Paleo Recipes for Modern Day Cavemen

Roasted Nut Mix

Forget Chex Mix. This Paleo nut mix was a great addition to a superbowl party we had awhile back.  I made this in large batches because it holds well and serves great for on-the-road snacks when you’re in need of a tasty snack but are sick of plain nuts. Because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. But feel free to use any nuts you have – I did a blend of nuts and seeds which were quite tasty.

2 cups almonds
2 cups walnuts
1 cup pepita seeds
2/3 cup coconut shreds
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2/3 cup honey

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

On a large baking tray lined with parchment paper, mix your almonds, walnuts and seeds together with your coconut flour. Then pour the honey slowly over the nuts – you’re not going to cover all of them but that’s ok. Then use your hands to mix all of the nuts and honey together. Warning: this is a messy process!

Once you’ve mixed as thoroughly as you can, add the coconut flakes and mix around again. Some nuts and seeds will have more coconut flakes on them but that’s ok. As my husband says, it’s the element of surprise that keeps you going back to get that special extra honey and coconut cloaked nut.   This recipe inspired me to do a blend of different flavors. Next time I’ll try a spicy version!

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. You can serve immediately or wait until they cool down. Enjoy!

Blueberry muffins

I used to love fruit pre-paleo. It was there and nice in theory but I would always go for some candy or junk food snacks when grocery shopping to fix any sweet cravings I had. Now with a paleo household, I feel that fruit is the foundation for delicious desserts.  I buy more fruits and vegetables than ever before and am amazed at how much they change a dish instantly.  This recipe was inspired by my sister during a recent road trip to Lake Placid  (hat tip Lauren).  When my husband craves a dessert and/or snack, this is one of the easiest recipes that I whip up to give him.  It’s delicious even for non-paleo diners!! Just be careful not to eat too many, else you start looking like a blueberry

Makes 36 mini muffins
1 cup coconut flour
12 eggs
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together with  a whisk – do not add the blueberries until you have a smooth batter. Once your mixture is creamy smooth without any lumps, add in your blueberries and slowly mix.

Pour the batter into muffin tins (I only have mini-muffin pans but use whatever you want!). Bake in the oven for 25 minutes (my husband likes them a bit on the moist side so I take them out of the oven a little beforehand).

These are great for breakfast, dessert or just a snack. Serve and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese

Holy moly – where does the time go. It’s already the end of February and I realized that I haven’t posted in weeks. Our food challenge is over and it was an amazing success. Of the 34 people who participated in it, the group lost over 100 pounds collectively in just 45 days! All from changing the way they ate! It was an incredible achievement and we were so proud of everyone. Nearly everyone will continue some form of paleo after the food challenge and have incorporated a significant amount of vegetables in their diet which is wonderful. One of the recipes that helped get us through the challenge was this one. Spaghetti squash is a wonderful substitute for pasta and incredibly easy to make.

1 spaghetti squash
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion – chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper

Cut your squash in half lengthwise. (Note – you can cut it in half the other way but I like my squash to have longer strands so that I think I’m getting a ‘noodle’. I know – we all know it’s not pasta but I can pretend can’t I?)  Be careful to have a firm grip on your squash – cutting these guys can be a bit dangerous. Once you’ve halved the squash, you can either bake it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or microwave it. I personally microwave mine because it’s easier and faster for me You can microwave for 7-8 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

To make the bolognese sauce, you can follow my recipe below that I posted before with my Spaghetti Bolognese with Kelp Noodles recipe.  But feel free to do any type of sauce with the spaghetti squash. It will absorb any flavor you want.

Once your squash has cooled, take a fork and simply just fork out the squash noodles. Just be mindful to separate and take out the seeds and the seed strands.  It’s incredibly fast and easy. These ‘noodles’ taste great and are so easy to make. They have a high water content so keep that in mind when you add sauces.  Once you have finished your bolognese sauce, just add on top of these noodles. Serve and enjoy!

Poached Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Day 34 of the food challenge! Less than two more weeks to go and results continue to be amazing for our friends and family.

I had a dish similar to this at a cute little cafe in Long Island City called BreadBox. It doesn’t sound very paleo but they have some great breakfast options. This one in particular is a favorite for my husband and me.  It reminds me of an amazing breakfast I had in Zihuatanejo a couple of years ago. YUM. I also like this dish because it’s forgiving on my poorly poached eggs – I can rarely make them pretty enough to serve the silver fox, Eric Ripert. But I’ll keep working on it.

