed write up

    1. Thanks Jerry! I’m so glad you though this post was helpful. I hope you enjoy the vegan version of clam chowder as much as the Boston and Manhattan!

  7. I’ve always been fascinated by clam chowder but being a vegetarian I’ve never been able to try it. Your version has me excited, especially since it uses mushrooms which I love! Will give this recipe a go!

  8. 5 stars
    I would like to try this vegan version. It looks so delicious and creamy I don’t think I’d miss the clams. I have to get some nori tomorrow so I can make this soup soon.

    1. what a compliment:) Thank you so much! I’m so glad you find my recipes interesting! Hope you love the clam chowder, girl!!

    1. you could always leave the nori out and make this chowder a little less sea-like if you know what I mean. It will still be creamy and satisfying!

  9. 5 stars
    Although I am not a vegan. This vegan Clam Chowder looks really good. I am going to try it because where I live I cannot always receive fresh clams. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Perfect! I know before I was vegan I wouldn’t make clam chowder with canned clams-they tasted kinda gross lol!! So without access to fresh, this is a great alternative for you! Enjoy!

    1. I just had an auntie tell me the same thing! The mushrooms are actually perfect here to replace them with:) Hope you love it!

  10. 5 stars
    Vegan clam chowder… who knew?! I’m intrigued! As a newbie to trying recipes, I will admit. This is the first time, I’m seeing liquid smoke as an ingredient. Fascinating.

    1. Oh Ya! Liquid smoke is totally a thing:) It gives your dishes a nice bbq’d taste. You can use it in chili, homemade hamburgers, sauces, soups, stews-anything really!

    1. Exactly! It can be hard when you first transition to a vegan diet. It’s pretty overwhelming, so having familiar comfort foods makes a big difference!

  11. 5 stars
    Okay I would say this is probably the best! I always love mushrooms for their meaty taste and texture and I had no idea that they are a great substitute for meat-based recipes. I’m glad I found your blog!

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