The paleolithic diet is a fad diet based on the foods that proponents believe Paleolithic humans might likely have eaten, such as meat, nuts, and berries, and excludes food which proponents think Paleolithic humans did not eat, like dairy. The Paleolithic era was a period lasting around 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. It was characterized by the use of flint, stone, and bone tools, hunting, fishing, and the gathering of plant foods.
Here are 15 super-easy Paleo recipe ideas to help get you off the ground.
Garlic Mashed No-tatoes
White potatoes – while nutritious and natural – aren’t allowed by all Paleo eating plans due to their potentially significant impact on blood sugar levels. Whether you avoid the starchy vegetables or simply desire a lower-calorie alternative to conventional mashed potatoes, Ginger Calem, certified CrossFit trainer and CrossFit gym owner in Georgetown, Texas, recommends adding garlicky mashed cauliflower to your holiday table. “I actually make this frequently in our home, and my family loves it,” she says.
To prepare the dish, Calem suggests breaking a head of cauliflower into florets and then boiling or steaming until tender. Drain the cooked cauliflower, then mash it with a hand-mixer or in a food processor with desired additions, such as organic butter from grass-fed cows (or a dairy-free alternative), roasted garlic, ground pepper and sea salt.
Our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat anything close to traditional stuffing, and it’s actually unknown whether or not the American Pilgrims did. Because wild game and rice were so abundant in colonial America, it’s more likely that the original Thanksgiving feast served up some variety of bird complemented by corn, porridge and venison. Many other historic stuffing recipes were grain-free – made instead with only meat and spices. To prepare a Paleo version of today’s traditional stuffing, use celery and stuffing spices, such as thyme, sage, savory, salt and pepper. Instead of breadcrumbs, the Food Lovers Kitchen suggests sauteing these ingredients with ground pork, chopped bell peppers, garlic and mushrooms and using coconut oil as a base.
Avocado Honey Cups
Avocados are loaded with fiber, healthy fat and essential micronutrients, including the antioxidant vitamin E. For a scrumptious, paleolithic-style dessert, Ginger Calem, CPT, recommends slicing a ripe avocado in half and removing the pit, without peeling it. Then drizzle both halves with locally cultivated honey, and a dusting of sunflower seeds and cinnamon. If you don’t have honey on hand, use organic agave nectar or pure maple syrup. The peel serves dual purpose as a dish; simply spoon the insides out and enjoy. “They’re absolutely delicious!” said Calem. Avocado cups could also serve as a filling holiday appetizer or side dish. For a colorful variation, fill avocado halves with fresh or stewed cranberries and a sprinkling of roasted nuts.
Crustless Pecan Pie
For a decadent Thanksgiving dessert that stays within Paleo territory, make a pecan pie sans crust. While crustless pecan pie still contains plenty of calories, it also supplies valuable amounts of fiber, healthy fat, protein and antioxidants – not to mention tantalizing flavor. Carrie Vitt, a Paleo recipe blogger and author of the “Deliciously Organic” cookbook, recommends a filling made with pure maple syrup, maple sugar or sucanat (a natural sugar), butter, pure vanilla extract, sea salt and pecans. If you avoid dairy, use a dairy-free butter alternative, such as coconut oil.
Beets are loaded with folate, potassium and manganese, and they also contain a specific antioxidant called betanin. “One of my family’s favorite vegetable dishes is roasted beets,” says Ginger Calem, CPT. “The deep, dark-purple color makes for a gorgeous dish,” she says. They’re inherently Paleo, so no modifications are needed here. Just be cautious about what you use to give them flavor.
Eggs are one of the easiest Paleo foods to prepare, and frittatas take “simple but delicious” up to 11. The basic concept is simple: just beat some eggs and pour them into a pan with your favorite vegetables; then bake in the oven until it smells too good to resist!
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for an Italian-themed frittata to get you started. And if that’s not quite your style, try this zucchini and sweet potato frittata instead.
Roasts make it easy to stretch a tight budget (especially if you’re feeding a crowd). And slow-cookers make it easy to cram home cooking into even the busiest of schedules. Together, they’re a match made in heaven!
It’s a classic for a reason – affordable, low-effort, and delicious! Many people are intimidated at the thought of cooking a whole bird instead of just the breasts or drumsticks, but it’s really not complicated or difficult. Once you do it for the first time, you’ll be amazed that you were ever worried about it.
Don’t have a whole chicken handy? No problem: just grab whatever chicken parts you have and make a quick baked chicken recipe.
A few ideas: spice rubbed chicken is great for the heat-lovers, and lemon and thyme chicken has a slightly more delicate flavor, perfect for salads.
A big bowl of chili is just the thing to warm up a cold afternoon. It travels well; it freezes well; it reheats beautifully – is there anything it can’t do? You can adjust the spice level up or down, depending on your tastes, and you can throw in just about any kind of meat you can think of!
Paleo isn’t just about huge hunks of meat all the time: your plate should be at least half-full of vegetables! Per serving, cabbage is one of the cheapest vegetables you can buy, and it’s also very easy to prepare.
Chicken soup is “soul food” after a long day. It’s a time-honored home remedy for a sniffle or a flu, and it’s an ideal way to use up any vegetables loitering in your fridge about to go bad. Plus, it’s a perfect vehicle for bone broth.
The easiest way of dealing with almost any vegetable is to just toss it on a tray with some Paleo cooking fat and roast it until it’s soft and delicious. Roasting more assertive vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts brings out their inner sweetness and makes them much more palatable for kids.
Guacamole is a perfect vehicle for healthy fats and all the other good stuff that you’ll find in an avocado. It’s delicious scooped over a salad, used as a dip for raw vegetable slices, or simply eaten straight off the spoon.
Burgers don’t have to come on a bun! They’re incredibly versatile and a guaranteed dinner favorite, so it’s well worth your time to find a Paleo recipe.