Back when I had my firstborn (almost four years ago!), a friend noticed from my IG posts that I was dabbling in dairy free eating, seeing if it could help my new, breastfeeding baby with sleep, gas, and eczema. As a first time mom, I was desperate to know what I had to be doing wrong to have a totally abnormal newborn with excruciating gas, the inability to sleep long stretches, and weird skin issues (cue laughter from veteran mamas). Now, 19 months after having my second child, I barely batted an eye at any of these “problems”, I just braced myself with coffee, audiobooks, and Aquaphor.
If I had the knowledge and food options we have now, just a few years later, I think I could have actually stuck to my dairy free living for more than nine days. The options have EXPLODED in just a few years, as is evidenced by my favorite vegan cheese and oat coffee creamer. But even if I wasn’t fully committed, didn’t know (or care) what I was eating, and never did figure out a way to get that child to sleep, gaining this vegan corn chowder recipe was well worth the attempt.
Here’s what I’ve learned about this big batch vegan corn chowder after making it literally dozens of times over years, so you know the recipe is good. It’s:
- So creamy that family and friends are truly surprised it’s dairy free.
- Thick and smooth, thanks to blended potatoes in the chowder base. No gluten here!
- Infused with tons of corn flavor, blended into the base and with plenty of kernels in the soup.
- Got all your macros: carb, veggies (add more if you like!) and vegan protein all in one bowl.
- Made for the freezer, saving you with a homemade meal on the crazy nights.
- Excellent to pack in a lunch thermos, with just a dash of hot sauce and a handful of scallions.
- A great year round soup, using frozen or simple vegetables.
How to Batch Cook Vegan Corn Chowder
In the recipe that was sent to me (not written by the friend), I found the directions scattered and hard to follow. I was able to multiply the batch size, simplify the ingredients (ain’t nobody got time to saw out-of-season corn off the cob), reduce cookware to one pot and one blender, and streamline the process into just two main steps (preparing the chowder base and assembling the soup).
At first read, you, too, might think the recipe sounds confusing, but the key is to first choose your batch cooking method. Once you do that, it’s smooth sailing ahead. Here are your options:
- Prep one BIG batch. And by big I mean you need to use an 8 quart or larger pot, which isn’t exactly standard kitchen gear.
- Prep in two batches. This is the method I use and the one that’s emphasized in the recipe below. Although I live for batch cooking, my goal is to make those recipes accessible to the average kitchen, so I haven’t yet added that big of a pot to my arsenal. I use my 7 quart Le Creuset dutch oven for everything: boiling the potatoes for the base, and later for assembling the soup (twice).
The Big Batch Pays Off
As with many batch cooking recipes, this one requires a bit of time up front. But for me, the payoff is when I think about how much time I put into each night of dinner that comes out of the recipe. So, let’s say I spend 90 minutes on this vegan corn chowder between prepping the base, chopping the veggies, assembling my spices, and cooking the soup. I’ll divide that by 7, because one quart of soup is currently the perfect amount to feed our family one meal. It comes out to THIRTEEN MINUTES per quart of soup.
It’s nearly impossible to spend thirteen minutes preparing a homemade dinner like this, a soup without tons of added oil or sugar or salt (aka not store bought–which has its place at times). Honestly, you couldn’t even get to the grocery store for a prepared meal or order and receive takeout in thirteen minutes. So yet again, with a little up front investment, batch cooking comes in for the win in terms of health, efficiency, and value–this chowder is made up of basic, mostly inexpensive vegetables and pantry staples.
So add this one to your next batch cooking meal plan, or just as a one-off batch cooking project, and reap, er, eat, the fruits of your labor for weeks to come!
Video note: some helpful clips of prepping this corn chowder can be found in my IG reels!
A few options for making this HUGE batch cooking version of vegan corn chowder to stock your freezer: Make it all at once in an 8 quart or larger pot, divide all your ingredients in half and make in two pots or two batches (I do two batches on two back-to-back days), or halve the recipe if 7 quarts is just way more than you’ll ever eat.
- 3 lbs. potatoes, russet or yellow
- 1 can (14 oz.) full fat coconut milk
- 9 C frozen corn
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 large white or yellow onions
- 4 tsp minced garlic (jarred or fresh)
- 2 lbs. carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 bunch celery, leaves discarded, chopped
- 3 red bell peppers, diced (or yellow or orange)
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Old Bay or similar seafood seasoning
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 can garbanzo or white beans (optional)
- Sliced scallions and hot sauce, for topping
Make the chowder base
- You’ll cook all the potatoes at once, then blend in two or more batches.
- Peel 1 1/2 pounds of the potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover by a couple inches with water, using at least 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then continue gently boiling until potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat but DO NOT DRAIN.
- Repeat twice if using an 8 cup blender: Place half the potatoes in the blender, add 3 cups of the hot cooking water, half the can of coconut milk, and 2 cups of frozen corn kernels. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the first batch into containers you’ll use to freeze the final soup, then blend and store the next batch the same way. Refrigerate chowder base if not assembling the soup immediately.
Cook the soup
- As a reminder, do this in an eight quart or larger pot, or in two separate batches in a smaller (4 quart or larger) pot.
- Peel and dice remaining 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes.
If making in two batches, repeat twice:
- Heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium heat. Add half of: diced potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Add 2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp Old Bay, 1 tsp paprika, and 1/4 tsp cumin, and cook another five minutes, stirring often.
- Add 2 1/2 C frozen corn and half of chowder based (two quarts). Adjust heat to medium low, partially cover, and simmer gently until potatoes and carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir often, and keep heat only as high as needed to just maintain a simmer, or the chowder base can burn on the bottom of the pot (if this happens, don’t scrape it into the soup, just let it sit at the bottom).
- Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or portion into freezer friendly containers, refrigerate or cool to room temp, then freeze until needed. Keeps about 4 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer.