So last night we got our first BIG snow storm in Denver……NOT! As per usual, the weather prediction was wrong and we did not get ten inches of pillowly powder. Instead we got rain that turned into wet, heavy snow. Even though we didn’t get what we all thought, it’s still pretty to wake up to. It’s also still chilly enough outside that a steaming bowl of creamy corn chowder really hit the spot for lunch!
I’ve made a lot of vegan corn chowder in my day, but this one was really delicious due one small tweak I made. In the past, I’ve always used rice milk because of its neutral flavor and then thickened the soup with cornstarch. But it’s always lacked that rich, creamy, fatty flavor of regular chowder, introduce: full fat coconut milk! I’ve been kind of obsessed with coconut in any form since my class about fats and how not to shy away from the healthy ones. In recent weeks, we have been talking about vitamins and this recipe really highlights some of the things I learned in regards to a couple of them.
Vitamin A and C made the star role in this soup and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Vitamin A, as many people know is called the “vision vitamin,” but that’s only if it’s in its active form. Unfortunately for us vegans that is never the case because we don’t eat meat, so our bodies have to convert carotenoids, which is the colored pigment found in foods, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash into active Vitamin A. This is done by cooking these vegetables to breakdown the cellular walls and then adding some sort of fat to help the conversion to the active form. Done and done, we’ve got cooked carrot, sweet potatoes and red bell pepper paired with full fat coconut milk in this soup. Vitamin C, has antioxidant and antihistamine properties which aid in immune health, espeically important since we are now in the prime flu season. I used red bell peppers, plus the sweet potato to boost vitamin C. Red bell pepper actually has more vitamin C than any other food, even oranges. So next time, grab half a red bell when you’re in need of a boost!
- 1 medium sweet potato, cubed
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dry Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp unrefined organic coconut oil
- 1/2 red and orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup veggie stock
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Start by sauteing the first six ingredients in the coconut oil on medium high heat, for 10 minutes.
- Add liquid smoke, veggie stock and the full can of coconut milk to vegetables. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- With an emersion blender, blend the soup ingredients, until most of the sweet potatoes are blended or in small chunks.
- Add the diced bell peppers and corn*; simmer until they are soft. The soup should be a thick chowder consistency and can be thinned to your liking.
- Once soup has simmered and vegetables are tender, top with chopped parsley.
*Fresh corn is preferable, but frozen will work just fine. I like to buy corn on the cob in bulk in the summer when it’s at its peak and local. This way, I can boil, cut the kernels off and freeze sweet corn and have it all winter long.