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Converting Recipes To Paleo

on March 1, 2010 | In: Food and Drink, Nutritional Approach, Nutritional Tips | 0 Comments

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, ‘what are some of your favorite paleo recipes?’, which really catches me off-guard.  Why?  Because ALL the meals I cook, whether I use a recipe or not, are Paleo!

I’m certainly not trying to imply that all cookbooks out there are designated Paleo books, not by a long shot; rather, that it’s not hard to convert a recipe to conform to the foods we eat while eliminating the non-foods that we don’t want to!

Granted, I’m not suggesting you can use your mom’s Betty Crocker cookbook from 1953 and figure out a way to make the perfect yellow cake while keeping Paleo, but if we’re talking about main dishes, meats, fish, poultry, veg and so on, it’s not a hard task to accomplish.

Following are a few tips to help you transform a recipe, which may have some very non-paleo origins:

-If a recipe calls for butter to sauté, replace that with olive oil.  If you’re working with recipes that call for using a really high temp, you might try Grape seed oil as that has a higher burning point than olive oil.

-A recipe utilizing cheese as a topping or garnish is easily changed; if it’s a soup or stew, try shredded green or red cabbage on top- the crunch makes a nice balance to the soft texture of a stew.

-If you’ve found a great sauce recipe that seems Paleo, but you’re halted due to the realization that you won’t have pasta to put the sauce upon, worry no more- use baked spaghetti squash, which is delicious with a homemade marinara and some diced grilled chicken mixed in!

-A recipe using flour as a thickener can sometimes (depending on what it is!) be altered with the substitution of almond meal.  Be open-minded as the flavor will obviously be a bit different as well!

-A main dish that was meant to be served on top of rice or pasta can easily be served over a bed of steamed kale, chard, spinach or collard greens, to name a few!

-Try using coconut milk in lieu of dairy milk in recipes- again the flavor and fat content may be a bit different, but change is good, isn’t it?

I don’t have a favorite- I purposely make each meal different from the last to ensure the most variety in my diet.   I’ll prepare chicken one night, salmon the next, bison the following day and so on, always making enough so that I have leftovers the following day for lunch.

As I’ve said many a time before, keep it interesting and literally 'play'! 

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