This soup is reminiscent of New England clam chowder: it’s thick, creamy, and full of potatoes, as well as onion, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Chopped oyster mushrooms provide a great clam-like texture. A few cashews blended in add richness instead of cream and butter, and if you want a seafood flavor, simply add some kelp granules.
If this Clamless Chowder were a film, it would be "inspired by" instead of "based on" a true story. Traditional New England clam chowder is characterized by its heavy use of butter and salt, as well as actual clams. Given that none of these things are used in this chowder, it doesn't taste just like clam chowder, but I think it's the closest a plant-based, no-salt, no-clam chowder can get—and it's delicious!
Feel free to add kelp granules to get that seafood flavor (see Notes). Many people also enjoy using the granules because it add a bit of saltiness. This recipe also uses cauliflower, which to me has always tasted a little seafood-y and mineral-y, and I like its effect in this healthier chowder. Please leave a comment below if you make it; and let me know how you liked it and if you made any substitutions that worked well!Print