Light Low-Carb New England Clam Chowder Recipe

Bowl of New England Clam Chowder
Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Total Time 25 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 10 min
Yield 6 servings (126 calories each)

New England chowder was introduced by settlers from Europe and became popular in the 1700's. Over time the soup has become thicker and creamier. This recipe maintains the creaminess some have grown to love but is lighter with its use of Greek yogurt and cauliflower instead of cream and potatoes—which helps it become lower carb that the traditional dish as well. For those with celiac disease or digestion issues, this recipe is gluten-free.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped in small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of celery salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt, plain fat-free
  • 2 tablespoons pure cornstarch (or coconut flour)
  • ¾ cup of unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 cup of clam juice
  • 2 cups of chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup pureed cauliflower
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 2 6½-ounce cans of chopped clams or 1 10-ounce can of whole baby clams
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley
  • 3 strips of thick-cut bacon or 6 tablespoons of real bacon bits (optional)


  1. If you're using the bacon, chop the bacon into small cubes and cook it until crisp (if using bacon bits in step 5). I cook it right in the soup pot. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and pour off all but a tablespoon of the rendered fat.
  2. Fry the onion and celery until they start to soften. Add the garlic and spices except for the thyme. Stir and cook for about a minute.
  3. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms and soymilk. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. The mixture should be at a boil.
  1. Combine the cornstarch with the clam juice in a bowl and whisk together. Add this mixture to the soup pot.
  2. Add drained clams and pureed cauliflower to the pot through a strainer and stir. Stop a little before it's the way you like it because it will keep thickening as the mixture continues to heat. Turn the heat off when the mixture begins to simmer.
  3. Add the clams, thyme, optional bacon bits, and parsley. Heat again until the soup is just at a simmer.
  4. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally every few minutes so that the bottom does not burn.
  5. Remove from heat and add the Greek yogurt. Stir in slowly. Finish with celery salt and black pepper.

Ingredient Substitutes and Cooking Tips

Chowder can be served alone, but garnish and sides complete the dish. Add fresh chives, scallions or red pepper flakes.

Instead of the normal sides like bread, saltines or oyster crackers serve with two fresh ears of corn.

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