Seafood cioppino is a seafood stew cooked in a tomato based sauce. Make this low-carb, paleo, whole30 version in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Updated 2021 with Instant Pot instructions
This seafood stew might look fancy but it’s super easy to make. There are many variations of seafood cioppino out there; this one is mine. Since this version is meant to be cooked in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, specific variations to a traditional seafood cioppino had to be made. For example, there’s no wine. I’ll explain that below. Also, I wanted this version to be healthy yet affordable so I ingredients are purposely vague as to which seafood to use. I encourage you to use the seafood that fits your budget and dietary restrictions.
What Is Seafood Cioppino
Seafood cioppino is a Italian-American seafood stew originally from in San Francisco, California. In the late 1800s, Italian-American fisherman from San Francisco started using their leftover seafood catch of the day to create a stew. I first had cioppino when I moved to the Bay Area post college in 2002. One bite in and I was hooked.
What Type Of Seafood To Use
As previously mentioned, when seafood cioppino first appeared, it made with whatever the fisherman caught in the Pacific Coast waters off of San Fran. This usually included crab, shrimp, and scallops among other seafood. I used shrimp, calamari, scallops, and mussels that I bought pre-mixed and frozen from Costco. As with a lot of my recipes, you can use your preferred seafood. You can use any combination of your favorite seafood whether it be fish, mussels, shrimp, crab, scallops or clams. This recipe is written to use fresh seafood not frozen. I thawed my frozen seafood in the frig overnight before using in the recipe the next day.
Good-Bye Wine Sauce
Traditionally, the base for a seafood cioppino calls for a mixture of tomatoes and a white wine to make a nice sauce. It was important to me that my version of cioppino be low-carb, paleo, and whole30 compliant. That means no wine. In addition to wine not being compliant, I don’t recommend using wine as an ingredient when using the slow cooker because there’s nowhere for the wine to evaporate while it cooks so the flavor tends to overpower the food. Instead I this use broth. You can use your preferred broth whether it be low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, fish stock or clam juice. Or a combination of broth & water (1 cup broth, 1 cup water). I tend to use low-sodium chicken broth because that’s what I usually have on hand in my pantry.
How To Serve Cioppino
What is cioppino usually served with? Bread. Crusty, charred bread to be exact. I won’t beat around the bush, seafood cioppino is best served with bread dipped in its flavorful tomato-based sauce. But again, this version is meant to be low-carb, paleo, and whole30 so I normally just eat it as-is. If the seafood stew alone is not that’s not filling enough for you, this cioppino is also good served over cauliflower rice or even zoodles.
- 2 pounds fresh seafood (combination of your preferred fish and shellfish)
- 1 tablespoon oil (for Instant Pot)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional)
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups low-sodium broth or stock (or 1 cup plus 1 cup water)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- Add STEW ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6.
- Rinse seafood. Add seafood to the slow cooker and cook and additional 15-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if using.
- Turn on the Instant Pot and select sauté. Once hot add the oil, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook approximately 3-5 minutes or until vegetable are soft. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Stir in remaining STEW ingredients.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 20minutes. When cook time is done, quick release the pressure.
- Open the lid and stir the food. Turn on the Instant Pot to sauté. Once bubbling, stir in the rinsed seafood. Cook a few minutes until seafood is done.
- Remove bay leaf before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if using.
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