Salmon Chowder

The Recipe: A creamy but low-fat chowder made with chunks of fresh salmon in a creamy broth with carrot, potato and fresh fennel. This is a soul-satisfying soup, here on the cusp of winter-to-spring. Surprisingly low in calories and just 4 PointsPlus for Weight Watchers.

The Conversation: Is there a "faux food" you'd like food scientists to invent?

Salmon Chowder | fresh salmon in a milky broth, 35 minutes to the table | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 4.

You won’t find many faux foods in Kitchen Parade. But once in awhile, along comes a product worth touting.

For months, I ignored the raves about fat-free half ‘n’ half. Like low-fat butter, it sounded too good to be true, tempting with promise but certain to disappoint. Once tried, however, it was instantly a refrigerator staple, especially for creamy essence in soups like this week’s SALMON CHOWDER.

But truth be told, some times this product disappoints. Its calorie count is up there with whole milk’s even if the fat grams match up with skim’s. But it’s an unreliable substitute: in quiche and casseroles, for example, it separates and refuses to thicken.

Still, to my taste buds and my waist line, it can’t be beat in winter-hearty, body-healthy soups.

2015 Update: The truth is, I've stopped buying fat-free half 'n' half. Today we just use whole milk, all the creaminess we like for almost the same calories. And in an age of simplification, it's one less thing for the grocery list.

Are any ambitious food scientists reading? Half ‘n’ half is a good start. But how about calorie-free bacon cheeseburgers and Friday-night pizza and grilled ribeyes and hot-buttered muffins still warm from the oven and chocolate chip cookies alongside a cold glass of milk and … and … and … fix these and faux is fine, just fine.

ALANNA's TIPS Foodies may sniff but for every-day, I find minced garlic from a jar more than good enough in taste to say nothing of a time-saver. Leave the skins on the potato, adding fiber and saving a minute or two. For a heartier soup, use a pound of salmon or double the stock and add diced zucchini or sweet potato or ribbons of fresh spinach. Leftover Salmon Chowder reheats beautifully but doesn’t freeze well. This soup tastes quite fresh when eaten immediately but does develop more nuance and depth when allowed to rest for a day for the flavors to meld.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time-to-table: 35 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or 1 14-ounce can fat-free chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 8 ounces (225g) russet potato, skin on, diced (from 1 large potato)
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon, cut in half- inch pieces
  • 2 cups fat-free half ’n’ half or whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh thyme or chive, optional

Bring the broth to a boil in the microwave. (Skip this step if you’re not in a rush.)

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium high. Add the oil, once it’s hot, add the vegetables as they’re prepped, stirring well with each addition, letting some color develop. Add the bay leaf and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. (If you’re cooking ahead, stop here.)

Stir in the salmon, making sure to submerse so it’ll cook through. Add the half ‘n’ half and bring to eating temperature but do not allow to boil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top bowls with fresh thyme or chive if desired.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup when made with Fat-Free Half 'n' Half/Whole Milk: 148/150 Calories; 4/5g Tot Fat; 1/2g Sat Fat; 18/16g Carb; 2g Fiber; 187/135mg Sodium; 17/20mg Cholesterol; 5g Sugars; 9/10g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3 & WW PointsPlus 4 This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat and portion size and increases in fiber-rich vegetables.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Seafood Soup Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Oyster Stew Lazy Man's Ciopinno, Shrimp & Fish Stew Sweet-Corn Soup with Shrimp
~ more soup recipes ~

More Favorite Recipes for March

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Caraway Corned Beef with Red Potatoes, Carrot Chunks, Cabbage Wedges & Cheese Sauce Skillet Cornbread Savory Orange Slices

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Alanna, I've never heard of salmon chowder but it sounds delicious. I am definitely going to have to try this out. Thanks:)


  2. Mmmm...I bet this would also work with leftover salmon, just added at the very end?

    You know me, always trying to get my dishes to double-up!



Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna