Everywhere I turn lately, from my neighborhood health food store to my Amazon suggested reads, I hear about eating Paleo. So, I did a quick Google search to get a better idea of why this preference has collected so many converts. If you don’t know, here’s a quick elevator pitch: Paleo is short for Paleolithic, referencing the way their civilization would have eaten. This means a lot of meat, a lot of greens, a few fruits, and absolutely no grains, dairy, or processed foods. It comes from the belief that our bodies evolved on this basis of eating, and thus, we thrive when sustaining our bodies as such. I figured I would give this ever-popular food trend a try.
As with any dietary preference, when taking on a new food regimen, be it vegan, Paleo, or Keto, one can feel overwhelmed with ideas for what you can eat now that things have been removed from your daily lineup. In an effort not to slip up, I collected 15 of the best Paleo recipes on the internet, to make your (and my) transition seamless and, most importantly, enjoyable. Bon appétit.
The Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Paleo White Bolognese Sauce
The Hero Ingredient: A key characteristic of Paleo is being high in meat protein and low in grains, making this dish the poster child for a Paleo dinner feast. The spaghetti squash noodles allow you to enjoy a universal favorite (pasta) without the extra carbs.
Pro Tip: Phoebe Lapin of Feed Me Phoebe uses coconut milk as her cream replacement in this recipe making for an “earthy, rich, and satisfying bowl.”
Why We Love It: So much of my diet revolves around Italian fare—I can’t imagine giving it up entirely. This recipe is the perfect balance of healthy and hearty.
The Recipe: Gluten Free Pancakes
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe is made Paleo with its use of gluten-free baking flour. This is the perfect solution for a satisfying homestyle breakfast your family will chow down on while sticking to that Paleo plan.
Pro Tip: Healthy Grocery Girl, Megan Roosevelt, suggests using about “¼ cup of batter” per serving for the ideal pancake size. Cook them on low/medium heat and in a few minutes, you’ll have a stack ready to be devoured.
Why We Love It: Finding fun weekend breakfasts can be hard when you’re trying to eat better for your body. I love that these pancakes only take a few minutes yet will keep you full until lunchtime.
The Recipe: Instant Pot Smoked Paprika Garlic Chicken Legs
The Hero Ingredient: We love a recipe with a short ingredient list, and this one is as simple as it sounds. The garlic and smoked paprika truly make this the flavor blast of a dinner that it is. Toni Dash of Boulder Locavore attributes smoked paprika as one of her favorite spices, “a deep, earthy flavor and gorgeous burnt-red color.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Pro Tip: Dash assures us that this recipe can cook in 30 minutes or less making it a great pick for the weeknight dinner menu.<br/>Why We Love It: I love how minimal and healthy this meal is. Everything gets thrown into the instant pot, meaning less dishes to clean and more time to enjoy your dish.
The Recipe: Paleo Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Easy Turmeric-Ghee Hollandaise
The Hero Ingredient: This turmeric hollandaise is the true show-stopper in this brunch recipe. The mixture of rich ghee butter, savory pink Himalayan sea salt, and tangy lemon create a meal worth waking up for.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a conscious take on an often opulent brunch choice, the use of smoked salmon, avocado, and ghee hollandaise create “a trifecta of healthy fats,” according to Lapin.<br/>Why We Love It: This is my go-to every single time I brave the brunch lines, but eating it too often can leave you feeling guilty because, let’s be honest, the classic hollandaise recipe is pretty full of high-fat ingredients. I can’t wait to recreate this weekend.
The Recipe: Sweet Potato Hash
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe calls for a whole lot of savory, with a few touches of sweet, one of those being the pecans tossed in for an unexpected crunch. Met by a drizzle of maple syrup, you’ll find balance with those salty veggies.
Pro Tip: Each ingredient in this recipe was “strategically created” to lend this hash a variety of textures, says Eating Bird Food’s, Brittany Mullins. This allows you to really enjoy every layer of vegetable, meat, and herb for a full-bodied experience.<br/>Why We Love It: Mullins mentions her family’s been enjoying this recipe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I adore a quick-fix you can play on repeat. If you get tired of any of the ingredients, this one’s an easy option to play around with.
The Recipe: Paleo Ramen Burger
The Hero Ingredient: You may be wondering where the ramen part comes into this recipe, and trust me, it’s better than you imagined. Instead of a wheat bun, which is not Paleo friendly, this burger is sandwiched between a pan-fried nest of spiralized parsnip “ramen noodles." Crunchy, healthy, delicious.
Pro Tip: Lapin tells us to go in whichever direction we like when choosing the burger meat, but she opts for turkey to keep it leaner.
Why We Love It: I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw Paleo Ramen Burger. Blow your summer BBQ crew's mind with these sliders.
The Recipe: 4-Ingredient Seaside Paleo Breakfast Salad
The Hero Ingredient: This super-simple salad owes its success to fresh ingredients, such as chopped artichoke hearts, farm eggs, and arugula. All these earthy flavors make for an easy solution to your cravings.
