Healthy Recipe: Simple Clam Chowder

For those seeking the healthy and the hearty, try this low-fat recipe.

By Robby Osborne

Clam Chowder
Photo courtesy of Foodio/

Simple Clam Chowder

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 35 minutes

This recipe for simple clam chowder is great alternative to the higher fat versions that you may find in restaurants. By swapping out whole milk and heavy cream for fat free evaporated milk, you are able to enjoy a warm winter comfort without any of the guilt. This recipe also does not contain any added salt, but definitely does not skimp on flavor.

The inclusion of onion, celery, garlic, and thyme provide a plethora of flavor, while helping you maintain a lower daily intake of sodium. So settle down by the fire during these cold months and enjoy this clam chowder recipe and description provided by dietitian Rachel Griffin, a Registered Dietitian at Suburban Hospital Healthcare System in Bethesda, which she modified from a Cooking Light magazine recipe.

Yields 12, 1 cup servings


• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 2 cups chopped onion

• 1 1/4 cups chopped celery

• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 6 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained

• 5 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 1 pound)

• 4 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice

• 1 bay leaf

• 2 (12-ounce) cans fat-free evaporated milk

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a dutch oven or large soup pot. Add onion, celery, thyme, and garlic to the oiled pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Drain clams, reserving liquid. Set clams aside in a bowl to be added to the soup later. Add clam liquid, potatoes, clam juice, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Discard bay leaf.

3. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 12 minutes over medium heat or until thick, stirring constantly (milk/flour mixture burns and sticks to the pan very easily). Add clams; cook 2 more minutes. Serve warm in soup mugs and enjoy! This soup can be paired with whole grain bread and a tossed salad or fresh fruit for a hearty and healthful meal.

Nutritional Information per 1 cup serving

• Calories: 257

• Calories from fat: 10 percent

• Fat: 2.9g

• Saturated fat: 0.6g

• Monounsaturated fat: 0.6g

• Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g

• Protein: 28.5g

• Carbohydrate: 27.9g

• Fiber: 2g

• Cholesterol: 67mg

• Iron: 26.6mg

• Sodium: 475mg

• Calcium: 242mg