Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fresh Kahuku Corn, Kale & Cannellini Bean Chowder (You Won't Know It's Vegan!) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I was craving fresh, sweet kahuku corn from the farmers market and I wanted it in something hearty and creamy like a corn chowder. The challenge was to make it creamy and decadent while still vegan and compliant with the Engine 2 Challenge I am taking part in.

By using non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast, it keeps its chowdery feel and the potatoes and cannellini beans add to the creaminess. Freshly picked lacinato (aka dinosaur or Tuscan) kale caught my eye at another booth, so I added a bunch for color and nutrients.

Fresh Corn, Kale and Cannellini Bean Chowder
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 8 Servings)

1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, chopped into small pices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups potatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 Tbsp thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp flour (I used white wheat flour)
2 cups milk alternative (I used a combination of almond and coconut milk)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 heaping cups corn kernels cut off cob or 24 oz frozen corn
2 (14 oz) cans no salt or low-sodium cannellini beans
1 bunch kale, center stem removed and chopped into thin slices
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a large stock pot over med-high heat. When hot, add onion, carrot and garlic and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add potato, thyme, crushed red pepper and vegetable broth, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk alternative and flour until smooth. Add to the stock pot along with the nutritional yeast and stir until blended. Add the corn, beans and kale and cook for about 5-7 minutes more, until kale is tender. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Notes/Results: A winner--full of good texture and fresh spring flavor. The nutritional yeast gives it a "cheesy" edge that adds to the creamy chowder feel. The potato and carrot are soft without being mushy and the corn retains its crispness. Thyme pairs well with the veggies and the crushed red pepper (optional) gives it a slight kick at the end which contrasts with the slight sweetness from the corn and carrot. I was using up packs of non-dairy milk in my fridge so I used a combination of unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened coconut milk but soy or other alternative milk would work just as well. The chowder reheats well--just do it low and slow and don't boil.

A healthier chowder without all the saturated fat but you wouldn't guess it was non-dairy. With a couple of slices of whole grain bread, also from the farmers market, it made a hearty but not heavy comfort-food dinner. I will make this again.

Let's take a look into the Souper Sunday Kitchen and see what's cooking there.

Janet from The Taste Space has a bright Orange Beet Soup to share and says, "Simple ingredients layer to create a nice, light, flavourful soup. Beet is at its core, but it is sweet from the layers of orange and carrots. The dill add another dimension with a nod to the Eastern European pairing of beet and dill, and the red miso creates that subtle complexity. This soup is great warm and chilled. Chilled, it is a refreshing and bright starter and if I had a high-powered blender, this would make this the ultimate savoury summer drink (my immersion blender left a bit of pulp, which is fine for something labelled as soup)."

Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice found a creative and delicious use of gnocchi, this Gnocchi, Sausage and Spinach Soup. She says, "This is my favorite way to eat gnocchi; swimming in a basil-infused broth with bits of spicy sausage, roasted red peppers and fresh baby spinach leaves. I prefer eating my gnocchi in soup rather than on a plate smothered in sauce. Not because I don't like them that way. Even when they're light and airy like clouds they expand later so I feel as if I swallowed a rock. A large, heavy one. Eating them in this creamy soup means I can enjoy a few and still save room for other ingredients."

Sharon (The Travel Cook) from Brainfood is back with a vibrant Strawberry Soup and says, "The USDA recommends including berries in your overall fruit intake at least 3-4 times per week. This cool refreshing soup can help you get your recommended servings. Legend has it that in provincial France, strawberries were regarded as an aphrodisiac. Newlyweds were always served a cold strawberry soup. Hmmm! If love makes the world go round then everyone should try this cool spring and summer version of Strawberry Soup."

Heather of girlichef went for a trifecta of dishes this week (you can see her salad and sandwich below). Her soup entry is this hearty Tuscan Bean Soup, inspired by the Food n' Flix pick "Under the Tuscan Sun." She says, "This particular bowl is garlicky, creamy, and laced with sunny comfort that satisfies that yearning...warming me from my insides out. Happy food to brighten even the dreariest of days."

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes has a sunny Carrot Salad to share and says, "Last week, I showed you my easy-peasy baked ham that I made for Easter. This week, I am highlighting my two side dishes. You might be thinking, “Really, she is just now getting around to posting her Easter eats?!” Yes. I am. ... I wanted something quick and easy, that I could make the day before and not have to worry about it on Easter. Enter, this carrot salad, from The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters. It was everything I wanted it to be: quick and easy, with simple, clean flavors."

