Healthier corn & potato chowder - Should You Eat That? blog

Soup Sunday: Healthier corn & potato chowder

Last week I shared some of my tips for making healthier soups with you all with the aim of helping you adapt some of your existing soup recipes to make them a little healthier. For this weeks Soup Sunday, I thought it might be good to take an existing recipe and apply some of the tips from last week to improve the soup and make it a bit more nutritious, but still keep it tasty, of course!

The original recipe is one for corn & bacon chowder from the Taste website - when I look at the nutrition info for this version I can see that it is high in fat, saturated fat and sodium and there are less than 3 serves of vegetables per serve. I know that I can improve on all of this just by following some of the tips I shared last week. Here’s what I did:

  • Doubled the recipe - so we would have leftovers for lunches later in the week, which stops us buying lunch out too often, saving us money and making sure we eat well.
  • Swapped the butter for olive oil (and reduced the amount) – this lowered the overall fat content (especially the saturated fat) and bumped up the healthy unsaturated fats. 100g would have been way too much, so I stuck with 2 Tbsp instead.
  • Bumped up the veggie content – it’s hard to get in those 5-6 serves throughout the day, so I always aim for at least 3 serves in my soups. For a soup to serve 8 that means having 1.8kg of vegetables in the pot, so I increased all of the vegetables, especially the less starchy ones like celery and onion. I also added garlic because I don’t think onion and garlic should ever be apart from each other!
  • Left the skin on - this saves me time (who likes peeling potatoes? anyone?!) and also boosts the fibre content of the soup. Save yourself the bother, no one will know the difference.
  • Used shortcut bacon rashers instead of regular - this helps to cut down on the overall fat and saturated fat, but still gives the soup a meaty flavour.
  • Went for wholemeal flour - it’s only a small amount, but if you get into the habit of using wholemeal flour you’re going to get more fibre (an extra 3.4g in this case).
  • Switched to reduced salt stock - there’s plenty of flavour from the vegetables and the bacon is salty enough. Most of us get too much sodium, so go for salt reduced whenever you can.
  • Ditched the cream for low fat evaporated milk - I know, this is going to be the hardest swap to sell, but trust me, it’s like some magical can of creaminess and it will save you a whole lot of fat and saturated fat, while giving you plenty more calcium as well. Try it!

With all of the changes above I’ve taken this soup from one I’d say to have as a treat every once in a while to one that I would say you could have on a regular basis if you wanted to. See the difference:

 (per serve) Taste version My version
kJ 1542 1405
Fat (g) 25 8.9
Saturated fat (g) 13 2.3
Protein (g) 10 18
Fibre (g) 5 6.1
Sodium (mg) 1432 587
Calcium (mg) 59 292
Veg serves 2.2 3.5

It might sound like a lot of changes, but when you start practicing healthier cooking it all becomes second nature. Don’t be afraid to change a recipe! Soups are pretty adaptable and really fairly hard to mess up completely. Too thick? Add more liquid. Veggies not cooked? Cook it for longer! Not enough flavour? Add some herbs and spices. You really can’t go too wrong, so be brave and make it your own.

Healthier corn & potato chowder - Should You Eat That? blog Healthier corn & potato chowder

Serves 8

2Tbsp olive oil

3 brown onions, diced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

10 celery sticks, chopped

8 medium potatoes, diced into 1cm cubes

2 x 400g cans corn kernels (no added salt), drained

4 shortcut bacon rashers, chopped

4 Tbsp wholemeal flour

4C chicken stock (salt reduced)

2 x 375ml cans of evaporated milk

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, potato, corn and bacon to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add flour and cook while stirring for a couple of minutes.

2. Add stock, bring to the boil while stirring and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until soup thickens slightly. Check that potatoes are done and cook a little longer if they are not yet cooked through.

3. Add evaporated milk and warm over low heat until soup is at a good eating temperature. Season with pepper and ladle between 8 bowls (or freezer containers for lunch later in the week).

Nutrition info (per serve) - 1405kJ, 8.9g fat (2.3g saturated), 18g protein, 42.4g carbohydrates (16.3g sugars), 587mg sodium, 6.1g fibre, 292mg calcium, 3.5 vegetable serves. Cost = $2.34.

Why should you eat this? This soup is low in kJ, fat and saturated fat and high in filling fibre. It’s packed with 3.5 of your 5-6 vegetable serves for the day as well as close to a serve of dairy. All that while tasting nice and creamy and oh-so-delicious!

Which soup recipe are you going to adapt for yourself first? Share it with us in the comments below. 

What do you think?