If you are from New England, you know how much chowdah is a regular thang. Here’s our wicked healthy twist on this New England classic!
This plant-forward version of chowdah ticks off all the boxes of familiarity and comfort food with cauliflower, potatoes, miso and celery. Although traditional chowdah is typically a rich and dairy-heavy dish, our wicked healthy version is dairy- and gluten-free, nourishing, prepared with minimal added fats (and oil-free optional) and low sodium, but just as crazy delicious!
The base of this chowdah is a pureed cauliflower-miso broth, which can stand on its own as a great sipping broth, but taking the extra steps to finish it off with buttery cauliflower florets, creamy potatoes and crisp, clean celery adds a wholesome heartiness and spikes its nutritional value, so we say go all the way! This one is a keeper and so we’ll be making it again and again and again!
Just a side note on the miso: once you add it to the cooking pot, never bring it to a boil. Why? Because high heat destroys its healthful, probiotic properties. Read more about the healthful benefits of miso here.
Now onto some Wicked Healthy tips on scoring perfect produce for this dish:
When choosing cauliflower, look for pristine and compact heads that are creamy white with very little to no brown spots. Pure white cauliflower is not quite ripe yet. The leaves attached to it should be bright green and crisp. To store it intact, keep it in the refrigerator loosely wrapped in plastic for one to two weeks. You can also cut the head into florets and seal in a sealed plastic bag which will last about a week in the refrigerator.
When choosing celery, look for green, crisp stalks with bright green leaves. Any rubbery texture or discolored portions should be avoided. For a few ideas on how to store it, check out these methods! These bad boys below are some of the biggest we’ve ever seen, found at the local farmers market.
For the broth:
3 cups of cauliflower florets
7 cups water (*see note below)
1/4 cup miso
To finish the soup:
1 T plant-based butter or oil (optional)
1/2 large white onion, diced
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch half moon slices
4 garlic cloves, rough sliced
1 bay leaf
2 Russet potatoes, peeled, cubed and poached al dente (*Cook the potatoes separately until they are al dente, this can be done ahead of time. If preferred you could save the starchy water from cooking off the potatoes and use it to cook the cauliflower.)
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1/2 t white pepper
dusting of Old Bay
1/4 lime, juiced
chili oil drizzle
crackers or oyster crackers
To make the broth, on medium heat, in sauce pan, add the 3 cups of cauliflower and water and heat to a slow boil. Cook for 5 minutes, shut off heat and and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and cooking liquid to high speed blender, add miso and blend for 3 minutes starting from low and working your way up to high speed. Be careful if the liquid is wicked hot! Use caution. You’ll end up with a slightly thickened crazy creamy style miso soup. This is great on its own! After blended set aside.
Try roasting the cauliflower florets, this will add more complex flavors, just beware it will alter the color as well.
To finish the soup, heat pot on medium heat for 1 minute until warm, add oil (which is optional), add mirepoix (onions, celery, garlic) and sweat sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add bay leaf, al dente potatoes, 2 cups of cauliflower florets and white pepper, and stir for another minute, then add blended cauliflower-miso mixture and lower heat to low and bring to slow simmer for 30 minutes. Do not boil. Boiling will only mess with the nourishing aspects of the miso.
Remove from heat or keep on wicked low to keep it warm. Serve with any of the suggested garnish items listed above.