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While the Autoimmune Protocol does not specifically exclude coconut products, it tends to be one of the top ingredients people avoid due to allergies or sensitivities. Eating coconut-free can make preparing AIP meals that much trickier, because coconut products are often used to add texture, creaminess, and a high-quality fat source to meals. I get many, many emails, comments, and direct messages from members of the community that are exasperated by their need to also avoid coconut!
Fortunately, I’ve set to work developing many coconut-free desserts over the years (like my Pumpkin Spice Cake, Blackberry Collagen Popsicles, and Gingersnap Cookies). The best substitute for coconut milk I’ve found to use in soups, stews, and curries, is simply a thinned vegetable puree. If you need it to be creamy, you can add some extra fat and nutritional yeast for rich texture and flavor.
I’ve heard from a lot of you that you aren’t sure what proportions to use to achieve this, so I developed this recipe for all of you who want to learn this technique. Here I use cauliflower, but you can experiment with different vegetables, like parsnips, rutabaga, and turnips, each lending their own unique flavors.
Speaking of texture… there is something about getting it just right in a soup or stew. This one is super vegetable-rich, and the cauliflower puree makes it hearty and flavorful. Let me know what you think in the comments!
- 1 tablespoon solid cooking fat (duck fat and tallow are good coconut-free options)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced, fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups bone broth
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 parsnips, chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1½ pounds chicken breast or thigh meat
- 1 large head cauliflower, steamed
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- If you haven't steamed your cauliflower, do so before starting this recipe (see the notes section for how to do so in your Instant Pot). Place the cooking fat in the bottom of your Instant Pot and press the Saute button. When the fat has melted and the pan is hot, add the onions, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the spices and broth and stir to combine. Add the vegetables, stir to combine, and add the chicken pieces whole, nesting into the vegetables. Close and lock the lid and cook on Manual - High Pressure for 8 minutes.
- When the timer goes off use the quick release method to release the pressure. Remove the lid and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Use a ladle to remove about 1 cup of the cooking liquid, avoiding the vegetables if you can.
- Add the cooking liquid, steamed cauliflower, and nutritional yeast to a high-powered blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add back to the pot and stir to combine.
- Use two forks to shred the chicken into small pieces. Add back to the pot with the lemon juice and parsley. Stir to combine.
This sounds so delicious but I don’t have an Instant Pot. Is it easy to adapt to just the simple stovetop?
Hey Lorna, I do think you could make it on the stovetop, but the adaptation would take some experimenting as liquid measures for pressure-cooked meals are usually quite different. We have tons of non-IP soups in the archives you could try instead – like this celeriac and leek soup: https://autoimmunewellness.com/celeriac-leek-soup/
I made it on my stovetop. I have no idea what an instapot is. It came out beautifully in my normal pot.
Absolutely loved it. Your recipes are so easy to make, simple, wholesome and delicious. Choosing another soup to make tonight!
Glad you enjoyed Linda!
THank you!!! I’m allergic to coconuts, so this soupy recipe is awesome 🙂
Thanks Eunice! I try to pop some in for the coconut-sensitive folks now and again!
You are the best!!! I was just talking to my daughter about what we could substitute for the garlic “mayo’ that you have in some of your recipes in The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook and I looked up your website and there was the answer. Incredible and wonderful suggestion for a substitute. It’s such a great cookbook and you probably don’t remember but you hand delivered it to me from your car trunk stash before Amazon had picked it up. This was at Clackamas Town Center when Sarah Ballantine came to Portland years and years ago. I love your second book just as much. You have been such a gift for so many for so long for. Thank you for all the wisdom you share with those of us who try to treat our autoimmune condition with lifestyle change. ❤️🙌
Hi Nancy! I remember that book signing from the way-back! Thanks so much for continuing to come by and support my work, and for the sweet comment. I’m so happy you guys loved this one and hope you are all doing well!
YES! It was easy and fun to make and so so so luxurious to eat. So simple. So well constructed. So easy to follow. So good.
Happy you enjoyed Mel!
We love this soup. Does it freeze well?
Hey Laurie! It does!
This is no doubt one of the best chicken soups I’ve ever made in my Instant Pot, or any of my pots for that matter. I’ve been using my pressure cooker for years and have made many soups, but this one hands down has incredible flavor, texture and wholesome ingredients! I recently started AIP, so this is wonderful to find so much flavor without butter. I used duck fat, and dab of bacon lard to saute the onions. And I included 1 turnip root and 1 parsnip, and I used chicken thighs because I prefer their flavor. I also did the add-in of 1 TBSP nutritional yeast. AMAZING!! 10 stars!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Caralleen!
I want to try this recipe this week. However, I haven’t had much luck cooking meat in the Instant Pot. It always comes out too dry. I’ve read one of the reasons it’s too dry is using a quick release and not allowing the meat to sit in the juices as it cools. I know some people like their meat on the drier side and might not notice, but I really dislike dry meat. Does the meat stay moist in this recipe?
Hi Kirsten! I have found the method of natural release to work well with big, tough chunks of meat (like pot roast or pork shoulder), but I do not think it works well with chicken. The chicken does stay tender in this recipe because it is not overcooked. I would encourage you to give it a try!
Thank you so much for posting this-I’ve actually made it before and it was delicious! And I have all the ingredients to make it now-so perfect 👍
I also appreciate the coconut discussion before the recipe because I too have to avoid it. Very helpful as are the tips about instant pot cooking!
Happy you found this recipe useful, Valerie!
Delicious soup, one of my favorites now. I was surprised how creamy it was, and I couldn’t even taste the cauliflower. It was very flavorful, and the chicken (I used bone-in thighs) was tender enough that my 3 1/2 year old daughter ate it with no problems. She loved it, too!
I’m really happy you loved it, Jessica!
Hi, I love so many of your recipes and am still discovering which foods cause sensitivities and which do not. I see you use nutritional yeast in this and some other recipes and am curious because in my research I’m learning that nutritional yeast is contraindicated for people with autoimmune diseases owing to the anti Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies present in their bodies. Will you elaborate on how and why using it is approved during AIP eating? I appreciate your guidance and assistance!
Hi Kerin! Nutritional yeast is compliant in the elimination phase of AIP. If you have a known allergy or sensitivity to it (or any other food!), you should eliminate it. If we eliminated every food that could be a sensitivity for anyone we’d end up with no foods to eat! Good luck.