Anna made this early in the week from a recipe in Vegetarian Times (croutons here). She used Comté instead Gruyère simply because we had it and needed to finish it... and truth be told your probably better off using a much less expensive Gruyère since they'll be soggy in the soup anyway, but man are those croutons good. Makes me think we should use them all the time, but I guess buying a freshly baked artisinal loaf and some Comté for the croutons on your everyday salad is a little insane even for me.
As for the soup, I'm not sure what exactly qualifies it as "chowder"... since it's not thickened in any way, let alone with milk or cream... but it was quite good, so who cares I guess? It is surprisingly hearty and a comforting meal on a (not that) cold winter night. While I didn't make it, it seemed like a nice weeknight meal as she was able to get it to the table... even with teaching an evening class... at a perfectly reasonable hour.
So I definitely recommend this one... and you can easily veganize it by omitting the cheese on the croutons and subbing oil for the butter in the soup.