This clam chowder is a creamy and delicious alternative to traditional clam chowder. It’s dairy-free, paleo, whole30, and AIP-friendly.

A bowl of clam chowder.

What is Clam Chowder?

Clam chowder is a soup that originated in the Northeastern United States, but can now be found in restaurants all over the United States. Many regional variations exist, but one of the most popular is New England or “white” clam chowder, which includes milk or cream.

This recipe is a Whole30, Paleo, and AIP version of New England clam chowder using cauliflower and coconut milk to give the chowder the creaminess while keeping it dairy-free!

The Ingredients for this Clam Chowder

  • Cauliflower Florets, Parsnips, and Chicken Broth. These blend together to form the creamy liquid.
  • Coconut milk. The coconut helps to make this recipe extra creamy, though you can leave it out if you don’t tolerate it. I would just add more broth to balance it out.
  • Arrowroot Starch.
  • Yellow Onion, Garlic, Celery, and Carrots.
  • Avocado Oil. 
  • Clams. I used canned clams like this.
  • Clam Juice. From the canned clams!
  • Bacon. This is to top the soup and helps bring it all together!
  • Fresh Thyme and Bay Leaf. To season the soup and additional thyme to top it!
  • Salt and Pepper. You can omit the pepper for AIP.

How to make Clam Chowder

  • Make the broth. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup of parsnips to a pot along with the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Allow to cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender, or in a high-speed blender. Set aside.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and celery. Using the same pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients (except for the clams) and simmer. Combine the coconut milk and arrowroot starch and pour into the pot along with the cauliflower/parsnip broth, clam juice (from the canned clams), bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme, and the remainder of the uncooked parsnips. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the parsnips are tender.
  • Remove the bay leaf and stir in the clams. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and stir in the clams.
  • Top and serve. Serve topped with bacon and additional thyme.

A spoonful of clam chowder taken out of the bowl.

Can you make this clam chowder with fresh clams instead?

Though I’m sure you could, I haven’t tried personally! It would definitely take some adjusting of the cook times.

What do you serve with this clam chowder?

This clam chowder is perfect for serving with crackers! Simple Mills Crackers would be a great addition, and you can also use the AIP cracker recipe that I have in my cookbook.

Can you make this recipe without coconut?

The coconut helps to make this recipe extra creamy, though you can leave it out if you don’t tolerate it. I would just add more broth to balance it out.

A bowl of clam chowder.

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Clam Chowder (Whole30, Paleo, AIP)


  • Author: Michelle
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups parsnips, chopped and divided
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/3 cup clam juice
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
  • 2  6.5 oz cans of clams (like this), drained and juice reserved
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Instructions

  1. Add the cauliflower and 1 cup of parsnips to a pot along with the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Allow to cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender, or in a high-speed blender. Set aside.
  2. Using the same pot, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery, and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Combine the coconut milk and arrowroot starch and pour into the pot along with the cauliflower/parsnip broth, clam juice (from the canned clams), bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme, and the remainder of the uncooked parsnips. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the parsnips are tender.
  4. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and stir in the clams. Serve topped with bacon and additional thyme.

Notes

All nutrition facts are estimated and will vary.

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Fat: 6.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.9g
  • Fiber: 5.6g
  • Protein: 4.2g