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Vegan corn chowder in bowls with fresh basil garnish.
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5 from 5 votes

Smoky corn chowder

Chowders are among the most comforting foods out there, and corn chowders in particular have always had a special place in my heart. Luckily, for both you and me, this recipe is not made with heavy cream and instead takes advantage of the inherent starchiness of corn to thicken it.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: kid friendly, summer food
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 200kcal
Author: Jackie Sobon


  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels or thawed frozen corn
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke*
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk unsweetened
  • 2 cups baby spinach packed
  • 2 tablespoons chiffonade-cut fresh basil plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat the sunflower oil. Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, and onion powder to the pot and stir until combined.
  • Add the vegetable broth and nondairy milk to the corn mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully use an immersion blender to purée about half of the corn kernels (so it remains slightly chunky).
  • Cover the pot, bring the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Fold the spinach and basil into the soup and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and divide it among the bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and chiffonade-cut basil and serve immediately.


If you do not have an immersion blender, you can transfer half of the soup to a blender in small batches and carefully purée it with a towel over the top instead of the lid (or else you run the risk of it exploding everywhere).
Liquid smoke strength varies by brand. So Cadry recommends starting with ¼ teaspoon and adding more, to taste.
Replacement options:
  • Shallots can be replaced with ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • Liquid aminos can be replaced with tamari
How to serve in bread bowls
Jackie recommends serving this soup in bread bowls using 4 sourdough loaves (8 ounces each). Here are the directions for that:
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2). Cut the tops out of the bread bowl loaves and cut the bread out of the center, leaving a roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm)-thick wall on all sides. Toast the loaves until lightly golden.
Nutrition calculated without sourdough bread bowls.
Reprinted from Vegan Bowl Attack!: More than 100 One-Dish Meals Packed with Plant-Based Power By Jackie Sobon, published by Fair Winds Press.


Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 952mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 2300IU | Vitamin C: 20.1mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 1.9mg