Garden Chowder

We originally started making this soup as cauliflower soup with a few tweaks. Since then it’s changed enough that it now resembles Cafe Zupas’ Garden Chowder, which is what I was always going for anyway.

Last fall I was planning to make this soup for dinner and Lindsay said that she wanted manna to go with it. I posted our conversation afterwards on Facebook.

I hadn’t realized where in the world she got the idea of “manna” until her kindergarten teacher explained in the comments.

That night a friend of mine asked about the soup I was planning to make because she had seen my post. Would I be willing to share the recipe? I sent her a link to my original “Cauliflower Soup” post but then I had to add a bunch of notes. I also add this, and this and this, and . . . It was then I realized it’s evolved enough to warrant its own recipe.

This is thick and creamy; hence chowder. All of our favorite vegetables that you’d expect to see in soup are in this pot which makes it hearty and beautiful. There’s still cauliflower, but there’s also potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, red bell pepper and corn. We add sour cream before serving and then top it with cheese and croutons. Matthew likes to add bacon bits to his and if I have them I’ll add green onions. Perfection! Here is Lindsay’s favorite soup, which she tops with “manna.”


  • 1 stick salted butter, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 4-6 gold potatoes (no need to peel) or 3 large, peeled russet potatoes
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped plus more for garnish
  • 8 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth (or stock)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 16 oz container sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional, but not really)
  • Green onions (optional garnish)
  • Bacon bits (optional garnish)
  • Croutons or “manna” (oyster crackers)


  1. In your favorite large soup pot melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion & red bell pepper and cook for a few minutes, or until they begin to soften. The onion may turn a light brown.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, & potatoes and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. Sprinkle with garlic salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  3. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. In a mixing bowl, stir flour into the milk and whisk to combine. Pour flour-milk mixture slowly into the butter, whisking constantly. Allow the cream mixture to come to a boil and whisk until thick. (About 5 minutes.) If you use whole milk it will thicken quicker, but I use 1% so it takes a tad longer.
  5. Pour the white cream sauce into the larger soup pot while stirring. Add two bay leaves & frozen corn and let simmer 20 minutes.
  6. Check seasoning and add more garlic salt or pepper if necessary.
  7. Garnish each serving with a heaping tablespoon of sour cream, fresh parsley, shredded cheese & croutons or “manna.”

Serves 8-10

Recipe by life’s sweet seasons


One response to “Garden Chowder

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