One cold, windy, snowy day, this awesome New England Clam Chowder (Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free) was simmering on my stovetop.
It had been about two years since I started a grain, gluten, and dairy-free diet.
Several years since sipping my favorite, piping hot, chock full of clams and potatoes, so creamy, New England clam chowder from a well-known seafood place. A much loved, missed comfort food.
Thick New England Clam Chowder Recipe:
As I sprinkled the garnish of bacon bits, and parsley, I found it hard to imagine that this hearty and healthy recipe is possible. And tastes so authentic!
Plus, no going out in the cold to fetch since I make a big batch at home. Same with my Paleo Butternut Squash Soup.
Later in the post, I share how I add lots of clams in the most cost-effective way.
And, although I know New England clam chowder with coconut milk is an option, the “cream” in this recipe comes from cashews. Eliminating dairy has been super helpful in healing my gut issues.
Related: Chicken Gluten-Free Soup
Making Your New England Clam Chowder:
This clam chowder is without milk or cream which means it needs a really good substitute. Although it is possible to use vegetables to substitute for cream, nuts are my favorite option (and good with the low fodmap diet as well).
Enter cashew cream which works beautifully in this recipe.
Making Cashew Cream:
Place one cup raw cashews (or cashew pieces) in a bowl. Cover cashews with water and set aside, on the counter, covered, for at least four hours. The cashews become soft and easy to blend into a cream sauce.
When ready, drain and rinse the cashews, place in a blender and add 1/2 cup of water. Blend for about 2 minutes until very creamy. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Cashews also make amazing Vegan Cream Cheese and easy Cashew Butter.
Now on to the Boston Clam Chowder Recipe:
- To a soup or stockpot, on medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Toss in 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced, 2 celery stalks, diced and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent. (low fodmap version in recipe card).
- Add the dried chives and dried thyme and mix well.
- Add the tapioca or arrowroot and mix well. (Tapioca and arrowroot are thickening agents).
- Add the potatoes, chicken broth (or can sub water in a pinch), and bay leaves and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.
- Remove bay leaves and add cashew cream mixture and stir well to combine.
- Add the frozen clams and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until soup is hot throughout.
- Before serving, add a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with bacon bits, parsley or chives.
Best Clams For Your New England Clam Chowder:
The ideal clam chowder needs lots of clams right? Well, the first few times I made this recipe, I needed at least 3 cans of chopped clams to get it right. Plus, I added a bottle of clam juice.
Was there a better way?
Fresh clams were only available in certain seasons in my area. But, that also meant cleaning and opening the clams myself. Doable, but not ideal. Clam knife?
I had no idea frozen clams were a thing, but they are. And, the 16 ounces container of gorgeous raw chopped sea clams from a sustainable fishery became the most cost-effective option.
Lots of clams in big and small pieces. Enough for every spoonful!
Oh hey, is that a snowflake?
You’ll have a good reason to look forward to cold, windy and snowy days with this recipe in your arsenal. For me, it’s the best clam chowder recipe in the world. 🙂
New England Clam Chowder that tastes amazingly authentic and is Whole30! Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free!
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion (finely diced) (for low fodmap see notes)
- 2 celery stalks (diced)
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot flour
- 2 cups organic potatoes, peeled and diced (approximately 2 medium potatoes)
- 2 cups organic chicken broth (I use my homemade broth or can sub water)
- 1 16 ounce container frozen raw clams
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup water
Place the raw cashews in a bowl and cover completely with water and set aside for at least four hours.
Drain and rinse cashews, place in a blender with 1/2 cup of water and blend for 1-2 minutes until very creamy. Set aside.
In a medium-sized soup pot, on medium-low temperature, add the olive oil, onions, celery and saute for 3-5 minutes until translucent and softened.
For low fodmap: add the olive oil and onions and cook for several minutes, remove the onions, then add the celery and cook them and continue on with directions. (or just add dried chives)
Add the dried chives and dried thyme and stir well.
Add the arrowroot or tapioca and stir well.
Add the potatoes, chicken broth (plus water), and the bay leaf and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove bay leaf from soup and add the cashew cream mixture and stir well.
Add the clams and simmer for another 15 minutes until soup is hot and ready to serve.
Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with chopped bacon bits, parsley, chives, extra ground pepper.
*I prefer russet potatoes for this recipe.
*Low fodmap - slice onion, saute for a few minutes and remove and/or add the dried chives.
I would like to try this but I have never seen cashews labeled as “raw” since, if they actually were raw, they would be very toxic. Are they labeled as something other than “raw”?
I just saw raw cashews at the grocery store today. I would suggest asking someone at the grocery store if they carry them. Also, you could use other cashews if you are more comfortable.