If anyone reading this has ever attempted a Whole30 diet, then you certainly know that it is quite a challenge! For those who haven’t heard of the Whole30, it basically cuts out everything delicious. The purpose of this diet started as a way for people to pinpoint triggers in their own daily regimen. You stop eating dairy, added sugars, gluten, soy, processed foods, rice, bread, pasta, corn, beans, legumes, and alcohol for 30 days. Then you slowly reintroduce these things back into your diet to see how each one affects your body and the way they make you feel. It isn’t meant to be long-term, though some have continued to complete a Whole60 and beyond. For me and my friends who are doing this together, it’s more of a detox after Mardi Gras.
Living in New Orleans feels like one giant holiday. I love it SO much, but there is temptation literally at every turn. Everyone indulges at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but here in Nola we also have the Po’Boy Fest, Fried Chicken Fest, and Beignet Fest. After New Year’s celebrations there is 12th Night, when the first king cakes are sold. Every bakery and restaurant in this city has it’s own version of king cake and they tempt us for weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. Which brings me to my next point, that Mardi Gras is like a giant tailgate. There are tables overflowing with Zap’s chips, Popeye’s fried chicken, finger sandwiches, jambalaya, more king cake, and don’t forget the coolers filled with beer. It’s a great time, but also hectic, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for preparing healthy meals. Oh! I almost forgot to mention that when Courtney and I went to the Mayor’s Ball over Mardi Gras(thanks for letting me be your date!), we heard rumors of a king cake ROOM at the venue. We went upstairs in search of sugar and sure enough, there was an entire room filled with different king cakes from all over the city! It was magical.
Are you hungry yet? Great! That was the point, now you can make this chowder! I find it to be really satisfying and a creamy dairy-free version that you can feel good about eating. It is completely 100% Whole30 compliant. I’m so happy that potatoes are on the list of approved foods because they are filling and help add body to this dish. Sprinkle a few dashes of hot sauce in your bowl and enjoy!
- 2 leeks, washed and finely chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 poblano peppers, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh thyme, chopped finely
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 Russet/Idaho potatoes, peeled & diced
- 1-1/2 cans of coconut milk
- 2 zucchini squash, diced
- salt & pepper, hot sauce
- Heat olive oil in a large pot and add leeks, onions, celery, and poblano peppers.
- Cook the vegetables until translucent and add minced garlic.
- Stir for 1 minute and add the chicken stock, water, bay leaf, thyme, & chicken breasts.
- Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the chicken breasts are cooked through.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool.
- Add the potatoes and zucchini to the pot and simmer until potatoes are tender.
- In the meantime shred the chicken and add it back to the soup along with the coconut milk. I added only 1 can of coconut milk at first, but then I added another 1/2 a can because I like it creamier.
- Season the chowder with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Add fresh cilantro to garnish.
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