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Dreamy, Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder

January 9th, 2020

dairy free clam chowder

If you love a bowl of warm, nourishing, and delicious soup, then you need to add this Dreamy, Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder to your weeknight menu. Creamy and perfectly seasoned, this easy recipe can be made in the Instant Pot for a quick dinner the whole family will love. My Dreamy, Dairy-Free Clam Chowder is the healthy version of classic comfort food that can be enjoyed all year long. It’s the perfect alternative soup for Paleo and AIP diets. So pull out the Instant Pot, or your favorite soup pot, and get ready to cozy up with a bowl of this delicious clam chowder.

Can Clam Chowder Be Healthy?

With the right ingredients, New England clam chowder can be a great addition to any healthy diet. This dairy-free clam chowder made in the Instant Pot is full of nutrient-dense ingredients to make it a perfectly healthy meal. Let’s review some of the healthier ingredients I used in this version of New England clam chowder:

Clams

Similar to other popular seafood, clams contain an impressive array of nutrients. They offer B vitamins such as niacin, and minerals including magnesium as well as iron — over the daily recommended value. Clams also contain high levels of zinc and selenium, minerals that can be difficult to get in our diets. Additionally, clams are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids without the risk of mercury poisoning.

Full Fat Coconut Milk

Coconut milk serves as the base to keep this easy clam chowder recipe dairy-free and create a rich, creamy broth. I recommend using a can of full-fat coconut milk and shaking it before use. Coconut milk is rich in healthy saturated fats to keep you full and satisfied, as well as medium-chain triglycerides promote optimal health.

Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder takes the place of refined wheat flour in this Paleo and AIP, The Myers Way® approved recipe. This starchy powder thickens the soup and gives this Dreamy Dairy-Free Clam Chowder a thick creaminess without gluten or unnatural binding additives.

How to Make Dairy-Free Clam Chowder

You can make this Dairy-Free Clam Chowder on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot for a healthy, quick, and easy weeknight dinner.

First, drain the juice from the canned clams into a small bowl. Add this juice and chopped onion to your Instant Pot and use the ‘Saute’ function to cook for about 5 minutes. You can also saute on the stovetop. Add garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes.

dairy free clam chowder

Add the rest of your vegetables and 1 1/2  cups of chicken broth, and cook until the vegetables are tender.

While your vegetables are cooking in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, make your broth base. Combine arrowroot powder and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Add coconut milk and remaining broth, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.

Combine cooked vegetables and the remaining liquid to your broth mixture and stir to combine, being sure not to boil the mixture.

Before serving, add your clams and allow to heat through without cooking. Then add in your vinegar and salt, and garnish with bacon and chives.

Can this Clam Chowder be Frozen?

You can freeze this dairy-free clam chowder, but the consistency may change slightly after defrosting. If you choose to freeze or store leftovers, it’s best to leave out the clams until you’re ready to reheat the base and vegetables. Otherwise, you risk overcooking them when reheating the soup.

Freeze and/or store in airtight containers. Frozen chowder will keep for up to six months in the freezer. Leftovers in the refrigerator will last for no longer than 4-5 days.

How to Reheat Clam Chowder

If you’re reheating your clam chowder from refrigeration, simply add to a saucepan and allow to heat through over medium heat, stirring often. You may need to add a small amount of liquid, like chicken broth, to thin out the chowder. Add in new cans of clams (drained) at the end of reheating.

To reheat from frozen, first allow your chowder to thaw in the refrigerator. Then, follow the same reheating instructions above.

Dreamy, Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder

Dreamy, Dairy-Free New England Clam Chowder

Servings

4

Servings:

Units:

Ingredients

  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth divided
  • 1 cup white onion minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 cups white sweet potatoes cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbls apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 8 slices cooked bacon sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • fresh chives thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

    For the Stovetop Method
    1. Add minced onion to a large skillet over medium heat, and combine with drained juice from the clams. Sauté for about 5 minutes until golden in color.
    2. Add garlic to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes.
    3. Add celery, carrots, and potatoes to the skillet, along with 1 ½ cup chicken broth. Cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are tender.
    4. While the vegetables are cooking, combine olive oil and arrowroot starch in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Whisk in coconut milk and remaining chicken broth, and stir constantly until thick and smooth.
    5. When the vegetables are tender, add to the saucepan along with liquid from skillet. Do not boil.
    6. Add clams to the mixture just before serving. You don’t want these to cook with the soup, or they will overcook and become tough. When the clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt.
    7. Garnish with thinly sliced chives and bacon to serve.
    For the Instant Pot Method
    1. Drain juice from the canned clams and reserve in a bowl.
    2. With the Instant Pot set to the Sauté function, add minced onion and combine with drained clam juice. Saute for about 2-3 minutes until golden in color.
    3. Add garlic to the Instant Pot, saute for 2 minutes.
    4. Add celery, carrots, and potatoes to the Instant Pot, along with 1 ½ cup chicken broth. Close lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 2 minutes.
    5. While the vegetables are cooking, combine olive oil and arrowroot starch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Whisk in coconut milk and remaining chicken broth, and stir constantly until thick and smooth.
    6. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Hit “Cancel” to turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure and then open the lid.
    7. When the vegetables are tender, add the arrowroot mixture to the Instant Pot.
    8. Add clams to the mixture just before serving. You don’t want these to cook in the Instant Pot with the soup, or they will overcook and become tough. When the clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt.
    9. Garnish with thinly sliced chives and bacon to serve.

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