This dairy free Creamy Corn Chowder can be made with fresh or frozen corn, making it a winning dish any time of year, and who doesn’t love a good chowder? My love used to claim that he was not a fan of soups, but now he eats chowder, bisque, soup or stew for lunch most days throughout the colder months.
So, what’s the difference between chowder, bisque, soup and stew anyway? These terms are often used interchangeably, but let’s break it down:
Soup is a liquid food made by boiling vegetables, meat or fish in water or stock (1). Soup is typically cooked only long enough to cook the ingredients without compromising the texture.
Historically chowder was made with potatoes, onions, butter and cream and contains chunks of vegetables and/or seafood. I used red fingerling potatoes, leeks instead of onions, coconut oil instead of butter and coconut milk and cream instead of dairy.
Originating in France, traditional bisque is a smooth, creamy soup made with shellfish. The shells are used to make the stock, the seafood is added to the bisque and is pureed. These days we are more likely to hear about tomato bisque than seafood bisque.
Stew typically contains chunks of meat, fish and/or vegetables and is simmered or slow cooked aka ‘stewed’ for an extended time.
Health Benefits of Creamy Corn Chowder
Corn is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, so be sure that your corn is organic. Corn contains significant amounts of antioxidant phytonutrients lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids Lutein and zeaxanthin protect eyes from oxidative damage Yellow corn is richer in carotenoids than other kinds of corn (2). Some studies suggest that frozen corn may even contain more carotenoids than fresh (3).
Corn is a source of B vitamins, including B3, B6, folate and pantothenic acid. B vitamins are important for the normal functioning of the nervous system, for health of the skin, hair and eyes, and the gastrointestinal tract is enhanced with adequate B vitamins to support muscle tone (4).
Corn contains insoluble fiber in the form of lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to assist with elimination by helping food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines. Insoluble fiber is also important for the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Leeks and garlic are prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Red pepper is an excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C and is packed with antioxidants to combat free radical damage
Potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins (B6, B3, and pantothenic acid), potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Potatoes also contain insoluble fiber for the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria.
Celery is an excellent source of vitamin K, to help build and maintain healthy bones.
Coconut milk contains a medium chain triglyceride called lauric acid which, when converted in the body, has antifungal and antiviral effects (5).
Now, let’s get this chowder started.
Creamy Corn Chowder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 leek chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cups chopped potatoes (I used red fingerlings)
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
- 1 can coconut milk
- ⅓ cup coconut cream (optional, for extra creaminess)
- Heat coconut oil in large pot. Add garlic, leeks, red pepper and celery and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring while they cook.
- Add potatoes, vegetable stock, corn, pepper, salt and thyme. Bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
- Add coconut milk and coconut cream. Cook for another five minutes to heat the milk and cream.
- For a thicker chowder transfer ⅓ to ½ of chowder to a bowl and puree using an immersion blender. Alternately you can puree in a high speed blender. Be cautious when blending hot soup. Return puréed chowder to pot and stir in.