Light New England Clam Chowder {Dairy Free & Gluten Free}


New England clam chowder is the ultimate comfort food, especially in the winter! Making it at home ensures you can eliminate fattening ingredients and still enjoy a delicious bowl of chow-dah, as New Englanders like to pronounce it!

Healthy clam chowder tastes just as good and it’s not as hard as you would think to make it. Using minced clams in a can may not be the first choice for some when making it, but as a mom whose busy with kiddies, it’s the easiest choice!

Since I have a wonderful sweet friend who recently moved to Maine I purchased Bar Harbor ( “Bah-Hah-ba” as she would pronounce them :) ) canned chopped clams in juice. I found them at Whole Foods.



Typically salt  pork would be the preferred choice of my husband who’s grandmother would make it with that. Regular bacon can also be used in place of salt pork. But obviously I wanted to try it with turkey bacon and must share that the family and picky hubby still absolutely loved it!



You can top yours with oysters crackers or in less than five minutes make your own croutons! Here’s my recipe the family loved: Gluten Free Garlic Parmesan Croutons!



Being dairy intolerant/sensitive made me really sad since I love chowder. The last time I tried to have it out at a restaurant over the summer with my family, will be the last. The stomach pains I endured from one small bowl are not worth it. So for now I will make this.

You can of course use half and half in place of the almond milk  I used and that’s why I’ve given you the nutrition info both ways. Other options would be with soy milk, rice milk or coconut milk. I really didn’t want the flavor of coconut in my chowder and felt the almond milk was the best choice here. May not be as creamy as using half and half, but it certainly is the best dairy free chowder I’ve ever had and I’m sticking with it!

Using Half & Half:

Servings: 10 cups* Calories per cup: 190* Fat: 10g* Cholesterol: 33mg* Sodium: 354mg* Carbs: 22g* Fiber: 2g* Sugars: 2g* Protein: 4g* Points+: 5*

*Adapted from Taste of Home

Light New England Clam Chowder {Dairy Free & Gluten Free}
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 10
  • Serving size: 1cup
  • Calories: 135
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 334mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 6 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups diced potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 (6.5 ounces) cans chopped or minced clams in juice, undrained
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened or half and half
  • fresh chopped parsley, fresh chopped chives
  • optional: Gluten Free Garlic Parmesan Croutons
  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter and cook bacon until crisp.
  2. Add garlic, celery and onion and cook until tender.
  3. Stir in potatoes, water or broth, clam juice, pepper thyme and bay leaf.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until potatoes are tender.
  5. In a small bowl mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.
  6. Add to potatoes and cook 1-2 minutes.
  7. Pour in clams in juice and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove bay leaf.
  9. Pour in almond milk or half and half and simmer for 3-5 minutes until heated through.
  10. Top with fresh parsley and chives. Serve with croutons!
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4*





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