Janet from The Taste Space also made a spring salad, this Asparagus, Strawberry and Basil Salad with Mosto Cotto and says,"I held out for Ontario asparagus. It also announced its entry by being on sale (wahoo!). I did not hold out for Ontario strawberries. The Californian ones were on sale, too, and perfectly ripe after I left them on my counter for a few days. Right now, after chowing down on this salad, I don’t care that I didn’t eat local. This was springtime in a bowl, with a dash of summer from the strawberries."

girlichef also made this Avocado, Salmon and Cucumber Salad, and says, "Suddenly I look down and realize that my thighs and waist need shrinking. And it's not just the obvious "appearance" aspect. I feel tired and rundown and just plain "ick". I (try to) give myself a kick in the butt (literally) and throw on my too-tight pants and get my uncomfortable butt outside and moving. Walks and bikes and rollerblading are the things that make me feel human again. Throw some healthy foods into the mix, and my pants are fitting better in no head is eyes are brighter and my tail is bushier. This is an excellent meal to add to your healthy repertoire..."

Graziana from Erbe in Cucina has a sandwich stuffed with salad, these Cannellini Beans Greek Salad (with Chicken Souvlaki), and says, "I was waiting for some free time at home to prepare homemade skewers (or souvlaki, in this case, since it's a Greek recipe). It is not a long job, but it requires that little bit of serenity that is often missing during the days of work, especially when dealing with a restless baby. I chose a recipe of chicken flavored with honey, lemon and aromatic herbs, and I served it on pita bread, with Greek salad and feta cheese."

girlichef's final entry this week are these unique Crispy Pambazos and she says, "The pambazo (a type of Mexican sandwich) takes its name from the bread it is traditionally made with ...Pan Basso. Since the bread is "tougher", it holds up well to the bath it takes in a salsa made of chiles (traditionally Guajillos). An honest to goodness Pambazo is made by dipping the bread in a chile sauce...all of the bread...bathed in salsa...then it is split down the middle and filled with a filling of papas con chorizo (potatoes and chorizo) and then lettuce, queso fresco, crema and cilantro are piled on top of that. It is one big, glorious mess. "

It's always a treat to have my friend Foodycat join in on Souper Sundays. Here with a Shooter's Sandwich, (check out the full description on her post) she says, "With this 'sandwich' a man may travel from Land's End to Quaker Oats, and snap his fingers at both." T. Earle Welby, The Dinner Knell, 1932, quoted in Elizabeth David, Summer Cooking, 1955.I made this one with a couple of venison tail fillets and a potato and rosemary loaf. Absolutely divine."

A wonderful week with a great variety of delicious dishes. Thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week,


  1. You're doing amazing things with this challenge...I definitely wouldn't have guessed that is was vegan by looking at it. And I think I'd love it...anything with kale and my eyes pretty much glaze over and I forget about everything else. Looks really delicious...and so many other fantastic dishes in the roundup this week. I have to go check out FC's shooter's sandwich (?)...looks so cool! Thanks Deb =)

  2. I love nutritional yeast, too! I love how you have veganized corn chowder. :) Another great round-up this week, Deb.

  3. I know little about vegan eating, but your chowder looks and sounds wonderful. I can't wait for our fresh corn to appear in the market.

  4. That chowder looks so good. The warm weather has finally arrived here as well so I'd love a bite of all those salads! Yum!

  5. everything looks so colorful and yummy!

  6. You did a great job of making your soup vegan! It looks delicious and nutritious yet still comforting. The round-up is looking good too - girlichef's salad really caught my eye.

  7. Wow - everything looks so delicious! I am anything but vegan but that soup looks sooo good - loooove cannellini beans - YUM:) Great post!

  8. Deb, the round up looks lovely; just tied up with work but am hoping to update in a few weeks!

  9. An awesome chowder there, I like the combination of corn and cannellini beans.

  10. Another delicious round up! THe strawberry soup is fascinating.

  11. I am pretty sure you must be the most creative eater doing this challenge! You could write a cookbook with all of these! I love the idea of adding potatoes and cannellini beans for creaminess and nutritional yeast for cheesiness! Great vegan tricks!

    And the round up looks fabulous!

  12. The corn and bean coup looks excellent! Thanks!

  13. There are some fantastic soups in this post! I like your vegan corn, kale and cannellini bean chowder. I'll have to try adding nutritional yeast the next time I make a thick stew. In the past I've made vegan soups, thickening it with pureed beans, the results were also good.

  14. Summer is coming and it's time for cold soups... I love them, thank you for the interesting recipes!


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