Fresh summer produce gets put to good use in this vegetarian chowder! This summer vegetable chowder is full of flavor thanks to the basil pesto stirred in at the end.
Welcome to a new week, friends! Did you have a nice weekend? We stuck with our plan to simply relax, and did so on the beach Saturday! It was HOT, but overall a beautiful beach day. And, thanks to Kyle’s expert sunscreen application, I have a wonderful blotchy sunburn.
Next time I’ll be applying the sunscreen myself at home before we go!
Anyway, a day on the beach is always a relaxing way to spend the day. My favorite beach activities are eating and reading. Anyone else want to eat the entire day while they are at the beach?
I packed a container of fresh cut peaches that I tore into as soon as we sat down. We each ate about 2 pieces before I dropped the container and the peaches fell into the sand. 😐 Lunch was a hoagie for Kyle and a version of this salad for me. Then there was a big bag of popcorn (duh!) and a ton of fresh sliced cucumbers (from the garden!).
I was able to finish my book while there, too. I read The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand, which is the perfect summer book! I’d recommend it if you love a sweet love story, but be warned it’s a tear jerker. I was crying throughout the last 20 pages or so. Luckily my sunglasses concealed this! 😉
Alright, I’ll stop talking about my day at the beach and move on to chowder!
You may be thinking it’s too hot for chowder, and I’d agree with you that it’s pretty darn hot, but it’s never too hot for chowder! Why? Well, because summer is the time for fresh veggies, so chowder (and any soup for that matter) just tastes better!
This vegetable summer chowder contains two of my favorites – sweet corn and zucchini. I’m on complete overload with zucchini from the garden, which as you know I love. If you don’t love zucchini though, this is definitely the recipe for you! You can’t even taste the zucchini in here, but it provides the chowder with a wonderful texture and nutrients of course.
Along with the corn and zucchini, there’s onions, celery, carrots, and serrano peppers for a little kick. Serrano peppers are another thing I’m on overload with from the garden, so I’ve been adding those to everything. If you don’t like heat you can simply leave those out, but if you do enjoy some kick, I highly recommend using them. They pair so perfectly with the sweet flavor from the corn.
To really kick up the flavor, I stir in homemade basil pesto right at the end. Basil pairs so wonderfully with corn and just adds so much to this chowder. Once again due to my garden, I have an abundance of basil – I cut handfuls off one day and it grows back overnight. So, I have pesto in my fridge at all times! If you don’t want to make your own pesto, you can certainly use your favorite jarred variety.
If you want to add even more flavor, you could sauté bacon first and then use the bacon fat to cook the veggies. I decided to keep this vegetarian, so no bacon here, but it would certainly be delicious!
Have a wonderful week!
- 3 Tablespoons Butter or Coconut Oil, divided
- 1 Onion, finely chopped
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Stalk Celery, finely chopped
- 3 Ears Fresh Sweet Corn, removed from the cob
- 2 Small Zucchini, cubed (I used yellow zucchini, green will be fine too)
- 1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
- 1-2 Serrano Peppers, finely minced*
- 1 Carrot, grated
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 Cup Vegetable Broth
- 3 Cups Half and Half
- 2 Tablespoons Homemade Basil Pesto
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter (or oil) in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and celery and sauté until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir before transferring the mixture to a bowl. Set aside.
- Melt another tablespoon of the butter and add in the corn, sautéing 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir before adding it to the bowl with the onion and celery.
- Melt the last tablespoon of butter in the pot and add in the zucchini in one layer. I had to do this in two batches because the pot I was using wasn’t big enough. Allow the zucchini to cook, untouched, for about 1-2 minutes until brown on one side. Flip and do the same for the other side. Season with salt and pepper and then add in the garlic, Serrano peppers, and grated carrot.
- Add the onion, celery, and corn back into the pot and stir to combine all of the vegetables. Place the thyme sprigs in the pot and then pour the vegetable broth and half and half.
- Simmer the chowder for 10 minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Remove 1-2 ladles of the chowder and reserve in a bowl. Puree the remainder with an immersion blender, or use a food processor or blender.
- Add the reserved chowder back into the pot and stir in the pesto. Ladle the chowder into bowls and top with parmesan cheese before serving.
- *The serrano peppers are optional - if you like a lot of heat use 2, use 1 for just a bit of heat, and omit all together if you don't want any.