paleo New England clam chowder

Paleo New England Clam Chowder

This paleo New England Clam Chowder is a gluten-free, dairy-free, healthier version of the traditional soup.

When my husband and I first met, we experienced one of the coldest winters on record in Washington, DC. We had the romantic idea of going to New York City to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop but quickly changed our minds when we realized just how cold it was going to be, and no amount of people huddled together could change that. So we took the train back to DC, got in our pajamas and watched the ball drop from the comfort of our couch, under a warm blanket. That same weekend, I made a huge batch of New England clam chowder. The bacon, the heavy cream, the potatoes…. warming comfort food, that lasted for much of the deep cold spell. Even though fat was considered unhealthy back then in the late 90’s, we didn’t care. We were young and not worried about our waistlines, especially because the soup was so satisfying. My husband still talks about that soup today, twenty years later.

These days I cannot consume cream or potatoes, so I went many years before I had that gastronomic, soul-warming experience again. However, I have now found away to get around those two obstacles. The celeriac acts as both the “cream” as well as the potatoes. The bacon still remains. 🙂 In fact, I use a little extra, to make up for the loss of fat from the cream.

While that first soup might have been heady, gushing, heart-swelling love in a pot, this new soup is a wiser, more sustainable, life-fulfilling love.


12 bacon strips
2 medium celeriac
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced*
24 ounces clam juice (no added ingredients!)
5 cups chicken broth (homemade is best)
2 bay leaves, torn in half
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) baby clams, undrained (no added ingredients!)


Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.

Strain the clam juice from the cans and reserve. Cube the celeriac into 1-inch pieces. Place in a couple of baking dishes, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they are fork tender.

In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a plate and set aside. Saute celery and garlic in the bacon drippings until tender.  Stir in chicken stock, clam juice (from the bottles as well as the reserved juice from the cans), bay leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

If you’d like a few potato-like chunks in your soup, then reserve a handful of the cubed celeriac. Place the rest of the celeriac in pot, and with a stick blender, blend until smooth. Add the remaining celeriac cubes, the clams and the thyme, stirring to heat through. Taste the soup and adjust for seasonings. Crumble the bacon and garnish each soup bowl, reserving any remaining bacon to place on salad another day.


* use 1/2 Tablespoon garlic-infused oil for low FODMAPs

Heather Jacobsen

Using my MSc to unravel the health & science behind grains, gluten & the gluten-free/paleo lifestyle. Foodie, photographer, mommy.

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