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Dairy-Free Saffron & Dill Salmon Chowder (potato-free, too!)

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For a hearty, cozy soup perfect for winter days and loaded with Omega-3s, try this easy Dairy-Free Saffron and Dill Salmon Chowder. This Paleo chowder is full of veggies, gluten-free, grain-free, and potato-free, too!

Hearty, warm, and comforting chowders are typically made with milk and white potatoes…

Which may leave you searching for a healthier, dairy-free, and Paleo-friendly version. This lovely Saffron and Dill Salmon Chowder will warm your soul this winter… without the dairy and white potatoes!

What Exactly Makes A Chowder?

The origins of chowder are unclear but the word seems to come from chaudron, the French word for cauldron. Most are made with cream or milk and often include seafood. Vegetarian chowders, such as Midwest Chowder, are also popular.

In the United States, early chowder making is traced to New England. It was a bowl of simmering chowder by the sea side that provided in its basic form “sustenance of body and mind – a marker of hearth and home, community, family and culture”. It is a food which evolved along the coastal shoreline of New England as a “congerie” of simple things, very basic and cooked simply. (Source.)

There are many, many variations of chowder, yet they all have one thing in common — they’re chunky!

Two Magic Ingredients In This Saffron & Dill Salmon Chowder

Quick and easy one-pot electric pressure cooker recipes — like these Pressure Cooker Mason Jar Berry Cobblers — are great! However, to get that chowder chunkiness you just can’t cook it all in the pressure cooker. Otherwise, all your veggies end up mushy not chowder-like at all.

The magic ingredient to make creamy, dairy-free chowder? Cauliflower! If you have an electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, use it to cook the cauliflower and speed up your prep time.

No pressure cooker? No problem. Just cook the cauliflower until it is very, very soft so you can puree the heck out of it 😉

While the cauliflower cooks, work on the rest of the chowder and still have this delicious, creamy soup ready in minimal time.

The second magic ingredient? Gelatin.

Cauliflower that is pureed to a baby-food consistency is creamy on its own. By adding a bit of powdered, grassfed beef gelatin, however, you’ll get that super creamy and dairy-like feel in your mouth that you’d expect from a rich chowder.

Gelatin just lends an extra level of velvety smoothness. (Note: I have not tested vegan substitutes, such as agar agar.)

This Dairy-Free Saffron and Dill Salmon Chowder goes perfectly with a salad. Fresh, dark, leafy greens drizzled with pure olive oil and a squeeze of tart lemon juice are a perfect contrast to this creamy, hearty chowder.

If bread is still on your menu, adding a crusty roll with butter would also make this a perfect winter-day meal.

Have you ever tried a fish chowder? Have you ever made a dairy-free or potato-free chowder?

Print Recipe
Dairy-Free Saffron & Dill Salmon Chowder (potato-free, too!)
A paleo-friendly chowder full of veggies and Omega 3-rich salmon that's hearty and perfect for cold days!
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Option 1: Cook the Cauliflower in the Instant Pot
  1. Place 1 cup chicken broth and all but 1 cup of the cauliflower florets (save the smaller pieces when chopping the head of cauliflower) into the inner cooking pot of your electric pressure cooker.
  2. Secure the lid, make sure the vent knob is set to SEALING, and set the pot to MANUAL for 7 minutes (for Instant Pot).
  3. When cooking is complete, quickly release the pressure by moving the vent knob to VENTING.
  4. Using an immersion blender puree the cauliflower until it is silky smooth and no lumps remain. It should be the consistency of baby food.
  5. Alternately, place the cauliflower and broth in a blender or food processor and carefully puree until very silky smooth.
Option 2: Cook the Cauliflower on the Stove Top
  1. In a large sauce pan, bring 1 cup of broth to a boil.
  2. Add the cauliflower (reserving 1 cup of small pieces), reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until very soft (about 15 minutes)
  3. Puree until very silky smooth, using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.
  1. While the cauliflower is cooking, add 1/2 cup almond milk to a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top to bloom.
  2. Melt the palm oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook several minutes until the onions and celery begin to look translucent.
  4. Add the remaining 2 cups broth and the almond milk and gelatin mixture and stir well.
  5. Add the salt, dill, garlic powder, pepper, turmeric, and saffron threads, stirring well.
  6. Add the pureed cauliflower and mix well to combine.
  7. Simmer until the vegetables are almost as soft as you like.
  8. When vegetables are almost cooked, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salmon chunks and continue cooking until the salmon is cooked through (or warmed, if using pre-cooked salmon), about 5 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with a fresh dark, leafy green salad.
Recipe Notes

If you can't find saffron, this chowder is still delicious without it!

Powdered grass-fed beef gelatin really makes this soup more dairy-like, but can be omitted if you don't have it.

You can easily reduce the amount of carrots or omit them entirely for a low-carb chowder.

Use bone broth with the fat skimmed for a lower fat version. The added healthy fats in this nourishing soup come out to about half a teaspoon per cup, or about 2.5 grams of fat.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Terri Lilly
    January 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    I love so many of your recipes that I have made for myself and my friends who visit. Everyone who knows me, well they know that I prepare food just about everyday so for sure when they stop over I will have at least a bowl of nice hearty soup and of course some yummy cookies too.

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