If you once loved rich bowlfuls of creamy seafood chowder, then King Oyster Mock Clam Chowder will remind you of this popular, traditional soup. Amazingly, now you can make it entirely from plants.
There’s not an oyster or clam in sight. I know you’re probably skeptical. But, if you read on I think you will see how vegan ingredients can transform a thick New England-style clam chowder. The reward is the creamiest, most indulgent, and healthy version ever.
What is New England-style clam chowder?
Traditionally, there are two main types of clam chowder, red and white. The red version is made with a thin tomato broth and called Manhattan. The white chowder is thick and uses a milk or cream base. But don’t worry, this soup is completely dairy-free. Furthermore, I think you will be amazed by how rich and satisfying the homemade plant milk in this recipe is.
East Coast or West Coast?
Have you ever eaten clam chowder on Fisherman’s Wharf in foggy San Francisco? Some people say it’s the best New England-style chowder there is. That is the gold standard this unctuous, thick soup is based on.
I can remember the belly-filling soup being served in sourdough bread bowls. It was such a cute concept. Really though, who could eat all that bread after the chowder? I think half the fun was feeding the remaining crust to the clamoring, squawking seagulls.
I do have a great recipe for Easy No-Knead Rolls to pair this soup with if you wish. Thankfully, you won’t have to feed any to the birds! So, are you ready to hear about the fabulous chowder itself?
How to make clam chowder vegan
There are three secret seasonings that make plant-based chowder evocative of good ol’ New England-style seafood chowder.
The first is Old Bay Seasoning and the second is Smoked Salt. Together, they take the place of bacon and give the savory element reminiscent of steaming, warm bowls served at creaky floored restaurants.
However, the last and real star ingredient is my revolutionary Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute. That’s because it is brimming with its own briny, seacoast aroma.
This indispensable condiment transforms beautiful thick-stemmed mushrooms into flavorful, chewy bits even better than gritty seafood clams. Thus, you won’t want for anything even if chowder was a childhood favorite.
Are king oyster and trumpet mushrooms the same?
The mushrooms of choice here are pleurotus eryngii. But that’s a pretty difficult name to remember, so you can call them trumpet mushrooms. When searching for them at the store look for king oyster, French horn, or king trumpet mushrooms on the label.
They are all the same type and have a remarkable chewy texture that’s unique from other varieties of mushrooms. Cooking them with the right seasonings performs magic in creating vegan alternatives to clams, scallops, and calamari.
How to make rich nut milk
The first step for this warming chowder is making your own homemade plant-based milk. You’ll be amazed how the combination of pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and dairy-free butter completely eliminates the need for cow’s milk and cream.
Making rich nut milk is as easy as soak, blend, and strain with this recipe. The only equipment you need is a high-powered blender and a large cotton handkerchief or thin tea towel.
Soak your nuts and seeds overnight, or use a quick method. That can be done by pouring boiling water over nuts and seeds and letting them soak for 1 hour. Then they are soft enough to blend.
Once your rich and creamy plant milk is blended, strain and squeeze through the tight weave cloth. The end product will be completely smooth and silky.
Vegan chowder ingredients
This healthy and delicious vegan Chowder is chock full of tasty vegetables. I like my potatoes peeled, but that’s up to you. Chop your potatoes into chunks just under one inch and make sure you only boil the potatoes until they are tender. You don’t want them falling apart when they finish cooking with the rest of the soup.
Celery and sweet yellow onion add classic flavors and are all that’s needed to complete the hearty vegetables. Their toothsome bite really complements the velvety plant milk, thickened by plain wheat flour.
Top pro tip
Dice trumpet mushrooms in one-quarter to one-half-inch pieces and saute separately with Vegan Fish Sauce Substitute. Then, wait to add them to your chowder at the very end. That way, all the incredible flavor they have soaked up doesn’t get cooked away.
The best part of mock clam chowder is vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy how rich and satisfying it is. See if your seafood eating friends and relatives even miss the meat!
King Oyster Mock Clam Chowder
Nut and Seed Milk
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup cashews
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp. cooking oil
- 1 1/2 cups diced king oyster mushroom
- 2 TB vegan fish sauce
- 1 1/2 cups diced potato
- 3 TB plant-based butter
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/3 cup chopped celery with leaves
- 1 large bay leaf torn
- 3 TB flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp smoked salt
- 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/16 tsp white pepper
Make nut and seed milk
- Soak seeds and nuts overnight, or cover with boiling water and soak for 1 hour. Rinse and drain the seeds and nuts. Place in a high-powered blender with 3 1/2 cups of water. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Lay a large handkerchief or thin tea towel over a medium-sized bowl. Pour the nut milk into the cloth. Gather up the edges of the towel and wring and squeeze to extract all the nut milk into the bowl. Discard all the pulp from the nut milk.
- While nuts and seeds are soaking, bring a pot of water to boil. Add diced potato and boil until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain cooked potatoes in a colander.
- While potatoes cook, heat oil in a skillet and briefly saute mushrooms over medium-high heat. They will shrink and release some moisture. Add vegan fish sauce and cook until most the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat butter in a 6-cup saucepan. Saute onion, celery, and bay leaves in butter until onion starts to brown. When the onion has started to brown, stir in flour. Cook while stirring until flour begins to brown as well.
- Pour 1 cup of prepared nut milk into saucepan and stir constantly while cooking until mixture is very thick. Pour in remaining nut milk and stir. Add sea salt, smoked salt, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder, and white pepper. Bring soup just to a boil taking care not to burn the bottom.
- Once soup has thickened, add the seasoned mushrooms. heat a minute or two until all the chowder ingredients are piping hot. Remove from heat. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with cracked black pepper.
- Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a generous grate of cracked black pepper.