Pictured: Sockeye Salmon Tartare recipe from CHOW
Paleo is all the rage these days. From your friend who does CrossFit to celebrities in the tabloids, it seems like everyone is trying to eat like it’s 10,000 BC. But if you haven’t just finished your WOD or aren't on the cover of US Weekly, you might not be familiar with the latest dietary craze. The Paleolithic Diet—or paleo for short—focuses on eating foods that our ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic period. Since our ancestors would have been hunters and gatherers, their diets centered on items like fresh vegetables, lean meats, and nuts/berries. Practitioners of paleo also try to avoid dairy, legumes (including peanuts), and processed grains.
And while paleo might be seen as a fad to some, basing your diet around meat, vegetables, and healthy options is rather timeless. So with that in mind, we’ve collected 15 recipes to help you kick off your paleo lifestyle.
1. Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry Waffles
One of the first things you’ll notice about paleo recipes is that if you make it gluten free, chances are it is also paleo friendly. With almond flour—or any natural alternative—replacing unbleached flour, our blueberry and banana waffles are a great way to start your paleo diet (and day). Get our Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry Waffles recipe.
2. Blueberry Muffins
If you’re more of an on-the-go type person, these blueberry muffins are a great snack for the morning or any other point in the day. Coconut flour, which you can find nowadays in most higher-end grocery stores, make these muffins paleo friendly. Get the recipe here.
3. Pulled Pork, Caramelized Onion, and Red Pepper Frittata
Eggs, especially if they are organic or free range, are very popular amongst the paleo crowd. This hearty frittata should be started the night before, although you can substitute ground pork if you’re feeling lazy. It takes 30 minutes in the oven to finish the dish, giving you just enough time to get in a quick workout. Get the recipe here.
4. Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
With all of the workouts we’ll be doing to complement our new paleo lifestyle, it’s nice to have a few simple recipes for the nights when we might be a little too tired to cook. There might not be a recipe simpler than this. Get our Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus recipe.
5. Paleo Bacon Blue Cheese Spin Dip
While dairy is generally avoided if you are a strict practitioner, most people on the paleo diet are OK with it every once in a while. And if you’re going to have some dairy, this bacon and blue cheese dip is a great option for your cheat day. Get the recipe here.
6. Roasted and Whipped Bone Marrow
Bone marrow, while still in the bone, can be an intimidating dish. This recipe from Food52 is an easy way to get some of the more picky eaters to give it a try. We’re not going to say they will LOVE it, but trying is half the battle. Get the recipe here.
7. Bone Broth
As the New York Times notes, bone broth has become “stylish as part of the Paleo lifestyle.” It might seem odd at first to carry around a mug of beef broth but you’ll love the health benefits (and taste). Get the recipe here.
8. Kale Chips
With any diet, it’s easy to cheat a little bit when you are hungry between meals. Avoid heading to the vending machine and try our recipe for homemade kale chips. They are healthy, easy to make, and the perfect in-between option to help you stay away from eating something you’ll regret. Get our Baked Kale Chips recipe.
9. Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi and Bacon
Brussels sprouts, kimchi, and bacon–oh boy. All of these strong flavors complement each other extremely well, making it a great option for a weekend meal. If that’s not hearty enough for you, this dish can also be served as a side along with one of our other healthy options. Get our Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi and Bacon recipe.
10. Easy Thai Grilled Chicken Breasts
Our Thai grilled chicken breasts are an easy, healthy option for a quick weeknight dinner. You can serve them along with a fresh salad, rice noodles (not strictly paleo), or some fresh vegetables. Nam pla (fish sauce) is available in most supermarkets. Get our Easy Thai Grilled Chicken Breasts recipe.
11. Basic Roast Chicken
Simple is often the best, which is the case for our recipe for roast chicken. The trick to great roasted chicken is to start off with some really high heat and then reduce the temperature to a more manageable heat for the majority of the cooking time. Get our Basic Whole Roasted Chicken recipe.
12. Beef Braised in Guinness
While beer is not strictly paleo (unless gluten free), it’s the alcohol that is most objectionable. Since you’re cooking out the booze, this dish should technically be paleo-friendly. Feel free to substitute another dark-bodied, gluten-free ale for the Guinness if you want. We like Guinness for the caramel flavors it imparts to the stew. Get our Beef Braised in Guinness recipe.
13. Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon
Although most paleo practitioners try to avoid soy, it is generally accepted that miso is a healthy option due to the fermentation process. Substitute the soy sauce with coconut aminos to make this dish 100 percent paleo friendly. Get our Miso-Ginger Glazed Salmon recipe.
14. Crispy Coconut Shrimp with Mango Sauce
Tapioca flour and coconut flakes help to make this dish paleo friendly (and delicious). We’re also big fans of their simple mango sauce for dipping. Get the recipe here.
15. Vegan Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies
You may think that substituting black beans for flour will make your brownies taste like they came from south of the border, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The black beans won’t impact taste and will actually add some beneficial fiber and other nutrients to your dessert. Imagine that–a healthy dessert. Get the recipe here.
Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that's Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.