Zupas Garden Chowder aka Christmas Chowder

Zupas Cafe is a wonderful little cafe here in Utah. Oh yeah, and Nevada. We found one while we were in Las Vegas. We love our soup and Zupas offers some amazing soup, sandwich and salad recipes. (The chocolate covered strawberry with every meal doesn’t hurt either). This recipe for Zupa’s garden chowder is another good one. It’s also known as Christmas chowder mainly for it’s pretty red and green colors. We love Zupas so much we’ve made their Halloween special Caribbean Pumpkin Coconut Soup and our family favorite Chicken Enchilada Chili Soup at home too.

zupas garden chowder

After having a bowl full down in Las Vegas I was hooked. But sad that they didn’t offer it here where I live anymore. So I attempted to make it from scratch from home.

zupas garden chowder

I found what I think is the original recipe. I have some doubts though, mainly because they mentioned it is their friend’s aunts recipe. Which means they must be from Utah (everyone in Utah starts a story with something like, “my friend’s girlfriends third cousin twice removed…”). It’s one of those endearing things I will remember from living here. Also the traffic. And the drivers. And weird phrases like “Oh my heck!” And Tevas  or Crocs with socks. In the middle of winter.

zupas soup recipe

But Utah does have Zupas. And this delicious knock off recipe for garden chowder. Or Christmas chowder. Whatever your family decides to call it, it’s delicious!

While the original recipe is vegetarian, you can also add a few cups of diced chicken or leftover turkey if you would like. It will still taste great!

Zupas Garden Chowder aka Christmas Chowder


  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced into very small thin bite sized pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, very thinly diced into small bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp parsley, diced
  • 1 tsp dried basil (use dried basil here, you don't want to overwhelm the chowder with fresh basil. You want a very subtle basil flavor here).
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced into very small bites sized pieces or 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk (can use whole milk as a substitute, can substitute fat free evaporated milk)
  • 1 14oz can corn, or 1 cup fresh corn,
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken or turkey (optional)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (can substitute reduced fat)


  1. In a saucepan, stir the onion, zucchini, parsley, basil and butter on medium heat until vegetables are tender.
  2. In a separate pan on medium heat, place the corn and cook on medium heat until grilled. Stir occasionally. Continue cooking until corn is grilled. Alternately you can grill the corn under a broiler too.
  3. Add in the flour, salt and pepper and continue to stir until combined. Slowly add in the vegetable or chicken broth and the lemon juice and stir until mixed. Bring the mixture to a boil for two minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, milk, and grilled corn. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and stir in the cheese and chicken Allow cheese to melt before serving. Stir to combine the cheese.
  5. Serve with seasoned croutons or rolls.

Recipe adapted from What’s For Dinner?



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