There’s nothing quite as comforting as a steaming bowl of hearty soup on a cold winter’s night. But many popular winter soups aren’t very healthy.

For example, New England clam chowder recipes are often loaded with artery-clogging cream, bacon and butter. And other much-loved soups often contain excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates, such as pasta and white rice, high-cholesterol animal protein and notorious amounts of sodium. Fortunately, you can still get all the flavor and heartiness of your favorite winter soups without the unhealthy ingredients.

One of my favorite winter soup recipes…

Healthy New England Clam Chowder

This super-healthy version of traditional clam chowder features cauliflower for thickness and nutrition—and fresh thyme and smoked paprika for a punch of flavor. The healthy olive oil…disease-fighting, fiber-loaded veggies…and herbs and spices make this soup a low-calorie, low-fat and low-sodium dish that is big on taste.


1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour*

½ head cauliflower (to make about 2 cups of purée)

1 cup water

2 cups 1% milk

2 10-ounce cans baby clams in water

¾ pound red potatoes, chopped into ½-inch cubes

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Smoked paprika to garnish


In a large pot, add the olive oil, garlic and onion, and sauté for five minutes. Add the flour, and stir for one minute more to make a paste. Take the pot off the heat, and set aside. Chop and steam the cauliflower until soft (it takes about five minutes), then purée in a blender until smooth. Add the puréed cauliflower, water, milk, clams with water, potatoes, two thyme sprigs and bay leaves to the large pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the soup thickens. Stir every five to 10 minutes while the soup cooks. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the pot, and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl with the remaining thyme and smoked paprika and serve. Makes 10 one-cup servings.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories, 114…fat, 2 g…cholesterol, 13 mg…carbohydrates, 16 g…dietary fiber, 2 g…protein, 8 g…sodium, 390 mg.

The bottom line: This healthy soup is the ultimate comfort food, guaranteed to warm your heart and soul!

*To make this soup gluten-free, use garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour.