My sister, seeking to improve her energy levels and sugar cravings, recently adopted a grain free, dairy free diet. Way to go, sister! We’ve discussed easy, low-prep meal ideas to fit her lifestyle at school. One of these meals is paleo clam chowder, which she makes at least twice a month. She adds a punch of flavor with cumin and hot pepper, which you can certainly add if you desire.
About the ingredients
Leeks – The mild sweetness of leeks pairs beautifully with the briny clam flavor. Feel free to substitute a chopped onion or chopped shallots. You can also add chopped carrot and celery (my sister’s recipe includes those) but I didn’t have them on hand when I photographed this recipe.
Coconut milk – I recommend this brand, which doesn’t contain guar gum or other filler ingredients. Use full-fat coconut milk for the creamiest result, but you could substitute canned light coconut milk. Don’t substitute cartons of coconut milk, or cartons of another non-dairy milk. Those are too watery.
Cauliflower – I use cauliflower instead of the traditional potatoes in this recipe. It is an uncanny resemblance in flavor and texture, once the soup is cooked.
Arrowroot flour – Arrowroot starch and arrowroot flour are the same thing. Whereas traditional clam chowder uses a flour-thickened roux, this recipe is thickened with gluten-free arrowroot.
If you cannot have starch, an alternative would be to make the recipe as instructed, but don’t add the clams when you add the cauliflower. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, then use an immersion blender or standing blender to pulse the soup. This will make it thicker but also smoother, unlike the texture of traditional clam chowder. Once blended, add the canned clams with their juice and heat until warmed.
- 1 medium to large leek, thinly sliced (substitute 1 cup chopped shallot or onion)
- Optional: 1 chopped celery stalk and 1 chopped carrot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. ghee or coconut oil
- 1 10 oz. can clams, not drained
- 1 cup clam juice (available in health food stores and large grocery stores)
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- ½ head cauliflower, cut into very small florets
- 1½ tsp. arrowroot flour
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil or ghee. Saute the leek until translucent and tender. Feel free to add chopped celery and carrot when you cook the leek, as well. Add the garlic once the veggies have softened and cook for just a minute.
- Add the clams with the liquid from the can, as well as the clam juice and coconut milk. Add the cauliflower florets. It's important to cut them into small pieces so they cook relatively quickly. Put a lid on the soup and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
- In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot with 1 Tbs. of clam juice or water. Whisk this into the hot soup and cook for a minute or two, until the soup thickens. Don't whisk dry arrowroot into the soup, as it will clump.
- Season with salt and pepper.