This tasty and comforting Paleo Cauliflower Clam Chowder is based on the popular New England classic, but is light, healthy and free of dairy, gluten and grain!
Can you believe Memorial Day weekend is only four weeks away?! Although this winter seemed never-ending, it also feels somewhat surreal to think that Summer is right around the corner. Most people in Philly migrate to the Jersey Shore in the summer months with Memorial Day weekend being the official start of tourist season. Shore weekends offer a nearby escape from the City; days are often spent laying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, strolling the boardwalk and eating plenty of fresh seafood!
New England Clam Chowder is a longtime favorite of mine and I would enjoy a comforting bowl whenever we visited the Shore. But, that tradition became a thing of the past since making the decision to change my diet a few years ago. My beloved creamy chowder is typically full of dairy, gluten and some other questionable additives that make it not too friendly for those with food allergies or restricted diets.
No heavy cream. No gluten floured roux. What was a girl to do? Well, right away I decided that I didn’t want to simply replace the cream with dairy free milk. Nut milks and even coconut milk can sometimes be overpowering and I was on a mission to keep this soup as authentic tasting as possible. So while I knew I could use a little dairy free milk, I needed to find something more neutral to recreate the chowders creaminess. After some research, I decided to go with potato starch as my thickening agent. This starch is not only gluten free, but has no aftertaste to speak of, isn’t gritty or chalky and can easily be added at the end of your cooking time unlike a roux. In addition, the benefits of potato starch and other resistant starches (“RS”) are also a hot topic topic right now in the Paleo community . You can read more about the health benefits associated with RS here and here!
Since I was using potato starch as my thickening agent, I then decided to leave out the traditional white potatoes for a vegetable with a little more nutritional punch. This is where the cauliflower came in! It worked perfectly as a substitute for the potatoes; bulking up the chowder and not overwhelming the sweet, briny flavor of the clams. It also kept the soup lighter with the added bonus of all the health benefits this nutritious cruciferous vegetable offers.
- Supports our body’s detox system
- Provides us with a broad spectrum of antioxidants
- Is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6
- Lowers the risk of oxidative stress in our cells; decreasing the risk of cancer
- Provides an excellent source of anti-inflammatory nutrients
- Boosts heart and brain health
- Provides digestive benefits and is a great source of dietary fiber
Outside of the cauliflower, the remainder of my clam chowder ingredients are true to the original. I used three cans of wild caught clams because we love a meaty chowder and added in some additional clam juice for sweetness and flavor. Fresh clams would also be a great addition, especially if you can get them locally!
So whether you’re looking for a dairy, gluten and grain free version of this New England classic or just in need of a delicious, light and creamy bowl of chowder, this recipe is sure to satisfy everyone’s taste-buds!
- 4 slices bacon, reserve bacon fat
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ¼ cup carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 8 ounce bottle clam juice
- 1 cup dairy free milk
- ¼ cup potato starch*
- 6.5 ounce can chopped clams, drained
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Green onions and parley, for garnish
- Place the bacon in a deep stockpot or dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, until brown and crispy. Reserve bacon fat and set bacon aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- Add onion, celery and carrots to pot and saute for 3-4 minutes. Next, stir in cauliflower and continue sauteing vegetables, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add in paprika, thyme, bay leaf, sea salt, chicken stock and clam juice. Bring to a boil;reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Pour milk into a measuring cup and whisk in potato starch until well combined. Then, gradually whisk mixture into soup.
- Stir in the clams and simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, carefully discard thyme and bay leaf, and allow soup to thicken for 5 minutes before serving.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish. Enjoy!
Gluten-free, Grain free, Dairy free, Paleo, Whole30, 21 Day Sugar Detox
Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to see get a healthy makeover? Let me know in the comments below!
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