This Skinny Low Carb New England Cauliflower Clam Chowder is low carb, and no one will guess that cauliflower is the secret ingredient.
I’ve got some exciting news! Last weekend, I was contacted by the producers of the Dr. Oz Show to come up with a healthy New England Clam Chowder for their Healthy Recipe Challenge. The trick was that my recipe couldn’t use heavy cream and needed to be light on the potatoes for a lower carb version.
Having lived in New England for the past 25+ years, I’ve had plenty of New England Clam Chowder, both good and bad. So, this was my chance to recreate my own healthier version with all the best qualities of this regional favorite.
As many of you know, I’ve had a bit of experience making creamless creamy soups and have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to recreate the rich mouth feel of a creamy soup without cream using ingredients such as cauliflower. In fact, you might remember last Spring when I participated in an event at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where I demonstrated my Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Chestnut Soup.
For my New England Clam Chowder, I wanted the soup to be white in color, so I cooked the cauliflower in water instead of roasting it, which got rid of the sulfur smell that is often associated with this cruciferous vegetable. The key to this recipe is to use plenty of good quality clam juice so you get that clammy taste so reminiscent of New England Clam Chowder.
The first time I made this recipe, I actually used half cauliflower and half Idaho potatoes, but found the potatoes melted right into the soup, so they only served as a thickener.
I consulted with Chef Brian Lewis of Elm Restaurant, who knows his New England Clam Chowder, and he suggested cooking some Yukon gold or similar potatoes separately and adding them to the soup at the end. So, that’s what I did. A few cooked potatoes pieces serve as a garnish along with turkey bacon bits. Of course, for an even lower carb soup, simply leave out the potato garnish.
Although I didn’t make it to the final round in the Healthy Recipe Challenge, I think Dr. Oz would have loved it. My entire family did and they had no idea the secret ingredient to making this Skinny New England Clam Chowder was cauliflower.
My Skinny New England Cauliflower Clam Chowder might not have won the Dr. Oz Healthy Recipe Challenge, but it’s still a winner in my book. Thanks to the producers of the Dr. Oz Show for giving me the opportunity to share my recipe for Skinny New England Clam Chowder.
Amongst the runner-ups in this Healthy Recipe Challenge were several other bloggers that I am thrilled to have met as a result. Please be sure to check out their winning recipes that were submitted for this challenge. I know these ladies worked just as hard as me to come up with their recipes and video clips, so be sure to check out their healthier takes on their state favorites.
Stephanie of Stephanie Eats Chicago made Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
Mellissa of I Breathe…I’m Hungry made Southern Fried Chicken (Low Carb and Gluten Free)
Lindsay of The Newlywed Notebook made Chipotle Avocado Mac and Wisconsin Cheese (Gluten Free)
Rebekah of Some Kind A Good made Grilled Georgia Peaches with Toasted Granola & Local Honey
Ali of Gimme Some Oven made Skinny Kansas City BBQ Chicken Wings
Bridget of What’s Cooking In The Burbs, Deep Dish Spinach and Garlic Whole Wheat Pizza
Heather of Kitchen Concoctions, Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
I hope you enjoy these healthy regional recipes!
Skinny New England Clam Chowder
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 slices uncured antibiotic-free turkey bacon diced
- 2 leeks thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 3 cups clam juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt to taste
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh chopped clams or high quality canned chopped clams
- cooked potato chunks optional
- fresh chopped parsley
Bring large pot of water to a boil; add cauliflower florets and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your florets; drain well. Place in blender with milk and puree until smooth.
Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add turkey bacon and cook until crisp; remove to paper towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon. Add leeks and celery stalk to soup pot with remaining oil. Saute until leeks are softened; add clam juice, thyme and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Whisk in pureed cauliflower and milk mixture. Add clams and cooked potato chunks (if using) cook until clams are just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley just before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with bacon bits.