These quick Vietnamese beef lettuce wraps are my new go-to light dinner for spring. They’re gluten free, dairy free, paleo friendly, and easy to put together.
I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food. When Ben and I lived in Boston, our neighborhood had a lot of Vietnamese families and businesses. There was a great little supermarket within walking distance where I could pick up everything from fish sauce to rice paper wraps to long stalks of fresh lemongrass. One of our favorite restaurants, Pho Hoa, was just blocks away. I usually ordered the house special vermicelli plate. It had pretty much everything: grilled pork, shrimp on sugarcane, meatballs, grilled scallions, pickled carrots, chopped peanuts, and even a sliced spring roll all on top of vermicelli. It also came with rice paper wraps and a bowl of hot water so you could make your own fresh rolls.
These fast and easy Vietnamese lettuce wraps are loosely based on the flavors of that dish. Instead of vermicelli and rice paper wraps, we’re using fresh leaves of lettuce with a little jasmine rice inside to soak up the saucy beef. You could definitely use rice noodles or cauliflower rice instead if you prefer! The beef is quickly cooked with a little garlic and a sauce that combines tamari (or coconut aminos), fish sauce, honey, and sambal oelek. The result is an umami-packed flavor with just the right balance of sweet, salt, spice, and funk.
This paleo potato hummus is smooth, flavorful, and ideal for spring get-togethers. No one will guess it’s made with potatoes! This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA.
If you’re looking for a paleo alternative to traditional hummus, I have a treat for you today! This legume-free hummus comes together in just half an hour and is made with Yukon Gold potatoes. The flavor and texture are so similar to regular hummus, though, that no one will be the wiser. Alongside a platter of vibrant crudités, this super-smooth hummus is sure to be a hit at your next party.
I made this paleo potato hummus for a family gathering a couple of weeks ago and told everyone that it was hummus with a bit of a twist. It was quickly devoured, and no one guessed that potatoes were involved. As someone who doesn’t feel well after eating legumes like chickpeas, I’m thrilled to have discovered this crowd-pleasing, bean-free version of hummus. With olive oil drizzled on top and a sprinkle of paprika, it’s the perfect counterpart to a spread of spring’s freshest veggies.
This strawberry panna cotta with balsamic vinegar is an easy but gourmet spring dessert. With dairy-free and paleo-friendly options, more people can enjoy it!
Are you thrown off by the idea of vinegar in a dessert? Don’t go away yet–let me explain. First of all, you won’t actually taste the balsamic vinegar in this strawberry panna cotta unless you decide to drizzle extra on top to serve. Second, balsamic pairs really well with strawberries, enhancing their flavor and sweetness without asserting its own taste in any noticeable way.
Years ago when I was living in Houston, I threw one of my first dinner parties. I think everything I made that night was from the first cookbook I ever bought myself, Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. A friend of a friend brought vanilla ice cream for dessert, along with a bottle of chocolate balsamic vinegar. He explained that he’d been to a vinegar tasting, and had learned about how balsamic can enhance desserts. Although skeptical, I drizzled a bit of the heady syrup onto my ice cream, and was totally blown away. The tang of the vinegar made all the other flavors in the dessert pop in the best possible way. I was sold.
These Whole30 breakfast nachos are ideal for game day or anytime you’re craving a decadent plate of nachos but still want to stick to paleo ingredients. They take just half an hour to make!
Where have breakfast nachos been all my life? They’re a million times better than any nachos I’ve ever had before, despite being free of gluten, grains, and dairy. They’re super fast to make and just as welcome in the evening as at breakfast time. What’s not to love?
For these Whole30 breakfast nachos, we’re using thinly sliced potatoes cooked to a crisp in bacon grease instead of tortilla chips. This is one of those healthier substitutions that just so happens to taste way better than the original. The potatoes get really nice and crunchy around the edges, but still retain a little toothsome chew near the middle. I’d happily eat a sheet pan full of them with no adornment whatsoever.
I can’t say no to any of these toppings, though. We’ve got crispy bacon, eggs cooked to your liking (bring on the runny yolks for me!), rich avocado, thinly sliced scallions, crispy bits of radish, fresh cilantro, tart lime, and some salsa on the side. And once you break that yolk and let it mix a bit with the potatoes and toppings, I swear to you it will taste like these nachos have cheese in them! You just have to try it to believe it.
