This was a tough week for many, as when we “sprang forward” with Daylight Savings Time, I believe our bodies simultaneously transitioned to spring mode….meaning fully anticipating sunshine and warmer weather. What did we get? Grey skies and Arctic freeze. I mean serious, face-hurting, Arctic freeze! When this happens, there is only one way I can cope. Soup. Lots and lots of soup.

While I enjoy a nice hearty chowder, unfortunately, many recipes call for copious amounts of cheese, cream and flour. Oh boy. Just what your gut asked for. While I have been known to enjoy the odd slice of artisanal cheese accompanied by a luscious glass of wine, I do try to keep the dairy and gluten to a minimum (sorry, Dad). So when this week’s weather had me scrambling for something hearty and warm, all I could think about was chowder. At the same time, my gut cramped and recoiled at the thought of cream, cheese and flour – ugh. Have no fear; yes, you can have a creamy, hearty chowder and NOT have an immediate gut ache! Enter nutritional yeast. Every pantry – and I mean every – should have this product on hand. It lends a yummy, cheesy flavour, is mineral and B-12 rich, and has zero sodium to boot!  It’s incredibly versatile, even if you only ever use it for popcorn (ahem, Heather).

So getting back to my chowder. I Googled broccoli chowder, used the first recipe that came up, and proceeded to substitute cheese for nutritional yeast, and simply ignored the request for flour and cream. The end result was yummy, hearty and just what I needed to cope with the harsh Arctic freeze.

Veganized Gluten-free Broccoli Chowder

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups onion diced
1 cup chopped carrot
1 1/2 cups potato diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups trimmed and chopped broccoli stems
2  1/2 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups frozen corn
Toasted cashews for garnish
Chopped green onion for garnish

Melt coconut oil in stock pot. Add onion and sauté until softened. Add carrot and stir for 5 minutes. Add garlic. Add dry mustard and cayenne pepper. Add stock and broccoli stems, then bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add florets and simmer an additional ten minutes. Add nutritional yeast. Using immersion blender, blend until smooth (adding stock or water if needed). Once blended, add frozen corn and stir until heated through. Garnish with cashews and onion. Enjoy 🙂