Creamy Corn and Quinoa Chowder

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on December 11, 2013

IMG_9788

It has been so cold in the Bay Area lately! Well, cold for the Bay Area that is (30-40 degrees). And because of that I’ve been making a lot of soups.

One soup in particular that the husband and I both love is this Corn and Quinoa Chowder. Corn Chowder is one of the husband’s favorite soups, but I never eat more than 2 bites of it because the traditional recipe (made with butter, cream, milk) is way too heavy for me.

I had been looking for a healthier version for a long time when I came across this Vegetarian Times recipe. I’ve made quite a few modifications to it to give it more depth of flavor (I found the Vegetarian Times version as-is to be too bland) – but it was a great base and inspiration for this soup!

IMG_9787

What makes this corn chowder healthier?

No cream or butter, for starters. Tons of fresh veggies to give it a nice bite, and quinoa – the secret star ingredient for texture and protein. Unsweetened, organic, plain soymilk gives it a creamy taste without the extra fat and calories (and trust me, the soup doesn’t even have a hint of soy flavor – it’s amazing!)

IMG_9785

The Ingredients

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

  • 3/4 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained  
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil or organic canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (I used EarthBound Farm’s Organic Frozen Corn - each kernel was so sweet and delicious, it tasted fresh!)
  • 1 large red potato, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 small shallots, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened, organic soymilk (I used WestSoy)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Lime wedges
  • 1/2-1 tsp cumin powder (I’d suggest adding 1/2 tsp, stirring and only adding more if you feel it needs more cumin flavor)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste, depending on how spicy you like things)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

IMG_9774

The Directions

Step 1: Toast quinoa and cumin seeds in pot over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl.

IMG_9776

Step 2: Heat oil in pot; add corn, potato and shallots. Sauté 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent.

IMG_9777

Step 3: Add broth and soymilk and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa mixture and all spices (cumin powder through black pepper). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

IMG_9779

Step 4: Stir in bell pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.

IMG_9780

Step 5: Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges (squeeze lime juice into soup and stir before eating).

IMG_9789

One HUGE bowl of this chowder only has ~250 calories, 8g protein and 5g fiber. It’s also vegan and gluten-free (but it doesn’t taste like it!)

The husband totally validated how creamy the soup tasted – “just like regular corn chowder,” he said. I loved the combination of flavors with the cumin, cilantro, lime, and slight hint of heat from the crushed red pepper. Absolutely delicious.

IMG_9791

Creamy Corn and Quinoa Chowder

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 253

Calories per serving: 7g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 253 Calories, 7g Fat, 378mg Sodium, 44g Carbs, 8g Protein, 5g Fiber, 1g Sugar

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil or organic canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (I used EarthBound Farm's Organic Frozen Corn)
  • 1 large red potato, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 small shallots, chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened, organic soymilk (I used WestSoy)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • Lime wedges
  • 1/2-1 tsp cumin powder (I'd suggest adding 1/2 tsp, stirring and only adding more if you feel it needs more cumin flavor)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste, depending on how spicy you like things)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Toast quinoa and cumin seeds in pot over medium-high heat, 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Heat oil in pot; add corn, potato and shallots. Sauté 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent.
  3. Add broth and soymilk and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa mixture and all spices (cumin powder through black pepper). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in bell pepper, cover and simmer 5 minutes, or until quinoa and vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.
  5. Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges (squeeze lime juice into soup and stir before eating).

Notes

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

http://pickyeaterblog.com/creamy-healthy-corn-and-quinoa-chowder/

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Babygirl November 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Very cool recipe

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Thanks! Hope you like it!

Reply

Jennifer November 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Can NOT wait to make this! Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Yay! Thanks Jennifer! I’m sure you will love this recipe!

Reply

Jen (A Girl and Her Carrot) November 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I am absolutely trying this out! Thanks for a great recipe! Yummy! I wonder how some navy beans would do in the mix?

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Awesome!! I think navy beans could probably work in this soup. If you do decide to add them, I’d recommend decreasing the quinoa amount a bit (maybe to about 1/3 or 1/2 cup depending on how much of the beans you add) – so the soup doesn’t get too thick. Let me know how it turns out!

Reply

Chef Dennis November 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm

that sounds like a delicious chowder!! I have my girls eating quinoa on a regular basis now, I will have to try your recipe!
Cheers
Dennis

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater November 30, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Yay! Thanks Dennis :) I can’t wait to hear how you and your girls like this recipe!

Reply

Jeanette November 30, 2010 at 4:52 am

This looks really creamy and delicious. Can you taste the soy milk in the soup? I’ve been making a few quinoa soups and I really like it since quinoa is so much healthier than pasta.

Reply

anjalim November 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

So, the amazing thing is – you can’t taste the soy milk in the soup at ALL! Just make sure you get the unsweetened, unflavored one. It just gives the soup an amazing, creamy texture without adding all of the fat/etc of regular cream. And totally agree with you about quinoa – its such a great substitute!

Reply

Stephanie M at Together In Food November 30, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Hi Anjali,
I’m glad to have found your blog via LinkedIn. I’ve been looking for a good quinoa recipe and this one looks delish — can’t wait to try it out, especially since my husband, who is a big meat-eater (but who I’ve gotten to eat more meatless meals — triumph! :-)), loves corn chowder.

Reply

anjalim December 3, 2010 at 12:33 am

Thanks so much for your comment Stephanie! :) Let me know how you and your husband like this soup once you make it. My husband used to be a big meat-eater too – and he thought the soup was super hearty so I think this recipe definitely works for all types of foodies :)

Reply

Quinoa Diet Tips December 3, 2010 at 3:13 am

This quinoa chowder looks absolutely amazing, it’s so creamy and I’m sure very yummy too.
I’ll definitely give this recipe a go.
I eat meat too but I love soups like this. I tried different brands of soy milk but not a big fan:(

Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

Naomi

Reply

anjalim December 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Thanks for your comment! Let me know how it turns out for you. I’m not a huge fan of soy milk either – but you can’t even taste this one in the soup (I got it from Trader Joe’s). Love your blog btw – I’m always looking for more recipes to make with quinoa!