This Instant Pot potato leek soup is lightened up with the addition of cauliflower, and comes together super quickly in a pressure cooker. It’s also paleo and Whole30 compliant!
It’s Day 1 of my January/February Whole30! Usually I start a Whole30 right at the beginning of January, but this year I had plans to help out with a styled wedding shoot and travel to Florida. I wanted to make sure I could eat some faux wedding cake and all the Cuban food, so I pushed my start date to today.
I went to a great yoga class last night and made some mini frittatas (similar to these) to reheat for quick breakfasts, so things are going swimmingly so far. Tonight my Whole30 partner in crime Lindsey and I are making my shepherd’s pie with rutabaga, which is one of my favorite cold-weather meals of all time.
This instant pot potato leek soup is a great addition to my winter Whole30 repertoire. The base of the soup is half potato and half cauliflower, so you get the great flavor and creaminess of potatoes without the huge carb spike.
Anyone suspicious of cauliflower will not be able to taste it! The leeks add wonderful savory flavor to the soup, which is further complemented by the grassy, oniony freshness of the chives sprinkled on top.
This paleo, Whole30-compliant shrimp and sausage gumbo is a flavor-packed meal that comes together in half an hour in the Instant Pot, and just a little longer on the stovetop.
Today’s recipe comes from my friend Megan‘s book, The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook. If you don’t have it, you need to get your hands on it as soon as possible. It’s full of simple but delicious paleo recipes made with straightforward ingredients. The book has 15 chapters, each focusing on recipes made with one of the “big 15” paleo ingredients (see the cover below to find out what they are!).
I chose to make the gumbo recipe from the shrimp chapter, and while I wondered how it would turn out since it’s made with just a handful of everyday ingredients, I was definitely not disappointed.
You don’t have to bother with a roux–this paleo shrimp and sausage gumbo gets its great flavor from vegetables, healthy cooking fat, and Creole seasoning, plus the shrimp and sausage themselves. Megan recommends using shell-on shrimp for better flavor. I was hesitant at first, but after trying it I really do think the gumbo has more flavor due to having the shrimp shells in while it cooks.
Using unpeeled shrimp also makes it harder to overcook them, which is often a problem with quick-cooking shrimp. It’s a little messy peeling the saucy shrimp, but it’s also kind of fun. I love a good hands-on eating experience! If you don’t, you can peel them beforehand or even buy pre-peeled shrimp.
This crispy chicken salad with pineapple pico de gallo is full of fresh, vibrant ingredients to brighten up your winter. Plus, it’s paleo and Whole30 compliant!
Crispy chicken: I’m starting to worry I talk about it too much. The thing is, it just doesn’t get much better. And it definitely doesn’t get ANY better when we’re talking about a Whole30-compliant salad. This crispy chicken salad with pineapple pico is the stuff dreams are made of!
While my usual method for crisping up chicken is to use skin-on chicken thighs (see exhibits A, B, and C), this time I wanted crispy breaded chicken. I didn’t want to use bread, of course, and almond flour doesn’t quite produce the requisite level of crunch. I was planning to try crushed up plantain chips, but I couldn’t find any that were made with Whole30-friendly oil. It was in my search for plantain chips that I laid eyes on EPIC’s sea salt & pepper pork rinds.
The ingredients are Whole30-compliant, and I confirmed on the forums that if pork rinds are used in the context of a nutritious recipe and not just for mindless snacking, they’re fine. In this case, I eliminated any (convenient) snacking possibilities by smashing the rinds to smithereens while they were still in the bag.
Anyway, they make a wonderfully flavorful breading for crispy chicken, which then graces the top of this salad that’s already packed with just the right combination of sweet, spicy, crunchy, peppery, juicy, and creamy bites.
This easy sheet pan salmon and delicata squash takes just half an hour and one pan to make. It’s also paleo, dairy free, and Whole30 compliant!
Happy 2017! I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start. If you’re doing a January Whole30 or just trying to clean up your eating a bit this month, I have just the recipe for you. Sheet pan salmon and delicata squash is a super flavorful dinner that only requires four ingredients, half an hour, and one pan. I used homemade Creole seasoning on the squash and the fish, but store bought Creole seasoning or your favorite spice blend would also work.
This recipe is part of my 30 Minute Mondays series, which has been on hold for a while now. However, this month I’m back to sharing quick and easy recipes for you each Monday, and am going to keep them all Whole30-compliant for January.
