Herby Butternut Squash Corn Chowder

Soup is such perfect winter comfort food. This time of year, I make soup at least once or twice a week. I love how it warms up my whole body, and I love how great the leftovers are for busy evenings. This corn chowder is a much more nourishing re-invention of the classic and is one of my winter favorites.

When I was little, I absolutely loved corn chowder. I remember getting corn chowder in a bread bowl at Quincy Market in Boston and thinking it was the best thing I had ever experienced. But somewhere along the way in my journey toward more nourishing and plant-based food, I stopped enjoying creamy, heavy soups and hadn't had corn chowder in years.

I started making this squash-based version a few winters ago and it has become a go-to in our house. Instead of loads of cream, pureed butternut squash makes up the "creamy" base of this soup. It's a great trick for giving soup lots of body and flavor in a way that's still veggie-filled and good for the body.

I'm so happy I discovered this! Now I've reunited with my childhood love of corn chowder.

The other great thing about using squash is that it adds a lovely, subtle sweetness that complements the sweetness of the corn beautifully. While traditional chowder seems to be all about the cream, this one is loaded with tasty veggies that are the star of the show. I complement them with flavor-packed onion, lots of freshly ground black pepper, and wintry herbs to bring some complexity.

This soup is actually quite fast to make and comes together all in one pot (hooray!!). You'll sautee the onion first, add the squash and cook it in your liquid of choice, puree it partially (an immersion blender is so easy!), then add the corn at the end. It takes less than 45 minutes from beginning to end, and is mostly hands-off time (during which you can whip up a wintry salad like this one, which will go with it perfectly).

There are a few ways you can modify this soup to make it your own. I prefer to just use water as the liquid, but adding in some coconut milk will yield an extra creamy result. It also works beautifully with sweet potato instead of butternut squash, or a combination of the two. Then top it however you like- crunchy nuts, a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of balsamic, or croutons would all be great. You could even make a toppings bar and let everyone build their own bowls.

Like many soups, this one freezes really well. Just put any leftovers in a tightly sealed container and stash it away for a busy evening later on. It will be fine in the freezer for a couple months.

Do you have a particular food that is really nostalgic but that you don't really feel great eating as an adult? Corn chowder was definitely that food for me. I loved the concept and memory of it, but not so much the ingredients. I'm so happy to have re-invented it in a way that's just as delicious, much better for the body, fresher tasting, and more colorful.

Hope this one brings you lots of coziness this winter!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

I think I have a squash soup obsession. My other go-to this time of year is this Creamy Vegan Kabocha Squash Soup, it's like a cozy hug!

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Large sweet onion
  • Oil of choice for cooking
  • Very generous sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Medium/large butternut squash
  • Few c water and/or veggie stock and/or coconut milk. Water will work fine and is easiest. Stock will work great too, but isn't really necessary given all the other flavors here. Add some coconut milk (the canned, fatty kind, not the beverage!) if you want a creamier result.
  • 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 c corn. Assuming you're making this soup during the winter, frozen corn is probably your best bet. Thaw it first. I like to buy the grilled, frozen corn at Trader Joe's during the winter for maximum flavor and ease.
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Optional, but I love the subtle zing it provides; it makes all the other flavors come alive. Trust me! You might not need it if you use coconut milk though.
  •  Garnishes of choice. Pine nuts or croutons add great crunch. I sometimes add a drizzle of reduced balsamic. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese adds great flavor and richness. Or do them all!
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Dice up a sweet onion. In a large soup pot with your cooking oil of choice, sautee the onion with generous salt and pepper until tender and transparent. Don't caramelize it since it will impact the color of your soup.
  2. Meanwhile, cube up a butternut squash.
  3. When the onion is done, pull out about half and set it aside (you'll add it back later after pureeing the base of the soup).
  4. Add the squash to the pot. Cover the squash with just barely enough liquid to submerge it. Don't add too much! You can easily add more liquid if needed but it's hard to take it away efficiently. Err on the side of too little.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil.
  6. While the liquid is heating, strip the leaves from the fresh thyme and add them to the pot. Strip the leaves from the rosemary, dice them super finely, and add those to the pot as well.
  7. Keep the pot at a low simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
  8. Once the squash is very tender, puree the soup about half to two thirds of the way, either using an immersion blender or by transferring in batches to a regular blender. I like to leave some chunks of squash, but a full puree will also work. You can add a bit more liquid if needed to get to your desired consistency.
  9. Add in the onions you set aside earlier, as well as the corn and apple cider vinegar.
  10. Simmer for a few more minutes to heat up the corn and bring the flavors together.
  11. Taste it! If you want more flavor, add a bit more salt and pepper, or another little dash of cider vinegar.


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