Pro Tip: Brittany Mullins chooses this recipe for its benefits: “Sardines are super healthy.” They give this salad extra doses of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamins B & D. On days when you need extra energy, start with this.
Why We Love It: I personally prioritize anything with artichoke hearts, but I love the variety this easy breakfast gives in flavor and ingredients.
The Recipe: Paleo Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs
The Hero Ingredient: One of my absolute favorite combos is sweet potatoes and the smokey contrast of bacon bits. Followed by egg and creamy avocado, this hash is a crowd-pleaser.
Pro Tip: Krista Rollins of Joyful Healthy Eats says she chooses to make a big batch of this hash on Sunday evenings so that she’s set with her favorite meal for the week.
Why We Love It: This recipe was immediately added to my weekly menu for its quick turn around. Any substantial meal that can be made in 30-minutes or less is definitely a favorite of mine.
The Recipe: Creamy Carrot Soup with Ginger and Coconut Milk
The Hero Ingredient: The carrot and ginger in this recipe make it a bowl of pure comfort. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or just need a little hug of good homemade soup, this Paleo twist on a cream soup will do the trick.
Pro Tip: Abby Rodriguez of The Butter Half schools us about the benefits of carrots, saying there are “a large majority of nutrients within its peel.” She suggests cleaning but leaving the peel on when cooking for a more nutritious bonus.<br/>Why We Love It: I love the use of coconut milk as an alternative to heavy cream. It tends to lend a more Thai-reminiscent flavor to your soup.
The Recipe: Paleo Breakfast Nachos
The Hero Ingredient: You may have done a double-take because flour tortilla chips are not Paleo, however, this recipe calls for thinly sliced sweet potato chips instead. They’re incredibly easy to make and delicious when topped with the green onions, black beans, and eggs.
Pro Tip: Alison Wu of Wu Haus strongly suggests every kitchen has a mandolin: “I can’t say enough good things about it.” This is how she achieved the perfectly thin sweet potato slices with ease.<br/>Why We Love It: Nachos are always welcome at my table, and I love this clean-eating take on them. As with the traditional style of nacho, there really are no rules—feel free to top these with anything you’re craving.
The Recipe: Paleo Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Short Rib Tacos
The Hero Ingredient: Short rib can sound daunting but Spoon Fork Bacon simplifies it with this crock pot take on the Sunday night classic. The kicker, it contains dried apricots for flavor and jicama taco shells. Can’t wait to dig in.
Pro Tip: To get those masterly taco shells Rollins’ slices jicama with a Mandolin, “So it looks like a tortilla.” They taste fresh and offer a gluten-free solution.
Why We Love It: A health-conscious taco recipe will get a lot of use in my household during the summer months, this one is ideal for when guests stop by; once out of the crock pot, they can build their own.
The Recipe: Crock Pot Paleo Chili
The Hero Ingredient: This clean chili option is full of deep flavors from the beef to the seasonal cilantro and jalapeño—you can't go wrong with a meat dish like this.
Pro Tip: The Modern Porper’s chef Holly Erickson says many recipes call for sweet potato, but she found it too sweet. Feel free to add it back in, though, if that’s your preference.
Why We Love It: Chili tends to be on the healthier side on its own, but this is a great hearty meal for hungry tummies. Make extra so you can bank on those leftovers when your family comes looking for more.
The Recipe: Gluten Free Pasta with Vegan Cauliflower Cream Sauce
The Hero Ingredient: Cauliflower is such a versatile veggie, especially for those following a gluten-free or Paleo diet. In this recipe, it creates a deliciously creamy base for a flavorful sauce that can be drizzled over just about anything.
Pro Tip: Jenny of Spoon Fork Bacon won’t pretend this tastes exactly like Alfredo sauce, however, she says it’s “a wonderful healthy alternative.” Pour it over your gluten-free pasta of choice for dinner tonight.<br/>Why We Love It: When it comes to hidden calories, sauces are usually the prime suspect, so this is a great choice when you’re opting for cleaner, leaner dinner servings.
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
The Hero Ingredient: The organic ground chicken for this dish makes meatballs that can take on a plethora of uses. Top salads with them, add to gluten-free pasta, or eat by themselves.
Pro Tip: Root and Revel’s Kate Kordsmeier adds a secret step for pure meatball perfection. Sounds counterproductive, but Kordsmeier broils the meatballs first to get them slightly crispy. Then, she throws them into the crockpot.
Why We Love It: I love making meatballs and keeping them in the fridge during the week for an easy-access lunch. When you need a quick protein meal on the go, zap these in the microwave.
The Recipe: Easy Cauliflower Potato Salad
The Hero Ingredient: This summer picnic dish just got a healthy upgrade via the cauliflower. While you may be more familiar with potato salad made with mayo, this one calls for Paleo mayo so no taste is compromised.
Pro Tip: Your family will thank you for this side dish at every meal as it contains "a whopping 54%" of your daily vitamin C intake, according to Kordsmeier.
Why We Love It: Potato salad has long been my favorite dish at a summer picnic, but I’m always looking for a healthier alternative. I can’t wait to try this cauliflower iteration.