Since we’re roasting and then broiling for this recipe, I recommend using a high-heat cooking oil like duck fat, ghee, or avocado oil. I buy Epic duck fat and La Tourangelle avocado oil from Thrive Market and make my own ghee. Both duck fat and ghee impart extra rich flavor to the dish, while avocado oil is more neutral. The higher smoke points of all three of those fats make them ideal for roasting and searing, whereas other fats like olive oil are best used raw or in low-heat cooking.
Pressure cooker ropa vieja is a time-saving Instant Pot version of the traditional Cuban beef dish, and is naturally gluten and dairy free. There’s also a slow cooker version! This post is sponsored by Pomí.
Have you tried ropa vieja? Don’t worry about the fact that the name is Spanish for “old clothes”–this is supremely delicious comfort food, with nothing old or ragged about it. To make this pressure cooker ropa vieja, beef is quickly seared, then cooked until tender in an addictive sauce made with Pomí tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, and other spices.
Next, capers, raisins, and pimiento peppers are added for pops of color, sweetness, and tart, briny flavor. The result is a dish so soothing and satisfying that Ben and I aren’t even close to being tired of it, despite having eaten three giant batches over the past two weeks.
No pressure cooker? Don’t fret (but I do highly recommend the Instant Pot*<–this and all others marked with * are affiliate links and I earn from qualifying purchases). This ropa vieja is just as delicious made in a slow cooker*. I was surprised to find the two versions indistinguishable in taste and texture, so it’s really just a question of how much time you have and which appliance you want to use.
I used Pomí Organic Strained Tomatoes* for this recipe. They’re similar to crushed tomatoes and provide all the great umami-packed flavor of fresh tomatoes grown in the Italian sunshine. (By the way, I also tested this recipe with Pomí’s chopped tomatoes and they worked great, too!) I love that they’re organic and non-GMO certified.
This paleo tamale pie combines a beef chili base made with peppers, tomatoes, and squash with a fluffy, grain-free “cornbread” topping.
Have you heard of tamale pie? It’s a casserole that’s loosely based on the ingredients for tamales, except they’re layered in a dish or skillet instead of wrapped in corn husks. Think a really delicious beef chili with a layer of cornbread baked right on top.
I didn’t grow up eating tamale pie, but apparently a lot of people did–a Bon Appétit article caught my eye recently with the headline: “Cornbread Tamale Pie Is the Greatest Recipe of All Time.” The author made a great case for why this dish is one of the best foods ever, and I was left with a distinct hankering to create a paleo tamale pie of my own.
For the filling, I packed in as much delicious produce as humanly possible: diced scallions, garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers, butternut squash, and cilantro. No, butternut squash is not a traditional ingredient in tamale pie, but I had half of one in the fridge just begging to be thrown in. I ended up loving the subtle sweetness the squash added. Conventional tamale pies often have corn kernels in the filling, so the butternut makes up for that by lending sweet pops of flavor without the addition of grains.
When you make this, you may find yourself tempted, like I was, to just eat the chili base on its own and to forget about the faux cornbread topping. I actually spooned myself out a little bowl of filling to eat while the tamale pie baked, and I suggest you do the same: I don’t want you to miss out on the fluffy topping, but the chili is great in its own right, so why not sneak in a little mid-cookup snack?
These tender slow-cooker balsamic short ribs are so comforting, with great flavor from the balsamic vinegar and rosemary. Serve them over parsnip puree with a simple vegetable side, like seared radicchio or quickly sautéed kale.
Who’s ready for part four of my ongoing love letter to short ribs? If you missed them, check out parts one, two, and three (plus the honey chipotle short ribs in Paleo Planet!). I love short ribs because they’re meltingly tender, full of meaty flavor, and really hard to mess up. They’re super easy to make in the slow cooker, and they go well with a wide variety of flavor profiles.
In this simple recipe, short ribs are cooked low and slow with plenty of balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary for the perfect fall comfort food with an Italian bent.
To round out the meal, I like to serve these slow-cooker balsamic short ribs with an extra creamy (but cream-free!) parsnip puree. Parsnips are such a fun cold weather vegetable and they taste great as a puree–the flavor is beguiling and almost has hints of coconut to it.
This parsnip puree is pretty much heaven with some cooking juices from the short ribs spooned on top. If you’re looking for more on parsnips and reasons to love them, check out my parsnip and pumpkin soup post.