Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Creamy Crockpot Fish Chowder (Paleo, Whole30)

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you have probably heard me talk about being on the Whole30™ program.

What is the Whole30?  The creators of the Whole30, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig form Whole9life.com sum it up nicely here:

(The Whole30™ is) Whole9’s original program designed to change your life in 30 days.  Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive track, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits and relationships with food…

In summary, the Whole30™ is a program that brings the paleo lifestyle to a maximum.  But even if you are a vegan, there are ways to benefit the Whole30™ program and the concepts that will help you along the way.

As of today, May 23, 2012 I am on day 16 of the Whole30™ program and loving it.  My only cheat? Weighing myself 11 days into the program.  It was for a work contest and while I had been trying for more than a month to drop a few pounds, I found the most success after diving into this program.  11 days in, 9 pounds down.  I haven’t weighed myself since, but that doesn’t matter as much as how well I feel, how much more sleep I am getting and how focused I am on eating and feeding my family the best foods possible.

This is really good stuff!

Click here to learn more and purchase your own copy of the Whole30 Success Guide.

Now…how does this affect you?

It changes my recipes just a bit.

As you know, I have been focused on a paleo-friendly lifestyle for some time…but this program doesn’t allow for any type of sugar, refined or not, not even stevia for the whole 30 days.

As anyone who has made a transition to a gluten-free or dairy-free lifestyle knows, when you start reading labels, you realize the number of foods that are now off limit seems astronomical.

I thought we were doing well in our efforts to limit sugar intake and then I started really, really reading our labels.

My favorite herbal tea? Has stevia. Stevia isn’t bad, except in the fact that it alters the way we taste our food…and since this is effectively a 30 cleanse, a reset of the body and mind, it is important to eliminate stevia as well…

So I found a different herbal tea.

I knew things like mayonnaise and most sausages had some sugar in them…but I honestly had no idea that even the best bacon on the market has sugar.

Really?  I don’t want sugar with my hickory smoked bacon, I just want good quality bacon!

Luckily, Dallas and Melissa have helped with that as well.  This Whole9 approved bacon from Wellness Meats is not only delicious, it is the perfect complement to the dish I am sharing with you tonight.

Because I plan on sticking to the Whole30 program for much longer than 30 days, you can expect many more Whole30 friendly recipes from me.  While I may have the occasional treat after the initial 30 days is complete, those treats will be fewer and much more far between than they were and undoubtedly I will be far more aware of what I put into my body, thus I hope to help you be more aware of what you put into yours as well.

Being dedicated to the Whole30 does call for some changes…those changes have helped me stay focused on preparing the healthiest meals I can on the limited time our busy schedule allows.  And you know what?   My crockpot has become my new best friend.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used my crockpot fairly regularly for many years…it just seems I am using it every day now.

Knowing that I have a meal ready when I get home is enough to keep us away from the hotdogs, take-out Mexican, etc…

This Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Creamy Crockpot Fish Chowder is inspired by the crockpot lady herself, Stephanie O’dea, uses tricks from my favorite clam chowder recipe from my restaurant days many moons ago, and is sans shell-fish to make it safe for everyone in my family.

The result?

A home that smelled of fish, but worth every bite.

This soup is so delicious, my 10 year old asked if I could make it again for her birthday…in October. 🙂

Yes, it is that good.

I like to top mine with Tabasco sauce (a trick I learned from my restaurant customers way-back-when), but it is delicious with or without the added spice.

This recipe makes enough to feed my family of 7 and have some left-over for lunch the next day…feel free to cut it in half, but I imagine this would freeze well for a ‘normal’ sized family and make for deliciously healthy grab-n-go dinners for many days to come.


Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Creamy Crockpot Fish Chowder (Paleo, Whole30)


  • 3lb White Fish (I used frozen wild-caught tilapia, but any white fish should do)
  • 2-32 oz jars of Chicken Broth (I used homemade)
  • 20 Baby Turnips (I snagged these at our local FM, 5 or 6 large turnips should do as well)
  • 2 Medium Yellow Squash
  • 1 Whole White Onion
  • 2 c Baby Carrots
  • 2 Hearts of Celery
  • 2 Tbs Minced Garlic
  • ½ Tbs Crushed Red Pepper
  • 8 Slices of Sugar-Free Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2-cans Whole-Fat Coconut Milk (I use Thai Kitchen)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Cube fish, add fish and chicken broth to 6-quart crockpot. Chop all vegetables in food processor. Add vegetables, garlic , red pepper and crumbled bacon to crockpot. Stir, cover and set to low for 10 hours.
  2. Once soup has cooked for 10 hours, use immersion blender to partially puree soup; I like to leave a few large chunks so it remains more chowder versus bisque.
  3. Add in coconut milk, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve hot as-is or kick it up a notch with Tabasco sauce.
  5. Serves 12


Don’t forget to join in on this month’s Ingredient Challenge Monday for your chance to be featured in next month’s Challenge-Ingredient Announcement!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


  1. Can you freeze this after? Lots of leftovers!


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