Vegetarian Fall Chowder

Fall is making it’s way, slowly, down to us here in Texas!  No matter how slowly it’s moving, the first crisp breeze always makes me crave warm comfort foods.  Spicy pumpkin breads, creamy mashed potatoes, saucy, braised meats… you get the picture.  I was talking to a friend of mine at a meeting the other day about this very subject.  She sprung a surprise on me, though!  She is now a vegetarian!  No pot roast or garlicky tomato meat sauce for her this Fall!  So I was challenged to come up with some yummy veggie friendly recipes.  I started with my Fall favorites:  Sweet potatoes, Butternut Squash and pumpkin!  Here is a recipe I created for a Fall stew of sorts.  It is warm, creamy and filling.  And it has those yummy spices and flavors that we associate with Fall.  The addition of some cheese filled tortellini ups the satisfaction factor and scores more points on the comfort food scale!

Here is the recipe.  Please note that it makes a large serving.  You can always cut the amounts in half and play with the seasonings.   I served this chowder with crusty French bread and a simple salad.  We non-vegetarians didn’t even miss the meat!  Hope you guys all love this recipe and that it puts you in a fall kind of mood!

Fall Chowder

¼ stick butter

½ Cup flour

Warm Water

1 Can pumpkin puree

2 Cups dry white wine.  (preferably sherry)

1 small block of parmesan cheese – cut into chunks

1 small butternut squash

2 medium zucchini

2 russet potatoes

2 sweet potatoes

1 bunch of fresh thyme

1t nutmeg

Salt and pepper, sour cream and shredded parmesan for garnish

1 Cup heavy cream

1 package fresh cheese filled tortellini.  (I used Bertolli)

  1. Peel the butternut squash, and chop it into ½” pieces.  Wash and chop the other veggies into 1/2’” pieces, also.  Put all of the chopped veggies into a 6 quart crock pot.
  2. Salt and pepper the veggies.
  3. Place the chunks of parmesan on top of the veggies
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking until a thick paste forms.  Add 3 Cups of warm water.  Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and smooths out.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until all is smooth and thick.
  5. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the top of the veggies.  Add the wine, and more warm water until liquid is about 6” from the top of the crockpot/veggies
  6. Lay the thyme on top and sprinkle with the nutmeg.
  7. Turn the crock pot on high for 5-6 hours.  If possible, stir the stew 2-3 times during cooking
  8. Once the veggies are fork tender (And about 1 hour before serving time) add the cream and the pasta.  Let it continue to cook for another 30-45 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
  9. Discard the thyme stems
  10. Ladle the stew into bowls and top with sour cream and a little parmesan.


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