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Creamless Fish Chowder
with butter lettuce salad

Active: 30 min Total: 30 min
This is a paleo-friendly version of fish chowder that uses aromatics, spices, and savory bacon to build layers of flavors and cauliflower to give the chowder substance.
Smarts: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.


Creamless Fish Chowder:
  • Bacon - 4 strips , chopped
  • Cauliflower - 1 lb , florets
  • Leeks - 2 , thinly sliced
  • Chives - 1 Tbsp , chopped
  • Fish, any white variety - 1 lb , chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Paprika, smoked - 1 tsp
  • Old bay seasoning (opt) - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Stock, any type - 4 cups
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp
Butter Lettuce Salad:
  • Vinegar, apple cider - 1 Tbsp
  • Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
  • Honey - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil, olive - 2 1/2 Tbsp
  • Cucumbers - 6 oz , cubed
  • Lettuce, butter - 8 oz , leaves chopped or torn


  1. Bacon / Cauliflower / Leeks - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Make vinaigrette - Whisk together vinegar, mustard, and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  3. Chives / Cucumbers / Lettuce - Prep as directed.
  4. Fish - Chop into bite-sized pieces. Pat dry and season with some salt and pepper.

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  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and fry, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Drain all but 1 Tbsp / 15 mL of bacon grease out of the pan. Return pan to medium heat.
  3. To heated pan add leeks and bay leaves. Saute until leeks are very tender, ~5 minutes.
  4. Add paprika, Old Bay (if using), and salt. Cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Add stock and cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. (Note: Adjust heat as needed to keep the liquid simmering gently but not bubbling over.)
  6. When cauliflower is tender, remove and discard bay leaves.
  7. If you’d like a thicker soup, use an immersion blender to blend a small portion of the soup and cauliflower. (The blended cauliflower will serve as a natural thickener.)
  8. Add fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, ~5 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and season with some salt and pepper.
  9. When soup is ready to serve, toss cucumbers and lettuce in vinaigrette. Finish salad with some black pepper.
  10. Serve soup with chives and bacon. Enjoy salad on the side.



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