My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy-As-A-Clam Clamfree Chowder

It's been bitterly cold since Friday (highs in the single digits, lows below zero, ghastly windchills), so it was time to get out the soup pot and make a batch of chowdah! A few years into my veganhood I got a hankering for New England clam chowder. It wasn't a soup I ate a lot growing up (despite spending much of my dissipated youth in New England), but every now and then I would crave it, and that craving had come over me once again. So I found a couple of vegan recipes, used ideas from both and added some of my own, and over the years I've made changes every time I've made the soup till I arrived at what, to me, is a perfect vegan version of New England Clam Chowder. I think it tastes like the conventional thing (as best I remember it), but BW, who never liked clam chowder, loves this. So go figure! Anyway, it's yummy soup, especially on a nor'easter sort of day. Ayuh! ;-)

Happy-As-A-Clam Clamfree Chowder


1/4 cup tamari
1/4 tsp nori flakes
1/8 tsp kelp flakes
1 14-oz pkg (more or less) organic extra firm tofu, marinated, baked and cubed (see below)

About 3-4 TBSP water (for sautéing)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened organic soymilk (full-fat, not light)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP dulse flakes or combination dulse and nori flakes
scant 1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed
3 large potatoes, cubed (I use Yukon Gold)
3 celery stalks, chopped


• Mix the dulse, nori and kelp flakes with the tamari.

• Drain the tofu well (press as much water out as possible) and slice it into strips about 1/4" thick and 1/2" wide (about the shape and size of fish sticks, pardon the non-vegan reference) and marinate in the tamari mix for 3-4 hours, turning the tofu now and then so it's well-coated in the marinade. (I marinate it in one of those nifty containers with the locking lid latches, so I can just turn the entire container over every 30 minutes or so).

• After marinating, bake the "tofu sticks" on a nonstick cookie sheet at 425ºF for 10-15 minutes on each side, till nicely browned but not crispy. Cool. Cut into cubes for the chowder and set aside. (Feel free to nibble on a couple of the sticks, they're salty and tasty and you may not want to use all of them in the chowder. I usually set aside 4-6 of them for nibbling or to put on tossed salads, and the rest I cube for the soup.)

• Heat 3-4 TBSP water in a large non-stick soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or till onion is soft. (Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking.)

• Add the 2 cups of water and the soymilk and stir.

• Add the salt, pepper, and celery seed and bring to a low boil. Add the potatoes and celery, immediately reduce heat to low-medium, and let the chowder simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 30-45 minutes on low-medium heat), stirring frequently. (I tend to simmer mine covered, and at my high altitude it takes about 40-45 minutes for the potatoes to be done. The longer you simmer it, the thicker the soup will be.)

* Add the tofu cubes during the last 3-5 minutes of cooking. (Adding them sooner makes them too soft).

* Salt individual servings to taste. Remember that the dulse flakes and the marinated tofu both taste salty!

Makes 6-8 servings

You can use whatever sea veggies you prefer in this. I really like dulse and think it adds a wonderful but not overpowering aroma and flavor of the sea to this chowder.

Here's another vegan clamless chowder recipe.

To learn more about nutritious, delicious sea vegetables and more ways to incorporate them into your diet, visit Maine Coast Sea Vegetables or Cook's Thesaurus: Sea Vegetables.

If human civilization
is going to invade the waters of the earth,
then let it be, first of all, to carry a message of respect ~ respect for all life.
~Jacques Cousteau

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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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