Going primal needn’t be as wacky or as arduous as you might at first think. Working on the principles of eating low carbs with plenty of good fats and protein it is easy to tweak existing favourite recipes to make them Paleo. I’ve known many people lose 6 or 7 lbs of fat in their first 2 weeks on a Paleo diet. In a previous post I covered how a Paleo meal plan might look. To try it out for a for a 2 week period you only need a handful of recipes. Here are 5 easy Primal takes on classic recipes to get you started.
SOUPS, STEWS & CASSEROLES
Soups, stews and casseroles are ideal Paleo food. What’s more they can be ‘batch’ cooked and kept in the fridge or freezer to save you cooking time later.
‘Bone broths’ where meat is cooked on the bone in stock provide an excellent source of minerals.
Middle Eastern Chicken and Apricot Stew
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp root ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 chicken pieces, thighs and or drumsticks
- 2 tsp baharat or ras-el-hanout spice blend (look for Bart spices in the supermarket)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 medium courgettes, chopped
- 10 ready-to-eat apricots, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 750ml chicken stock
- a handful of mint or coriander (or both), chopped
- a handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.
- Add the onion, ginger and garlic, and season and cook for 8 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the spice blend and apricots and stir briefly.
- Add in 750ml of stock and the sweet potato. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the courgettes and cook gently for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs, lemon juice and pomegranate seeds, if using.
Roast dinners are ideal Paleo food and a good size joint of meat will provide meals for a couple of days. yhey are easy to prepare and versatile. Just use whatever vegetables are in season to accompany your choice of meat.
Honey Roast Gammon
- gammon joint, smoked or un-smoked
- seasonal root vegetables e.g. parsnips carrots, squash, sweet potatoes
- seasonal green vegetables e.g. leeks, broccoli, cabbage, kale
- olive oil or butter
- Place the gammon joint in a roasting pan. Press a dozen or so cloves into the gammon and spoon on some honey.
- Cover and place in the oven on 175c until cooked through (at least 45 minutes) depending on the size of the joint.
- Peel and slice the root vegetables. Brush with oil or butter and season. Place in another roasting dish in the oven, turning occasionally. These will cook a little quicker than the gammon.
- Chop and steam the green vegetables.
- Serve with a good quality gravy or the liquid from the gammon roasting pan.
STIR-FRY OR THAI CURRIES
Stir fry meals or Thai style curries can be easy to prepare and a great way to enjoy plenty of fresh vegetables. Just replace noodles with courgette zoodles or rice with shredded cauliflower.
Thai red curry with zoodles
This is a versatile dish and vegetables or meats can be substituted to suit. Using vegetables like aubergine or sweet potato give the meal a more stew like feel suitable for a main meal, without it is more like a soup ideal for a light lunch.
- 200g jar red curry paste
- 1 400g tin coconut milk or 200g block of creamed coconut dissolved in 400ml warm water
- 500g chicken or white fish
- 1 bunch spring onion, thinly sliced
- 150g peas
- 1 medium aubergine, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
- 3 medium courgettes (zucchini)
- Gently heat the curry paste in a large saucepan with a little water until it begins to boil.
- When the paste is hot add the chicken or fish and cook for 5 minutes turning frequently.
- Add the aubergine and coconut milk. Season and cook until aubergine begins to soften.
- Add the spring onion and peas and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, ‘zoodle’ or thinly slice the courgettes lengthways. Steam or stir-fry until cooked but still a little firm.
- Serve the curry on top of the zoodles.
Cauliflower mash can be used as a lower carb and lower GI replacement for mashed white potato in many meals. Think cottage pie, shepherds pie, bangers and mash…
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 500g (approx) mince beef or turkey mince
- 400g can tomatoes
- 300ml beef stock
- Fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 large cauliflower
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the minced beef and cook for 3 minutes to brown.
- Add the tomatoes, purée, beef stock, bay leaf and thyme.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then season.
- Meanwhile, to make the topping, boil the cauliflower in water until soft. Drain and mash with the butter using a potato masher or hand blender and season.
- Spoon the meat into an ovenproof dish. Top with the mash and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
Primal eating typically involves meat, fish or eggs with almost every meal. If you want a change and will tolerate a little cheese in your cave-person life style, try this roast squash and feta recipe.
Roast Butternut Squash & Feta Cheese
- 3 small butternut squash , about 600g each
- olive oil
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant) chopped into chunks
- 3 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp sweet paprika
- a pinch cayenne pepper
- 225g feta cheese, crumbled
- 60g pine nuts
- 3 tbsp chopped mint
- 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 lemon, juiced
- seeds from ½ pomegranate
- Wash the butternut squash and carefully cut it in half length-ways. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibrous centre and discard. Put the squash halves on a baking tray cut- side up, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, season and roast at 200C for approx 35 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- When the squash is cool enough to handle scoop out some flesh, leaving a border of 1cm, then roughly chop the flesh and put it in a bowl. (This can be done in advance).
- Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until beginning to caramelise, about 10 minutes. Add the spices and cook for two minutes more. Add the aubergine and 300ml of hot water and simmer for until the aubergine begins to soften (most of the water should be absorbed).
- Add the reserved squash until it is warmed through.
- Remove from the heat and stir through the feta, pine nuts, herbs and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Again the filling could be made ahead of time and the squash re-heated as required).
- Spoon the mixture equally between squash halves and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
Remember, breakfast is just another meal. Nothing special, don’t get hung up on it…
Eggs in their many forms are an ideal Paleo breakfast. Whether its omelettes, scrambled or boiled, combine with a few veggies and breakfast can be thrown together in a few minutes. That said, personally I can’t be eating eggs everyday and still have a social life. My number one choice therefore is grilled kippers and mushrooms. Kippers are inexpensive and a good source of omega 3 fats. The boil in the bag variety work fine grilled.
- Place kippers under a medium grill with some chopped mushrooms. Add a little butter if desired to the kippers.
- Turn the mushrooms to ensure they cook evenly.
- Remove from the grill once cooked (less than 10 minutes).
- Serve with a couple of slices of avocado.
Okay, this should have got you started. For more inspiration do a quick internet search on ‘Paleo / Primal recipes’ or check two of my favourite recipe sites:
- Paleo Low-Carb Grain Replacements (getbeasted.wordpress.com)