Ying and Yang – A Balanced Chowder For Vegan and Not-So Vegan

One soup recipe that I have been meaning to create for quite sometime is a chowder that is lactose-free (no milk or cream) and vegan for myself and not so vegan for my husband with salmon. I have fallen off the vegetarian wagon lately and not sure if meat is my thing once again. I feel so much better sticking to vegetarian.  I have made this chowder in the past with bacon and wine, but for last night I wanted to make it a lighter healthy bowl of soup.

The Verdict of Vegan and Not-so Vegan Chowder

This chowder is very hearty with crusty toasty bread and is milk/cream-free (I used Almond Milk for the creaminess). I did not feel like I missed any of the cream, the almond milk worked very well. And the base had just enough heat with the crushed chiles and the serano chile. This is a perfect ying yang soup recipe to make two people happy, one wanting vegan and the other not. Was very good as left overs today!

Vegan Chowder Base

Vegan Chowder Ingredients:

  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  •  2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 1 serano chile, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red chiles
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Optional for your guest or husband who may not want to go vegan as bad as you do:

  • 1/5  pack of wild smoked salmon,  torn or cut in smaller pieces.

Vegan and Not-so Vegan Chowder Instructions:

  1. In a large pan, over medium, heat olive oil up.
  2. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, serano, crushed chile, red & yellow peppers and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in vegetable broth, tomato, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add the almond milk, lemon juice, and thyme to pot. Heat through until potatoes are soft, but do not boil at this point. Reduce heat to low – simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle soup in bowls
  6. Garnish with chives.

Optional for your guest or husband who may not want go vegan as bad as you do:

  1. Distribute the smoked salmon to the top of bowl before the chives.

Soup Mistress Rating for Vegan and Not-so Vegan Chowder:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5) 

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder For The Holidays

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder

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Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder (Top View)

Just this last week I wanted to make a nice holiday dinner for a very special fella in my life (Graeme) who was coming up from Las Vegas. We are both pretty healthy eaters (most of the time) and I didn’t want to make the traditional Christmas turkey, stuffing and gravy kind of deal for our meal. I thought, why not a seafood menu since Vancouver has the best and freshest seafood available? So a trip to Granville Island was in store for me.

On the menu for the evening was:

  • tomatoes with basil, bocconcini and peach balsamic
  • dungeness crab cakes with orange marmalade horseradish sauce
  • spicy clam chowder with fresh clams
  • gluten-free white & dark chocolate bread pudding with walnuts, frangelico cream sauce and raspberry coulis.
I have adjusted and tweaked this chowder recipe in the past when I made an Oyster Chowder. l wanted to use a similar base with the Clam Chowder because I loved the tangy creamy taste that had a bit of heat.



The Verdict of Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder

I love this chowder base and would use it in the future for other chowders, especially with smoked salmon, shrimp and halibut chowder. I would though add in some fresh shucked corn into a halibut chowder. Graeme also gave the soup a two thumbs up and accepted a second helping. He did mention that it had a nice smokey flavour, almost gouda like. It did not have gouda but I used a premium smoked bacon with goat yogurt that may have given that rich smokey flavor. Graeme did mention that it could have used a tad more lemon. I did use Meyer lemons for an expiriment but next time I will revert back to plain old lemons as they seem to be tangier and dependable. I loved using fresh clams versus canned clams – they seemed to be happier in my bowl and my tummy – so meaty and not rubbery like their cousins! Oh, ya, don’t overdo it with the red thai peppers – they are very spicy goddesses!



Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder Ingredients:

  • 100 grams double smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 red thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (approx 3/4 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • 2 small bottles of clam juice (2 x 296ml)
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 1 large tomato, diced small
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups goat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 lbs fresh clams
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder Instructions:

  1. In a large pan, sauté bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to plate and allow to rest.
  2. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, red thai chile, red pepper and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in oyster juice, 2 cups wine, tomato and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the goat yogurt, lemon juice, thyme and bacon to pan. Heat through until potatoes are soft, but do not boil at this point. Reduce heat to low. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate pot, steam clams in a cup of white wine for a few minutes or until they open up.
  6. Distribute the clams in bowls. Throw away any clams that have not opened up.
  7. Ladle soup over clams in bowls and garnish with chives.

Soup Mistress Rating for Happy As A Clam Spicy Chowder For The Holidays:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)