Reply

Danielle @ It's A Harleyyy Life December 12, 2013 at 5:12 am

this look so delicious!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

Yay! Thanks Danielle! Let me know if you end up trying it!

Reply

Elizabeth Batte December 12, 2013 at 7:12 am

YUM!

I just stumbled upon your blog and love it – I’m always looking for a vegan way to get a creamy taste!!!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 12, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thanks so much Elizabeth!! It’s so great to “meet” you! :)

Reply

Phil Nauta December 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for the recipe :) It’s on the stove for tonight! Whenever I’m in the bulk foods aisle at my grocery store I’m faced with the decision between regular quinoa, red, or mixed! Do you notice a difference in flavour? I usually buy for the interest of colour but I wonder if there’s more to it!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Awesome!! I can’t wait for you to try it :) So there are slight differences between red, black and white quinoa (but not major ones). White quinoa has the softest texture of the three, while red or black maintain a more firm “crunchy” texture when cooked. Black quinoa also has a slightly more earthy flavor than the other two varieties. Hope that helps!

Reply

Phil Nauta December 16, 2013 at 6:26 am

Thanks for the info Anjali (and the chowder was AMAZING!).

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

No problem! And yay!! So glad to hear it!

Reply

Sylvia Dewy December 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

This looks so amazing! I love the color and texture of chowder its absolutely perfect. Can’t wait to try this recipe out. Thanks for this wonderful recipe! :)

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

Thanks so much Sylvia! I’m sure you will love this recipe – it’s perfect for the season! :)

Reply

Rekha Parmar December 14, 2013 at 1:32 am

Looks delicious. Definitely trying this, but I might add coconut milk. Love your blog and follow it!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thanks Rekha! I’d be interested to hear how it tastes with coconut milk – keep me posted on how it turns out!

Reply

Parita @ myinnershakti December 18, 2013 at 6:17 am

Made this last night! Delicious! Loved all the different textures. :)

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

Yayyy! So glad you liked this recipe Parita! :)

Reply

CherrieMiller December 22, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thanks for sharing this info! :)

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 22, 2013 at 10:12 am

No problem! Enjoy!

Reply

Ashley Schultz March 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I am eating this right now. It has such a delicious flavor. I only had red quinoa and coconut milk and I didn’t have limes so I used lime juice from a bottle but it’s still really good. I imagine it would be a little bit creamier with white quinoa and a little less broth-like if I used soy milk instead of coconut milk. But it’s really good and I look forward to making it again when I have all of the ingredients on hand. This soup has my name written all over it. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Oh great! I’m glad the substitutions turned out well for you :) You’re right, I think the soy milk will make it more creamy — since when it heats up it gets a little bit thicker. So glad you liked this recipe Ashley!

Reply

Laura P. May 14, 2014 at 7:59 am

Hi Anjali,
I will be making this chowder for dinner tonight! Can’t wait to try it and I’m so glad to have found your blog. I am always looking for healthy, vegetarian meals to prepare with my family and this looks like a winner! I am looking forward to exploring your blog!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Oh awesome! It’s so great to “meet” you Laura! I can’t wait to hear how you and your family like this recipe :) Keep me posted as you explore more of the recipes on my blog!

Reply

Laura P. May 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Hi Anjali,
Thank you for welcoming me to your site! My family LOVES this chowder! I followed the recipe almost exactly (just used frozen fire roasted corn instead of plain sweet corn) and it is just delicious! Even though the recipe made a pretty good sized pot of chowder, there is just enough leftover for tomorrow’s lunch! We all had second helpings of this hearty soup. I used the Whole Foods 365 brand of plain, unsweetened soy milk and my picky husband has no idea that the chowder does not contain milk. He didn’t ask so I’m not telling!

Reply

Laura P. May 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

P.S. Looks like part of my reply was omitted…I must be too wordy! I wanted to add that the addition of freshly squeezed lime made all the flavors come alive. I am looking forward to trying more of your family friendly recipes. Thank you!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater May 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Awww that is so great to hear!! I’m so happy you and your family loved this recipe. My husband couldn’t tell that the chowder didn’t contain milk either — isn’t it fun when healthy swaps work out so well? :) Thanks for letting me know! Keep me posted on how the rest of my recipes turn out for you!

Reply

Valerie August 19, 2014 at 7:07 am

Made this last night and first, let me say, the soup was delicious. Just a few comments. We followed the recipe with the exception being that we used chicken broth (low sodium) versus vegetable broth. We also added an extra cup of frozen corn (mostly just to finish off the bag.) When it was all said and done, my boyfriend and I both found it a little bland. We ended up adding more salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes. We also added a few drops of a smoky chili sauce for some extra depth. Obviously, some of this is a matter of preference but I figured I’d throw that out there. We served it to guests and everyone loved it. :) Also, I thought it was one of the best “chowders” I’ve ever had… and I am usually not too keen on chowder recipes. My boyfriend (who loves them!) said that while the soup was great, it was less chowder-like than most (mostly due to the lack of milk) and so it wasn’t a true chowder. This of course, is why I liked it as much as I did.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Hi Valerie! Thanks so much for sharing your experience, I’m so glad you liked this recipe! Since you added the extra corn, it makes sense that the existing seasoning amounts in my recipe weren’t enough. Because the extra corn definitely would need more seasoning to compensate for it! But I’m glad you modified it – love the idea of adding smoky chili sauce to it too :) Thanks again!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: