We’re in that weird no man’s land between summer and fall. When it still feels like summer here in the Midwest (read: sticky and sweltering), but the calendar says we should be breaking out our scarves and cozying up to the fireplace. It’s confusing. Especially when you go to make your weekly dinner menu! I can still grab all kinds of wonderful, flavorful local summertime produce at my nearby Meijer store, but it just feels like we should be enjoying soups and stews, doesn’t it?
Well, this Roasted Corn and Cauliflower Chowder is a perfect in-betweener recipe. It’s a hearty, cozy soup that’ll usher us into fall, but it uses fresh, local corn that I picked up at my local Meijer store.
The Meijer produce section is one of my happy places. Not only do they have an exhaustive selection of all kinds of varieties of fruits and veggies (it’s seriously impressive), but the awesome folks at Meijer also pride themselves on buying from Midwestern producers first. Which means that I can hop into my local Meijer store and pick up farmstand quality produce from my local farmers. In fact, Meijer partners with over 250 local growers in the Midwest to stock their produce section! When you pick up produce at Meijer, there is a good chance it was grown nearby.
In fact, the corn used in this recipe was grown by Mouzin Brothers Farms—a third generation Indiana farm just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from me! You can taste the difference when you buy locally-grown produce. And I love that I can support small Indiana farmers just by picking up my normal groceries at my regular supermarket. It’s a win-win!
This corn and cauliflower chowder ends up being so rich, creamy, and hearty, and all without a single drop of dairy in it! I use full-fat coconut milk to add some creaminess and sweetness and to thicken, I just use my handy-dandy immersion blender to blend it until I get the right texture. I prefer a smoother chowder with just a few chunks, but if you like it really nice and chunky, just remove a couple of cups of the soup, blend until smooth, and then stir back into the pot—it’ll thicken it nicely without any added cornstarch, flour, or arrowroot.
To get a really deep and hearty flavor, I made sure to roast both the cauliflower and corn here. Roasting helps bring out the sugars and provides a nuttiness that really is worth the extra bit of time! If you’re still in a grilling mood, you can also grill your cauliflower and corn to add some smokiness. If you do that, I’d serve it topped with a few slices of pickled jalapeño and a little bit of cotija cheese. Yum!
If you do happen to want to make this recipe in the middle of winter when you can’t find a fresh ear of corn around to save your life, well, you’re in luck! Because it’s easily adapted to be made with frozen corn, too. I’ve included directions for both ways in the recipe down below. Enjoy!
Sliced green onions or fresh minced parsley, for serving
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Spread the florets evenly onto half of the prepared baking sheets, and set aside.
Rub the remaining oil on the ears of sweet corn. Sprinkle with remaining salt and black pepper. Spread ears onto the second half of the prepared baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in preheated oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping both the cauliflower and corn halfway through baking. They are finished roasting when the cauliflower is fork-tender and golden brown, and the corn is bright in color and tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and cook the bacon until crisp—or about 5 minutes per side. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to cool. Crumble bacon, and then set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pot.
Add the onion, garlic, and thyme to the bacon grease in the pot. Sauté until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Add in the chicken or vegetable stock, potatoes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender (losing their shape).
At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.
Cassie is a holistic nutritionist, cookbook author, and all-around food lover. She grew up cooking dinner with her parents every evening, and her passion for home cooking has been strong ever since. Cassie is the author of two published cookbooks (Cooking with Greek Yogurt and Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My!) and dozens of recipes published in major magazines and newspapers. Cassie has been sharing her award-winning recipes on Wholefully since 2010. She loves dark chocolate, homegrown tomatoes, motorsports, and anything that sparkles. She lives in Indiana with her family on a small homestead.