Dr. Z's Version of a Dairy-Free Clam Chowder
Here's my spin on one of my favorite soups...
I don't claim to be a great chef. Actually, I'm not a chef at all, but I do try for healthy meals that pack in the vegetables while taming the palate of a 4 year old. I've played with this recipe for a while and finally nailed down what works for us. The good news is, there's no right way to do this - experiment with your favorite vegetables and herbs to get the combo that works for you. I use an InstaPot to prep this, but a large pot on the stovetop can work just as well.
- One 32 ounce carton of chicken broth (vegetable broth or reduced-sodium varieties work well, also)
- One large head of cauliflower, quartered
- 6 small (6.5 ounce) cans of chopped clams (I like this with a LOT of clams! Add more or less to your taste - most recipes call for only 3 cans. But, hey, go big.)
- One-quarter of a red onion, chopped
- One large leek, chopped
- Six slices of turkey bacon (or less if you don't like bacon as much as I do)
- About 3 medium potatoes, cut into small chunks
- Celery, one full bunch, chopped
Put the broth, onion, and cauliflower in a large pot or InstaPot. Steam the onion and cauliflower directly in the broth until the cauliflower is soft. While that's cooking, bake the turkey bacon in the oven (a healthier option than frying). Cut the bacon into small pieces.
Carefully put the broth, onions and cauliflower in a blender (I've also used a food processor but the blender is much less clean-up, so yay for that). Puree the mix until creamy. BAM. There's your dairy-free base. If you want to add herbs or pepper, you can absolutely do that. Remember that the base is already salty from the broth, so while you can add additional salt, I don't find it's needed.
Take your base, pour it right back in to the same pot (I don't like washing dishes, ok?) and add the bacon, leeks, potatoes, clams and celery. Add the juice from three of the cans of clams for even more "clam" taste.
If you're using an InstaPot-type cooker, use the "soup" setting for about 15 minutes. For stove top cooking, cover the pot and bring the soup to just boiling, then reduce to medium heat. Cook until the potatoes are soft, around 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
This soup has a good serving of protein, and every bite is full of vegetables (especially since the base is a vegetable). This recipe typically provides two of us with hefty servings for two to three meals.