Cauliflower isn’t only for roasting or crudité platters; it’s also great for soups: chunky, rustic soups, or creamy, more refined soups. This soup is a little of both, and made in the style of a New England clam chowder but that is where the similarity ends. We replaced the potatoes and cream, yes cream, with our cauliflower, so as much as we like a classic New England clam chowder we LOVE this version with no dairy or flour.
We used a whole head of cauliflower; half went into the soup at the beginning and the other half was steamed separately, combined with some of the liquid from the almost finished soup, pureed, then added back to the soup to give it the creaminess that we love about New England clam chowders. The cauliflower added in the beginning didn’t completely break down so added a lot of soft texture like potatoes in the classic chowder.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: (4) 2 cup servings
- 1 lb cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 cups diced yellow onion
- 1 1/4 inch thick round of pancetta, diced
- 3 6.5 oz cans whole Maine clams with juice; clams minced
- 1 8 fl oz clam juice
- 1 qt vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Garnish (optional):
- Fresh parsley, finely minced.
- Garlic chili oil or your favorite hot sauce.
- 6 1/4 inch thick slices of Spanish chorizo (optional and for a different version; see Extra! below)
- Wash the head of cauliflower, cut into florets, divide into two half pound portions; set aside.
- Dice the pancetta; set aside.
- Peel and dice the onion; set aside.
- Drain the clam juice from each of the cans; set aside both the clams and juice.
- Mince the clams; set aside.
- Strain the clam juice trough a fine mesh strainer to remove any grit; set aside.
- Optional garnish:
- Wash and spin dry the fresh parsley leaves, finely mince, press in a dry paper towel to remove excess moisture; set aside.
- Place the olive oil in a medium soup pot on medium-high, wait a couple of minutes for the oil to heat up, add the diced pancetta, stir, cook until nicely browned.
- Add the diced onions, stir, cook for 2 minutes, add one-half of the cauliflower, minced clams, strained clam juice (from the cans), the bottled clam juice, and bay leaf, stir, cook for 15 minutes.
- Steam the remaining half of the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes), place in a high-speed blender, add a cup or two of the liquid from the cooking soup. (Try to avoid picking up any of the cooking cauliflower or clams.)
- Safety tip! The steamed cauliflower and the liquid from the soup will be hot so make sure you hold the lid of the blender down as the air in any blender with hot items especially liquid will expand rapidly.
- Blend at high speed until creamy then pour the contents back into the pot with the soup.
- Taste for seasoning and season with black pepper; salt if necessary.
- Your dairy and gluten free cauliflower clam chowder is done and it’s time to eat!
- Garnish with the mince parsley, garlic chili oil sauce, or your favorite hot sauce.
Replace the diced pancetta with just a bit of Spanish chorizo and you will have an even more exotic version of this soup!