Makes 2 servings
4 eggs
2 oz tomato paste
1 cup water
3 small tomatoes (quartered)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (as desired)
1/4 cup chopped onions
salt & pepper

In a medium size pan, add olive oil and sautee your chopped onions on high heat until golden brown. Mix your tomato paste and water together and pour into pan. Add your chopped tomatoes, stir until thoroughly mixed in the pan. Cover and lower heat to medium.

To poach your eggs – take water to a boil in a large pot. I find it easier to crack an egg into a small bowl and pour them in one at a time (versus putting them directly into the pot of hot water). Pour in your eggs one at a time and boil for 3-4 minutes. Then scoop then out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to dry.

While you are poaching your eggs, stir the tomato mixture. The tomatoes should have softened nicely to the consistency of canned crushed tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper to taste.  To serve – put your poached eggs in a bowl and then pour your spicy tomato sauce on top. Serve and enjoy!

Note: I like to make my tomato sauce extra spicy so the more chili pepper flakes the better! The great thing is that the poached eggs will reduce the heat because the yolk of the egg will dilute the heat a little bit. The morning I made this breakfast, I also had a side of my friend Lukshmi’s Vegetable Medley. My husband thought this dish was delicious by adding that directly into his bowl of tomato sauce. Experiment and enjoy!

Kale Smoothie

Day 23 of the food challenge. I think I’ve eaten enough eggs in the past 3 weeks to turn myself into a chicken. When I need a break and want a tasty snack that does not involve a hard boiled egg – this is my new favorite go-to.  My brother first told me about a kale shake months ago and I remember having reservations (or fears) that it would taste like bitter grass.  But it’s surprisingly delicious, smooth and tasty.  The only annoying thing is that you have to break out the good ol’ blender and that’s never fun to wash. But it’s such an easy way to get your greens down!  The recipe is a random assortment of ingredients – please feel free to play with the ratios of greens and fruit. It happened to be what was in our fridge when I made it.

Makes 2-3 servings
1 banana
5 medium kale leaves
2 clementines
8 strawberries
1 whole carrot
1/2 avocado

Put all items in a blender until desired consistency. Best served immediately. Enjoy!

Vegetable Medley

Day 14 of the paleo challenge.

Nearly everyone in our friendly food challenge (30+ people!!) has been sticking to this challenge and taking it very seriously. We have already had success stories just two weeks into the challenge – many people feel better and have more energy by simply changing their diet to eat better and more natural foods.  The great perk for me is to be inspired by all of the creative recipes that we’ve seen so far.  Paleo dining doesn’t have to be boring I promise!

Here’s one dish (hat tip Lukshmi) that is simple and delicious. You can add it as a great vegetable side for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  My friend made it on Paleo Indian food night as a substitute for raita (no yogurt). It was simple and incredibly delicious and requires NO cooking! All you need to do with this dish is some chopping. And that shouldn’t be a problem because we all know you’ve been working on knife skills to impress Tom Colicchio.  This dish is extremely versatile and you can add many other herbs, seasonings and/or vegetables like cumin, mint or tomatoes.  I just used some vegetables in my fridge but try to experiment and play around with the colors & flavors!

Makes 4 servings
1 yellow squash
1 cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Dice your vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste and juice about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice on top.  Mix well. No seriously – that’s it. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Squash

Day 8 of the paleo challenge.  Sometimes simple is amazing, like this grilled squash.  I found this one of the tastiest vegetable dishes I’ve had in a really long time. It made me laugh, it made me cry. Ok not really but it did put a smile on my face. Just like this simple wedding dance number down the aisle.  If you don’t laugh at the 40 second mark for awhile like I do, we can’t be paleo friends. Isn’t eating supposed to be about sweet, natural fun like this? I think so too.

Makes 4 servings
6 squash
olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash and halve the squash. Coat with olive oil and grill on each side for 5 minutes on high heat. Add salt and pepper as desire.

