Ask Peggy

How can I make a low-carb chowder?

DEAR PEGGY: I love the chowder recipes in Light & Tasty, but I am following a low-carbohydrate diet and trying to avoid potatoes. What can I use to replace or reduce the potatoes called for in chowders? —D.K., Media, Pennsylvania

Potatoes are a good wholesome food, but since they are a starch, they are higher in carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables.

My first suggestion is to replace some of the potatoes with non-starchy vegetables, such as celery and green beans.

Another solution is to substitute diced turnips for part of the potatoes. A cup of cooked peeled potatoes contains about 135 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrates, of which only 9% is fiber. A cup of cooked turnips, on the other hand, provides 35 calories and 8 grams of carbohydrates, of which 37% is fiber.

If a chowder or soup is thickened with mashed or pureed potatoes, consider substituting some mashed cooked turnips or cauliflower instead. Cauliflower will change the flavor of the chowder more than turnips, but 1 cup of cauliflowerets has only 25 calories and 4 carbs, half of which are fiber.

If your chowder needs additional thickening, try stirring in a couple of tablespoons of potato flakes. One tablespoon of potato flakes contains about 15 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates.