Vegan "Clam" Chowder

vegan clam chowder

It is BRISK in upstate New York. The perfect weather for soup! In our house, we go vegan 2/7 days a week (sometimes more), so I’m always looking for hearty soups that are filling, nutritious and of course, delicious. That’s where this Vegan “Clam” Chowder comes into play. Plump mushrooms, savory potatoes, chunks of carrots, all floating around in a delicious creamy broth.

The Cream Base

Cashews are pricey but they can do oh so much in the vegan world. In this case, the cashews create a thickness & add a rich texture to the soup. Instead of soaking the cashews over night (which I always forget to do), boiling the cashews for 20 minutes and then draining them when they’re soft will work just fine.

vegan clam chowder

Alternatively, unsweetened coconut milk might do the trick too but I have not tried that.

The “Clams”

Since it’s a Vegan “Clam” Chowder, there are no clams here. Instead, they’re substituted with juicy mushrooms. I adore mushrooms. They have such a meaty texture and a nice earthy flavor. When I was in college, I worked at a sandwich shop where I was able to take home a sandwich at the end of my shift. My go-to was a grilled portobello mushroom with melted provolone on ciabatta bread with arugula, red onion & garlic mayo. We were allowed to take home day old bread (which lasted another whole week when preserved correctly), so I would take the ciabatta and just recreate that sandwich multiple times a week. I can’t imagine the amount of portobello mushrooms I ate in college, but that’s just how good they are!

If you’ve been timid towards mushrooms, this soup is a great introduction to their flavor.

Vegan “Clam” Chowder

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Clam Chowder, Lentils Vegan
Servings: 6
Author: Adapted from Vegan Huggs


Cream Base

  • 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews


  • 1-2 Tbsp Vegan Butter
  • 8 Oz. Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tsp Steak Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Soy Sauce


  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Sliced
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 ½ Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Medium Russet Potatoes, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1-1 ½ Tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • ½ Tsp Sea Salt
  • More Salt & Pepper to taste


Cream Base

  • In a small pot with a top, boil the cashews for twenty minutes. When the cashews are almost done, heat the milk in the microwave for 30 second increments, until it's warm.
    Drain the water from the cashews and them, along with the milk to a blender.
    Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.


  • Add butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, the seasoning and the soy sauce to pan and stir. Saute for about 5-7 minutes.*
  • Remove the mushrooms from pan and set aside.


  • In a dutch oven, or similar pot, heat the butter over medium heat until its melted. Add the onions and saute until fragrant and translucent. About 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir, about a minute.
    Then add the celery, carrots, thyme and rosemary. Saute for about 6 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir constantly for about a minute. Then stir in the broth, potatoes, bay leaves, Old Bay Seasoning and salt.
    Turn heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil, about 13 minutes.
    Remove bay leaves.
  • Turn heat to medium-low and slowly stir in the cashew base. Cook for about 5 minutes (or until potatoes are tender and cooked through)*.
    Then add in the mushrooms.
    Serve with a hearty multi-grain toasted bread or crackers and garnish with fresh parsley.


  • Mushrooms release a lot of water – this should keep the mushrooms from sticking to the pan but if for some reason they begin to stick, add a tablespoon of water to the pan.
  • Keep an eye on your potatoes – don’t overcook them or they’ll fall apart.

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