Serve and enjoy!  No seriously – it’s that simple and delicious.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Apple

Day 7 of the paleo challenge! I love cauliflower rice and have used it as a side dish multiple times in the past week. For Week 2, I think I’ll be eating a lot of this dish. I love brussels sprouts and find it incredibly versatile. I love it with pine nuts, with bacon, with cheese, and even a combination of all the above. When I’m in a rush, this is the recipe I go to for a quick and tasty vegetable side to my meals. The apples add a nice sweet balance to the brussels sprouts. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings
16oz brussels sprouts
1 fuji apple (or any type of apple you want)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut off the ends of the  brussels sprouts and take off any wilted outer leaves. Halve the brussels sprouts (you can leave whole if you like).  Take your apple and chop into small pieces (I like mine roughly around the size you would find in a fruit cup).

Add some olive oil in a heated pan and add the brussels sprouts. Stir frequently for 5 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chopped apple and stir for an additional 5 minutes.

That’s it! Serve and enjoy! Best served immediately.

Beef stuffed cabbage

Day 6 of the food challenge and so far so good. I am absolutely amazed at how well everyone in our group is doing and how creative some of the recipes are!  Paleo dishes can be delicious I tell you!  Here is my version of stuffed cabbage. It’s not the prettiest dish but it’s one of the tastiest. I thought about doing this after making my beef and eggplant lasagna because I loved the meat sauce so much from that recipe. You’ll notice it’s very similar but I took out the dairy/cheese portion and wanted to add another vegetable. Hope you enjoy!

Makes 6 servings
1 head cabbage
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
4oz sliced mushrooms
1.5 pound lean ground beef
2 small onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 egg
olive oil
salt & pepper

In a large heated pan, add some olive oil and sauté the sliced eggplant on high heat. Stir frequently for 5-7 minutes until eggplant is nice and soft/mushy consistency. Halfway through cooking the eggplant, add in your sliced mushrooms. Stir frequently.

Once your mushrooms have browned and your eggplant has softened dramatically, add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the ground beef, salt and pepper to taste, onions, and garlic. After the beef is browned, sprinkle in the cinnamon, nutmeg and herbs. Pour in the tomato sauce and wine, and mix well. Add in beaten egg and stir until thoroughly mixed. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the beef is simmering, get a large pot of hot water and boil on the stovetop.  With your cabbage, remove about 15 large leaves from the cabbage (make sure to cut off the very thick part of each leaf that is closest to the center of the cabbage – I find that part does not soften and will not be as tasty).  Add your whole cabbage leaves in the hot water for 3-4 minutes to wilt the leaves. You need them wilted so that they wrap around the meat mixture well.

Get ready to roll your sleeves up because this part gets a little messy! Take your softened cabbage leave and spoon in your beef mixture. In a medium sized cabbage leaf – I normally put about 2-3 tablespoons in the center, then fold the left and right sides of the cabbage in, then start the roll from the bottom all the way to the top. Try to roll as tightly as possible to keep the meat contained – but not too tight that you tear the cabbage leaf.  In a large sauté pan, carefully place the stuffed cabbage so that the opening of the cabbage faces the bottom. I find this helps keep the cabbage shape together and less stuffing falls out.

Repeat for your remaining cabbage leaves. You should have about a fair amount of the meat mixture left over which is perfect. Once all of your stuffed cabbage is placed in the sauté pan compactly next to one another, pour the remaining meat sauce mixture on top of the stuff cabbage.

Cover and cook on low for 15 more minutes. Best served immediately. Hope you enjoy!

Egg and Seaweed Roll

Day 3 of paleo challenge. 

Hard boiled eggs. Gotta love ’em! During the paleo challenge – I keep a fair amount in the fridge when I need a great, quick snack. It’s perfect for those mornings when I have no time to make an omelette or anything fancy. Here’s a nice way to sprucen up hard boiled eggs (hat tip BJ).  I used the whole seaweed paper this time but that’s just because I accidently bought the wrong seaweed. I prefer these little seaweed snacks from Sea’s Gift.  Great little snack and wraps a bite sized portion perfectly.

Makes 2 servings
4 hard boiled eggs
0.2 ounce Kim Nori Seaweed

In a small bowl, mash up your hard boiled eggs with a fork to a desired consistency.  Then simply take your bite sized kim nori (seaweed snack paper) and wrap around the mashed eggs. My breakfast this morning was served with a turnip latke. Delicious breakfast! Next time – I’ll try to add a nice creamy avocado to the eggs. Maybe even some bacon to make it crazy. YUMBO!

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