A big part of all major holidays includes gorging on traditionally calorie-laden foods, and adhering to a diet that isn't quite as forgiving when it comes to these decadent dishes can be difficult. Most of us don't want to offend a host or seem ungrateful to other guests, so we often keep quiet about our dietary needs. If you're following the paleo diet, then one quick scan of common holiday dishes will leave you with a few scoops of green beans, and hopefully, a slice of organic wild turkey to eat in polite silence, at best.
Whether you're looking for a paleo-appropriate dish this holiday season, or are just interested in whipping up something new in the kitchen, ask your host if you can prepare one of these 13 paleo-approved recipes to add to the buffet line. From sides to mains, we also included breakfast items like a gingerbread smoothie and pumpkin bread.
Here are our favorite paleo holiday recipes everyone can enjoy.
Pumpkin Pie Keto Bombs
The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Keto Bombs
Why We Love It: Thanks to this Root + Revel recipe, you can snack on these irresistible pumpkin pie keto bombs early in the day—especially if you're thinking of exercising before dinner, as the recipe calls for energy-boosting, plant-based protein powder. They're made with canned pumpkin, coconut butter, and maple syrup for a taste that's sweet and satisfying.
Pro Tip: "I also added a scoop of grass-fed gelatin to the mix, which not only helps these fat bombs firm up, but also is full of collagen, which improves your skin's appearance, reduces joint pain, helps break down proteins, and soothes your stomach lining," Root + Revel's Kate Kordsmeier says.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Stuffing
Why We Love It: Stuffing may be the hardest thing to resist at the dinner table, but luckily, you don't have to, thanks to Food Faith Fitness' low-carb version. Diced onion, chopped celery, minced garlic, and cauliflower mix with ground sage, chicken broth, and sea salt for a spoonful that won't disappoint.
Pro Tip: "Season with salt if needed, garnish with additional parsley, and devour," Food Faith Fitness founder Taylor Kiser advises.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Soup
Why We Love It: As an appetizer, this cauliflower soup recipe from Root + Revel meets all paleo diet requirements. It’s made with cauliflower florets, red pepper flakes, white miso paste, diced onion, and minced garlic for a layered flavor and textured finish that won’t fill you up too much before dinner.
Pro Tip: “If you like a chunkier chowder, you can leave a few larger pieces, but if you prefer something extra smooth, make sure you blend it thoroughly,” Kordsmeier instructs.
Sweet Potato Casserole
The Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
Why We Love It: You can’t get through a holiday feast without a casserole, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness will make sure of it. This sweet potato casserole features that eponymous ingredient alongside apples, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and coconut flour. Top with pecans, ghee, and dates for a tasty bite. We love it because we can enjoy it as a snack, appetizer, side, or even breakfast the next day.
Pro Tip: “Peel the sweet potatoes and apples, and remove the cores from the apples,” Kiser notes. This recipe is also Whole30- and vegan-friendly.
Cauliflower Potato Salad
The Recipe: Cauliflower Potato Salad
Why We Love It: You've guessed it: We love cauliflower! Root + Revel's cauliflower potato salad recipe combines the namesake veggie, minced garlic, diced red onion, chopped parsley, organic potatoes, and paleo mayo in a large bowl—with lots of salt and pepper, of course. We'll never go back to traditional potato salad again.
Whichever type of potatoes you decide to use, make sure you leave the skins on for two reasons: first, because all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are in the skins, and second, because the skins are delicious.
Pro Tip: “I like using a combo of red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, but you can really use whatever potatoes you like,” Kordsmeier reassures.
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
The Recipe: Healthy Shepherd’s Pie
Why We Love It: While Shepherd’s pie may not be a traditional holiday dish, it does have the same comforting, rich flavors of one—especially when you consider this recipe from The Modern Proper. Diced carrots, celery, tomatoes, and onion combine with ground beef and cabbage in a mixture that’s then layered with puréed parsnips.
Pro Tip: “Spread the puréed parsnips over the meat mixture creating small ‘swoops’ as you go,” Co-founder of The Modern Proper, Holly Erickson, suggests.
The Recipe: Apple Crisp
Why We Love It: Nothing is more satisfying than an apple crisp on a cool autumn evening, and this recipe from Food Faith Fitness is just the thing to make if you want that feeling on any and all holidays. It’s made with four large apples, almond flour, ground cinnamon, and lemon juice, then topped with pecan crumbs, coconut sugar, salt, and melted ghee. We'll take two slices, please.
Pro Tip: “Spread the crumbs evenly over top of the pre-cooked apples, making sure to pack some together so you have some large chunks,” Kiser explains.
The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
Why We Love It: Those following the paleo diet don't have to skip out on another dessert staple since Hello Glow has a recipe that sticks within its bounds. Form a crust with arrowroot starch, coconut, sea salt, and a large egg, then make the filling with pumpkin purée and maple syrup. Don't forget the coconut whipped cream! Pumpkin pie will never taste the same after you try this iteration.
Pro Tip: "To further minimize issues with the filling, let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. I like to bake pumpkin pies first thing in the morning, allow time for cooling, and refrigerate until ready to serve," Hello Glow founder Stephanie Gerber says.
Pumpkin Bread With Coconut Flour
The Recipe: Pumpkin Bread With Coconut Flour
Why We Love It: Start your morning on the right track with this recipe from Food Faith Fitness, which makes a warm loaf of pumpkin bread using coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, maple syrup, and pecans for topping. Starting the day with something sweet used to make us feel a little guilty, but this pumpkin bread has totally changed that.
Pro Tip: “Bake until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean,” Kiser adds. “Let it cool completely in the pan.”
The Recipe: Gingerbread Smoothie
Why We Love It: What’s one way to start the day with a seasonal breakfast? By serving this gingerbread smoothie recipe from Root + Revel, which features a frozen banana, organic molasses, unsweetened almond milk, flaxseed, and gingerbread spice blend. After one sip, we can't believe how healthy this beverage is—especially because it tastes like a milkshake.
Pro Tip: “I rely on frozen bananas, which also make the smoothie naturally sweet and cold without watering it down with ice cubes,” Kordsmeier admits.
Roasted Turkey Breast With Rosemary and Garlic
The Recipe: Roasted Turkey Breast With Rosemary and Garlic
Why We Love It: For a traditional turkey recipe, follow Feasting at Home's roasted turkey breast recipe. Season your bird with olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary before popping into the oven for 30 minutes.
Pro Tip: Serve with low-carb cauliflower rice.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Balsamic Glaze
Why We Love It: The Charming Detroiter's classic side dish is as comforting as comfort foods gets. Sauté shredded Brussels sprouts with bacon, balsamic vinegar, and walnuts. We were hooked at "bacon."
Pro Tip: Drizzle with balsamic, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Roasted Turkey Breast With Blueberry Balsamic Glaze
Why We Love It: High-protein turkey topped with warm and tangy blueberries are a delicious combination. To make Feasting at Home's recipe, you'll need turkey breast (bone-in, skin-on), blueberries, onion, dried figs, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, whole grain mustard, and rosemary sprigs. If we had to bottle up the flavor of the holidays, we'd capture it from this dish.
Pro Tip: Garnish with leftover blueberries and rosemary.