Dried beans are a good source of low-fat protein. They are also very inexpensive compared to meat. This is a vegetarian take on clam chowder.
1 cup dried white beans (navy or baby limas work well)
5 cups water
1 chopped onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cups potato, cubed
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
Soak beans overnight or by the rapid-soak method. Bring to boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. They should be partly tender but not all the way cooked through.
Add everything but the milk and cook 30-45 minutes longer, until beans and vegetables are tender. Remove 1 cup soup and puree.
Stir the milk gradually into the puree, then slowly stir this back into the soup. Cook over low, uncovered, until slightly thickened and heated through. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
Note: The original recipe called for 1 cup canned drained tomatoes. I omitted it because some of my children won't touch a tomato (except in the form of pizza sauce) but you could try it with the tomato if you like. I like a traditional white New England clam chowder and just can't picture putting tomatoes in this.