Restaurant Re-Do: Summer Corn Chowder

I'm trying something new out here: a little segment called restaurant re-do. Every once in while I'll pick an indulgent restaurant favorite and turn it into something healthy enough to eat everyday.  

Back when I, (Jessi) was a senior at BU, I waitressed at Legal Seafoods, near MIT. It was my first, and last, waitressing job, mainly because I was SO bad at it. Like, you did NOT want to have me as your server. But I'll never forget pouring a cup of chowder for a customer one day and having another waiter come up to me and say, "that cup of chowder is the equivalent of eating a big mac." 

Whatttt??? Now, I'm not one for comparing calorie to calorie, because I'm sure we could also say that eating an avocado, is the same as eating a big mac and well, it's not! But that moment kind of always stuck in my head.  

Turns out, it's not the same. That dude totally lied to me. The calorie content of the chowder itself isn't anything to write home about, falling around 250 calories for a cup. But aside from the couple of clams and potato pieces, it's void of any real nutrients. 

Alix to the rescue! Alix is a new intern at team Jessi. She is a senior at my alma mater, Boston University, and on track to receive her B.S. in Nutrition Sciences in December 2015. She was a competitive figure skater for 16 years, and is now the Ice Show Director for Boston University’s figure skating team. She has worked as a Sous-Chef and a Pastry Chef in multiple locations, including her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. She is an exercise, yoga, and meditation enthusiast.

Her culinary background did not go to waste, as she's created an amazing Summer Corn Chowder that has almost 2 cups of vegetables per serving and creates a sneaky creamy base that even your kids might want to chow down. And, if you're wondering, it clocks in at about half the calories of the Legal Seafood Chowder!


Summer Corn Chowder

  • 3 cups cauliflower (I use frozen, it’s cheaper and you’re cooking it anyway!)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow potato, chopped into small cubes
  • ⅓ cup leeks, fresh, chopped
  • ⅓ cup corn, canned or frozen
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1, 15 ounce can cannellini beans
  • ½ cup mascarpone or goat cheese
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, fill with 3 cups cauliflower and just enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Heat to a boil.

Meanwhile, In a medium skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and toss until browned. Then, add the leeks, corn, jalapeno, salt, and pepper, into the skillet. Turn the heat down , and continue to cook until everything is slightly brown and desired texture.

Once the cauliflower is soft and seems to be almost falling apart, place the cauliflower AND the water into a blender, or use a hand blender to puree until smooth.  (TIP: the water contains all of the nutrients from the cauliflower, so don’t discard!)

Pour cauliflower back into the large pot.  Bring it to a boil, and add mascarpone or goat cheese (optional). Turn down the heat and gently stir until the cheese is thoroughly incorporated. Add water as needed to create desired consistency.

Add the potatoes, leeks, corn, and jalapeño, as well as the cannellini beans. Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Top with arugula or parsley.

TIP: If you want to make this clam chowder, toss them in at the end until cooked. Most places sell frozen, chopped clams that are super easy to throw into a soup like this!

Now let us know - what restaurant + menu item do you want us to makeover? Tell us in the comments below!