Creamy and oh-so-satisfying, this Vegan Clam Chowder is easy to make and full of flavor! Ready in just 30 minutes.
How do you make clam chowder vegan?
It’s actually pretty simple! I’ve replaced the clams with hearts of palm (or mushrooms) and instead of dairy, cashew cream. The rest is just vegetables and seasonings.
It may not taste exactly like real clam chowder, but it’s pretty dang good! In fact, I think it’s better than the original. This Vegan Clam Chowder is comfort food to the max.
Special tips and substitutions
- Hearts of palm – I have been loving hearts of palm lately, as you can see from my Vegan Crab Cakes, Beer Battered Vegan Fried Fish and Vegan Scallops. But you can just as easily use chopped mushrooms instead.
- Cashew cream – I think cashew cream gives this soup the most rich and creamy base, but if you can’t have nuts, you could use full fat coconut milk or even an unsweetened vegan creamer instead. Use 1 cup and omit the water.
- Vegan bacon topping – This really rounds out the chowder, and I highly recommend it. You can use any store bought vegan bacon, cooked and chopped, or make my Tempeh Bacon or Tofu Bacon.
Want more hearty vegan soups?
Vegan Clam Chowder
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
Vegan Clam Chowder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 4 tablespoons all purpose flour gluten free if needed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 15 ounce can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- Vegan Bacon, optional see instruction #6 for options
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour the hot water over the cashews and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Add them to a high powered blender along with 1 cup fresh water and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the carrots and celery to the pot and sauté for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top of the vegetables and stir, then slowly pour in the broth while stirring constantly.
- Now add the chopped hearts of palm, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper and potatoes.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
- If using vegan bacon, prepare it and cook it until crispy. I used Lightlife bacon, but my tempeh bacon would be great here (or tofu bacon).
- Stir the cashew cream into the soup. It should now be very creamy. Serve with crackers, fresh chopped parsley and vegan bacon, if desired. Enjoy!
- Feel free to substitute white button mushrooms for the hearts of palm. Both options are wonderful! Simply chop the mushrooms and add to the soup. Or sauté them first with a little salt/pepper to add even more flavor.
- Nut allergy? Substitute cashew cream with 1 cup of full fat coconut milk or other unsweetened vegan creamer instead.
- Freeze it – Vegan Clam Chowder freezes well. I like to freeze soups in individual containers for quick grab and go meals.
Full disclosure: I never had clam chowder when I was a meat eater 25 years ago, BUT clam chowder is one of my husband’s all time favorite foods, and this passed his test. He loved it so much, so thank you for this recipe!
Wow, that’s wonderful! Thank you so much for using my recipe and for your fantastic review!
I added two sheets of kelp to add some “ocean” flavor. Not sure if it made it better or worse as this is the first time I’m making it, but I definitely like hoe this tastes.
I’m happy to hear you still like the taste! Thanks for using my recipe, Christopher!
Delicious!! Many years ago I worked at a restaurant that had the best chowder. Over the years I’ve been looking for one as good theirs- this is it- and vegan as well! Thanks for another great recipe!
That’s wonderful to hear, Betty! I’m so happy this chowder is as good as the classic version you remember. Thanks for using my recipe and for sharing such terrific feedback!
Heyyy Noraaaa long time no seeeeee. :-p.
Well, your VEGAN CLAM CHOWDER was another hit for my mother. I keep mentioning her because more than 5 years ago after I stopped eating meat, she said that she would eat less meat too and eventually stop but only if I could cook meals that she liked that were different and flavorful. I truly tried but I wasn’t able to find easy to follow and consistently delicious recipe varieties. Hey mom I get it; eating chickpeas and hummus every day just wasn’t a huge selling point. haha. now fast forward to finding you, Nora. You would not believe the change in my mother. Every day she proactively asks, “What delicious Nora recipe is next?” I laugh out loud every time because for 5 years I could not get her to budge. Every day that I can help her remove meat from her meals is a victory so thank you for being instrumental in helping me to help her feel better and more energetic daily. You are universally loved, Nora and greatly appreciated.
Hey Howard! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I am so glad my recipes are helping her eat less meat, that is quite incredible. She is lucky to have you cook for her. Thanks for making my day!
Great recipe! Tasted wonderful! Trying to cut back on high cholesterol foods for my husband to treat his HC naturally, and this was so good!
I had one small issue – I couldn’t get mine as creamy white as what your picture looks like, mine turned more of a tan/sand color. I was hoping to get the look right, and suggestions? I think I might have sautéed the veggies too long, or maybe browned the flour.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the chowder, thank you! Yes, be careful not to brown the flour or veggies, but also, are you blending the cashew cream with a high powered blender so it gets really smooth and creamy? It’s what makes the chowder very creamy and white.
This is a very good tasting hearty soup. Perfectly seasoned, I followed the recipe exactly.
Holy moly. Your recipes never disappoint!
This is amazing! I am not vegan, but my son and daughter-in-law are and I try to be a good mom and serve them things that they can eat when they visit. I have to say I was skeptical as I was making this but when I added the cashew cream, it instantly came together as tasting pretty much like clam chowder without the clams! I used mushrooms because I couldn’t find the palm hearts. It’s creamy, salty, and very hearty. Can’t wait to add the vegan bacon!
Hi Diane! I truly love the richness and flavor of this chowder, and I’m glad you do as well! Mushrooms are a wonderful alternative to hearts of palm. Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review! I know your children enjoy and appreciate the recipes you make for them! Happy cooking!
Any substitute for the Old Bay? I do not like the taste of salt and the sodium in this is pretty high. Is there a combination of spices one can use? I see it is used in a lot of “seafood” recipes and every time I try to use it, all I taste is salt. Suggestions? This looks sooooo good!!!
You can just leave it out if needed I guess, it does add a specific flavor though. But if you don’t like it, leave it out. Hope that helps and you enjoy it!
This is sooooo good! I made a double batch of it and froze it in individual containers so I can have something delicious when I get home after a long day. All I need is a salad and some crackers and I have a satisfying, yummy meal. Thanks for sharing this and all your other wonderful recipes!
Hi Geri. You are welcome! I’m thrilled that you love the chowder! Thanks so much for taking your time to share your great review and comments!
LOVE this recipe! I brought my husband home from the hospital last night after an outpatient surgery. He was a bit groggy and seemed to want clam chowder so I tried your recipe and was blown away at how yummy and easy it was to make. This will be one of our go to recipes and I will be sure to always have a can of hearts of palm in my cupboard. Thank you for sharing your recipes!
All I have to say is…WOW!! One thing I have been missing since going vegan is a good chowder. I was so excited when this recipe showed up in my email and I made it for dinner tonight. It is so deliciously amazing that I know it will be a regular on my dinner menu, especially when the cold weather hits. Thank you so much Nora I feel like my vegan diet is complete now.
I am so glad that you loved the clam chowder! With crusty bread in the winter…yum! Thanks for taking time to share your review and comments! So thrilled the chowder will be going on your regular dinner menu! Happy cooking!
This is so good! Clam chowder is one of the things I’ve missed most since going vegan, and this completely satisfied that craving! 10/10 recipe!
Thanks Heidi, I’m so glad to hear that!
Thank you Jenna!
This looks delicious Nora, definitely making!! I’ll probably use white button mushrooms instead of hearts of palm as you suggested and I highly recommend to everyone Beleaf Vegan bacon – it’s so good!!!
Thanks so much Lorri! I hope you love the chowder. I haven’t heard of that brand of vegan bacon, I’ll have to look for it, thanks!