Healthy? Check. Comforting? Check. Easy? Super check. Oh, and vegan?! Check check!
Yup, this Slow Cooker Corn and Red Pepper Chowder hits all the right marks. Hearty, creamy, satisfying, chock-full of sweet corn countered perfectly by smoky red bell pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and a smidge of cayenne.
We have a favorite corn chowder around here, but it’s heavy on the cheddar and the cream. This version is much (much!) lighter, and it’s made in the slow cooker to boot. Healthier and hands-off?! Love it. And I know it sounds a little cliched, but when we’re eating this corn chowder instead of our usual dairy-heavy version, we really don’t miss the fattening stuff.
I do have to admit that I found it a bit challenging to create a thick, rich, and creamy vegan corn chowder without my usual dairy products–it took me a few tries to get it right. I include buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, and then I puree the whole darn thing before adding the majority of the corn. And then for good measure, I finish with a couple glugs of soy milk, which gives it a bit of richness and a velvety texture.
I know I should suggest a nice light green salad served alongside this soup, and it probably would be wonderful. But the truth is, I really prefer a whole mess of saltine crackers piled in and around this one. Comfort food to the max? Check!
This creamy vegan chowder is much lighter than most traditional versions, but with its sweet and smoky notes, it's still packed full of flavor. It simmers in the slow cooker all day, making it the perfect easy weeknight dinner.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (about 3 cups, or 1 pound)
- 4 cups frozen sweet corn kernels, divided (or fresh corn kernels - approx. 4 ears of corn)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup soy or almond milk
- Additional salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped red bell pepper, corn kernels, and sliced scallions to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent and soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to the slow cooker, along with the red bell pepper, potatoes, 1 cup corn, broth, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until the potatoes are tender.
- Turn the slow cooker off and remove the lid. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a regular blender, puree the soup. Return it to the slow cooker and turn it back on.
- Stir in the remaining 3 cups corn and soy milk. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for another 20-30 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve topped with additional corn, diced bell pepper, and/or sliced scallions.
If you're going with frozen corn, I recommend Trader Joe's fire-roasted corn. It adds an extra note of smoky flavor that can't be beat.
This post was originally published on February 27, 2014.