As a health-supportive personal chef, I’m hired by individuals on therapeutic diets to cook nutritious, healing meals that adhere to their nutrition prescriptions. It’s tough to be sick, and sometimes people simply need someone else to do the grocery shopping and cooking.
I’d been feeding a couple on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet for a few months when I made this recipe. Later that evening, I came home to the following email…
We just finished eating the seafood chowder and it might be the best soup I have ever had! It was the most comforting meal to eat after a cold and dreary day. We are so grateful for your immense creativity and talent!
Have a great week,
Woah!!! That put the biggest smile on my face and filled up my heart with joy.
You see, L. hadn’t eaten dairy, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, nightshades, or eggs since she discovered she had celiac disease, along with an autoimmune disease, about six months back. AIP, which takes the Paleo Diet five steps further, can work amazing wonders healing the gut, reducing inflammation, and reducing antibodies produced in autoimmune conditions. But it can be incredibly challenging and restrictive, and the meals can get repetitive. My job as the culinary nutritionist is to come up with ways to keep meals exciting by boosting flavor and recreating familiar textures with a limited ingredient list.
Take this seafood chowder for example. In place of potatoes, I swap in rutabaga, a starchy root vegetable with a wonderfully earth flavor. To replace the dairy, I add full-fat coconut milk. Without flour to thicken the soup, I blend some of the vegetables and stock, which also adds creaminess. White wine may be off the menu, but white wine vinegar, for an acidic high note, is a go. The end result is an immensely satisfy, rich, and flavorful chowder that doesn’t have you missing a thing!
Nutritionally, this one pot meal is super rich in omega-3 fatty acids, as well as minerals like zinc and iron. That makes it a fantastic immune-boosting, brain nourishing, and heart supporting supper.
I used halibut, mussels, and canned crab meat, but feel free to swap in your favorite seafood. Try clams or shrimp in place of the mussles, or salmon or cod in place of the halibut.
I hope you love it as much as L. did!
AIP Seafood Chowder
Makes 4-6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 stalks celery, diced small
3 medium carrots, diced small
2 medium rutabaga, diced medium
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
8 ounces clam juice
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
1 pound halibut, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
1 6-ounce can crab meat, excess water drained
¼ cup chopped dill
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic, celery, carrots, rutabaga, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are mostly tender.
- Add the stock, clam juice, coconut milk, white wine vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and carefully ladle 2 cups of the soup (equal amounts vegetables and liquid) into a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree a bit of the soup to achieve a slightly thickened soup base.
- Bring soup back to a low simmer and add the mussels. Cover and cook 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Add the halibut, cover, and cook an additional minute. Turn off heat. Add the crab meat and dill. At this point the mussels should have fully opened and halibut should be just cooked through. Simmer an additional minute if needed, but the seafood will continue to cook as the soup sits.