All of the keto clam chowder recipes I’ve come across are loaded with cream and butter. Delicious? Absolutely. But unfortunately, it leaves the dairy-free crowd chowder-less. That’s a lot of people without chowder! In addition to limiting carbohydrates, loads of people are cutting dairy from their daily meals. Whether it’s allergy-related, causing a weight loss stall, or a diet-based restriction (paleo, Whole-30, etc.), people want more keto options without dairy. After all, the keto diet isn’t just about eating cheese and drinking heavy whipping cream! While I have a ton of non-dairy recipes, lately I’ve been challenging myself to develop dairy-free versions of dairy-loaded recipes. This keto clam chowder is an excellent example of my recent experimentation!
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I’m lucky enough to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. While our beaches tend to be cold and gray most of the year, we have some fantastic places for clam digging here. If you luck out with the right spot, you don’t even need a shovel. You can literally scoop a couple of inches into the sand with your fingers and start plucking clams out of the ground. We recently went out hunting for shellfish; I was on a mission for clams, and my partner collected oysters. They. Were. Everywhere. He reached his limit in minutes, and I hit the clam jackpot: Manila, butter, and varnish clams every time I scooped. The first thing I did when I got home from the beach was whipped up a batch of this hearty, dairy-free keto clam chowder. It completely hit the spot!
How do you make dairy-free keto clam chowder?
The base of the recipe is similar to my keto cauliflower soup recipe, which turns out surprisingly creamy without having to use any actual cream. You’ll need a head of cauliflower, ghee, half an onion, chicken broth, salt, rosemary, and of course, clams. If you didn’t pluck your clams freshly from the bay and didn't have access to fresh clams at the market, you can totally use canned clams. I’m not going to lie, opening a can is a whole lot easier than shucking them all.
You can steam the clams instead of shucking them, reserving the meat for the chowder. If you do this, you’ll want to add your clams at the end once your soup has fully cooked to prevent the meat from becoming chewy.
The Keto Clam Chowder Recipe
To make the keto clam chowder, cook the sliced onions in ghee until they become translucent. Add ¾ of the cauliflower to the pot, saving the rest for later on. Add broth, water, remaining ghee, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. While this is cooking, break up the remaining cauliflower into small florets.
Remove from the heat and carefully place mixture in a decent-sized blender. For safety purposes, be sure to open blender vent and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent burns while blending. Blend the mixture until it is entirely smooth. To finish the keto clam chowder, pour the mixture back into the pot, stir in cauliflower florets, clams, and add a sprig of rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes, occasionally stirring. Remove the sprig of rosemary before serving.
Add your salt and pepper to taste and if you want to kick it up a notch, garnish with bacon crumbles and dried rosemary. Enjoy your dairy-free keto clam chowder!
- Melt two tablespoons of ghee in large stock pot with a cover. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Cut cauliflower into 4 quarters. Add ¾ of the cauliflower to the pot, reserve ¼ of the cauliflower for later.
- Add the chicken broth, water, salt, and remaining ghee. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Break apart the remaining cauliflower into small florets.
- Remove the pot from the heat, carefully place entire mixture into a large blender. Blend until completely smooth, taking care to use the hot liquid vent with a kitchen towel/cloth.
- Pour the blended mixture back into the pot.
- Stir in the cauliflower florets, clams, and add 1 sprig of rosemary.
- Bring pot to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove rosemary sprig prior to serving.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: garnish with crumbled bacon and dried rosemary.
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.