Here’s a roundup of the top 15 paleo recipes published on A Calculated Whisk in 2015 that are also Whole30-compliant.
Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is full of happiness, love, and plenty of food that’s fun, gorgeous, and good for you.
Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I don’t always, but this year I have a big, simple one: to take better care of myself. There are so many things I want and love to do, but I can’t do any of them well if I’m not happy, well rested, and well fed.
This past year was a hectic one for me. At the tail end of 2014, just over a year ago, Ben and I got engaged. In the first few months of 2015, I finished up the last few photographs and edits for my cookbook, which came out in November. At the end of August I completed my master’s program in speech and language pathology. One week later we got in the car (well, I got in the car and Ben and Smitty got in a U-haul truck) and drove from Boston to Chattanooga, and one week after getting here I started my new job. I’m doing speech and language therapy with kids four (extra long!) days per week, and for the other three days I’m doing as much recipe development, food photography, and writing as I can. I love both of my jobs, but they sure don’t leave me with a lot of down time. (In case you’re wondering how much wedding planning I’ve managed to squeeze in so far, the answer is none at all!)
I have a counterproductive tendency to be harder than usual on myself when there’s a lot that I need to get done. Of course, it would make much more sense to up my self-care game when the going gets tough, so that’s what I’m aiming to do in 2016. I’m starting with doing a Whole30 (read all about it here if you’re not familiar), trying to spend time exercising outside three days a week, and continuing to work on eating more vegetables (like these ones from my Big Sycamore Farm winter CSA).
If you feel like sharing, I’d love to hear about your resolutions in the comments! And if you’re doing a January Whole30, too, I’d love to connect so we can give each other moral support.
To celebrate the end of 2015 and get pumped about cooking even more healthy food at home, I dug into Google Analytics to see which of my paleo recipes from last year were the most popular. Since I’m on Day 1 of a Whole30, though, I turned a blind eye to all of the desserts and any other recipes with added sweeteners or off-plan ingredients. (Of course, you can still find all the desserts I’ve ever posted over in the recipe index–I just didn’t feel right sharing photos of treats on the first day of a squeaky-clean challenge!) This year’s roundup includes only recipes that comply with the Whole30 rules, but make sure to read the recipes carefully for notes about details like sugar-free bacon. Also, some recipes list two ingredient options, one that’s not Whole30-approved and one that is (for example, heavy cream or coconut milk).
Without further ado, here are the recipes. Happy cooking!
Okay, you caught me: this recipe was actually published in 2014, but it came out in December so it didn’t have a chance to make it into last year’s roundup. Plus, it’s my most popular paleo recipe of all time! It’s perfect for winter nights and is the cheapest replacement I’ve found for a Caribbean vacation.
This is my paleo answer to shrimp and grits. It’s kind of a stretch to say that creamy rutabaga is adequately similar to grits to stand in for them, but since it’s more delicious I don’t think anyone will mind. This is another one that’s great for staying warm and happy when it’s cold outside!
If I had to pick my all-time favorite savory recipe from the past year, it would be this one. The ingredients are simple and come together quickly, but there’s so much unique flavor in the finished dish. If you’re doing a Whole30 you can’t have this with rice or flatbread, but it’s also great with cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, or roasted vegetables.
Just looking at this plate of swoodles and paleo Bolognese makes me happy. The sweet potato noodles are the ideal foil for the rich and savory meat sauce, which will make your house smell wonderful as it gradually simmers on the stove or in the slow cooker.
This breakfast has all the good things I could think of to add EXCEPT dairy, but you won’t miss it. My very favorite part of this recipe, though, is that I can cook once and have breakfast for days. I like to start my morning with a big square of this paleo casserole, a cup of coffee, and a piece of fruit or a little bowl of berries.
This recipe taught me to love both salmon and capers. (I cannot believe I was skeptical of so many delicious foods for so long!) You can make this in half an hour and it’s super nutritious. If you can’t find baby artichokes, asparagus spears or halved Brussels sprouts are good substitutes.
I apologize for the flatbread in this picture because it’s definitely not Whole30 compliant, but if you try these short ribs I guarantee you’ll forgive me. I crave this more than any other recipe from this past year–to me, there is nothing as irresistible as a bowl of tender, gently spiced, crunchy-around-the-edges meat. During your Whole30, try it with creamy rutabaga (from the spicy shrimp & kale recipe above), blistered okra (below), and/or in a lettuce or cabbage cup with some guacamole on top.
Forget candy–this is how to eat the rainbow. The dressing is both creamy and dairy free thanks to the amazing walnut, and pink thanks to raspberries, one of the oldest and best forms of food coloring.
I can’t say enough good things about crispy chicken thighs or figs, so the two of them together? It’s almost too much. I basically have a countdown going for fresh fig season.
If you love easy in the morning, this is for you. If you have some paleo pesto on hand, you can put this together in less than ten minutes and be eating it ten minutes after that. Of course, if you make it a day or two ahead of time you can just heat it in the microwave and have to wait even less time for your breakfast.
This dish is the quick summer version of pork chops with apples, and in my humble opinion, it’s much more satisfying. Pin it now and make it when the weather warms up!
For this recipe, you roast shrimp and asparagus on the same sheet pan. While they’re in the oven, you whir some garlic scapes (or scallions + garlic) with primal mayo in the food processor to create a quick and delectable dipping sauce. The whole thing is done in less than 30 minutes!
Potato wedges only get better when they’re wrapped in bacon! This recipe is the simplest thing ever, but it’s also one of the best. When I make this on Sundays, I actually enjoy watching football (I am only in it for the snacks).
I’m so happy you all seem to love okra almost as much as I do! I started off just enjoying it fried, but now this spiced blistered okra is my favorite. I’ve served it to several initially suspicious children who really liked it, too!
There is nothing more comforting than a roasted chicken over a bed of root vegetables! The vibrant pesto adds plenty of color and flavor, and don’t worry if you don’t have carrot tops–there are notes in the recipe about how to substitute with your favorite herb.
If you’re looking for more of my best recipes, check out my roundups from the last two years (note that some, but not all, of the recipes in those posts are Whole30 compliant): Top 14 Paleo Recipes of 2014 | Top 13 Paleo Recipes of 2013.
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