Autumn is truly one of my favourite times of the year food wise, colour wise, maybe no weather wise – unless of course we are blessed with those clear blue skies, the cold doesn’t bother me so much. Some of my favourite vegetables are in season at current, sprouts – yes I am that gal, parsnips, purple sweet potatoes, kale, I mean I really could go on, but you can totally google it yourself. For the last few months I have been very committed to my weekly Abel and Cole box, I mean I am stoked. Every week I am reminded just how glad I am that I’ve signed up to it. The produce is always top quality, insanely flavoursome, of all different shapes and sizes.

As much as I hate to be one of those people that likes to talk about how busy they are, I am afraid that that is what I am about to do, well in some form. My problem is, when I get busy, I get stuck in a food rut. I tend to make the same thing most days because of lack of time and lack of creativity. If it’s 8pm, I want food and I want food now. I know that a lot of meals are simple and quick to make or prepare and a lot of what I am about is that, but I am an all or nothing kind of gal. I don’t go half hearted. When I say this, what I mean is, if I have an idea in my head of a dish, if it’s different in too many ways I feel like I have failed. I know that seems a bit extreme and I do love a good play about in the kitchen, but it’s almost as if I have to prepare myself to play in the kitchen, 8pm and a hungry Soph is not the time – thus my reasoning for having the same meals pretty much daily as of the last week. Don’t get me wrong, I totally didn’t get board of it when I was eating it, but I feel it dampens my creativity and I get stuck into that inevitable food blogger rut. I switch up the dressings, but pretty much use the same vegetables.. it gets to Saturday and I have barely anything left and now given my new market venture, I am finding I have less time to actually plan my week in food. Ok so this is completely boring to most, I am aware, but I am also sure that a lot of you reading this probably feel the same and, that is totally ok. We’re human right, we want simple lives and if roasting all the veg, steaming all the greens and pairing it with a creamy dressing and a side of hummus happens for dinner every night then so be it.

However, I was getting annoyed at myself, again something I clearly like to do, I put too much pressure on myself to perform or whip out and write up amazing recipes for you all on a weekly basis. I am working on a huge project right now and so time hasn’t been my best friend, nor the lighting. I’ve also spent a lot of time writing the already perfected (well almost) recipes rather than testing new ones, so I apologies for lack of content, other than of course full to the brim breakfast bowls or ‘on toasts’.

In light of all of this, I decided to test one of my favourite autumn/winter dishes, get the bad boy tasting top notch and share it with you all. It’s all kinds of cosy, a subtle mix of sweet, spicy and salty all rolled into one, a triple S threat (eye roll).. for real though, this is a great recipe to make, half for one night, half for another – hello 8pm happy belly! A chowder is essentially a thick soup and a stew at the same time, usually made with some sort of cream or heavy milk, but keeping it vegan, I’ve subbed it for some oat milk, mustard and nutritional yeast. I like my chowders veg heavy and you could even skip the milk altogether as once it’s blender, you still get that delicious creamy consistency and the herbs/spices and mustard bring it together nicely. The addition of nutritional yeast is also a great option – a great source of B12 + fibre and adds a nice nutty cheesy flavour to it.

This is a pretty quick dish to whip up, it’s mostly down to the prep. Getting the veg chopped up and then frying it off a little before adding the liquid and you’re good to go. I love making a huge batch of this for friends with some crispy sourdough and a dollop of coconut yoghurt, but even with the salty crispy cabbage, another depth and texture is added. I also added some of my savoury Dust Granola as I am not only obsessed with it, but I do love a good crunch on my soupy stewy foods!

Note* Depending on what you serve this with, the recipe can serve three decent portions, but pair it with some bread, you’ll definitely be able to get 4 out of this recipe.

For the chowder: Serves 3-4
1 medium white onion – diced small
1 leek, small dice (white + light green part only)
3 cloves of garlic – minced
4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
1 large parsnip – peeled and chopped (bite size)
1 cup chopped (cubed) butternut squash
1 cup chopped (cubed) sweet potato
1.5 heaped cups of cauliflower florets – chopped small
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt + pepper to taste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3-4 tbsp oat milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tin butter beans – drained + rinsed well

Salty crispy cabbage ingredients:
1/4 head of a green cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp smoked paprika
salt + pepper
Other optional seasonings: celery salt, caraway seeds, nigella seeds

Optional sides: Sourdough, savoury granola/toasted nuts + seeds, coconut yoghurt

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a baking tray with baking paper – set aside.
  2. On a medium heat, in a dash of water, sauté your onions until soft and translucent. Add your leeks and continue to sauté until soft. You may want to add a dash more water if it starts to dry up here, then add your garlic, thyme and oregano.
  3. Once fragrant, add your parsnip, squash, sweet potato and cauliflower. Season here and stir well before adding the mustard, nutritional yeast, oat milk and lemon juice. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Once your pot is boiling, stir and then lower the heat to simmer. Let the vegetables cook until tender – usually 15 minutes or so.
  5. Whilst your chowder is simmering, place the cabbage onto the lined baking paper along with the coconut aminos, soy sauce, paprika, salt and pepper (and any other additions). Mix well to make sure the cabbage is coated and place the tray into the oven. Bake for around 10-12 minutes, or until the cabbage has slightly browned and getting slightly crispy. You will have to flip a few times while roasting.
  6. Once the parsnips, squash and potato are soft, remove from the heat. Ladel half of the chowder into a separate bowl and set aside. Using a hand/up-right blender, carefully blitz the remaining chowder in the pot until smooth.
  7. Put the other half of the chowder back into the pot along with the drained and rinsed butter beans. Season here if necessary.
  8. Bring the pot back to the bowl to allow it to heat through with the beans added.
  9. To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls, top with the salty crispy cabbage and a thick slice of sourdough. Add any other additional toppings here and dig in!

I am actually about to tuck into a helping of this as we speak – I made it a few days ago and it keeps well in a tupperware in the fridge, perfect for a chilly mid-week evening. The flavours keep on giving, so I’d even go as far as saying it’s potentially even better than the day I made it! Happy Tuesday!