I had no problem leaving beind old standards after discovering these incredible, delicious, versatile foods. You need these in your life today, right now, in your kitchen. Trust me.
The Ones I Didn’t Know About (I know you’re judging me and you really should)
1. Spaghetti Squash. I had heard about this but didn’t bother to find anything more out because, duh, I ate real spaghetti. Plus I didn’t know how easy this is to prepare. Literally slice open, roast, and fork out the spaghetti. Genius. You can use it in a boatload of recipes and it doesn’t disappoint.
2. Butternut Squash. Okay I know I’ve just lost any credibility I had. How could she not have known about this one? I know it’s just stupid. But with all the other things to think about I just had never considered the huge cream colored thing sitting next to the pumpkins. Glad I finally looked into that one, turns out it’s flipping amazing. Roast whole or in chunks to bring out the natural candy-caramel sweetness of this orange veggie, or you can even slice thin to make paleo lasagna noodles! Endless possilities. Isn’t it fun finding new foods?
3. Plantains. You already know how much I love these bad boys, but I have to mention them again. They aren’t the most attractive site in the produce section, but don’t be fooled, plantains are the bomb. The green ones have a potato like taste when cooked, the med-ripe ones can be fried into delicious caramelized heaven and the really ripe ones are super sweet and can be fried or pureed. I’m still experimenting so stay updated for more recipes with these!
4. Coconut Butter. You can eat this right out of the jar if you want (and you will want to) and that makes it pretty awesome right there. But you can also use it a million other ways too. Like melted over fruit, in Paleo baked goods, and melted as a spread or a dip for whatever tickles your fancy. Since it’s made with the whole coconut it has a thick, sweet flavor and creamy texture that you need to try.
5. Jicama. Funny story about this one. The first time I ever bought one, I was checking out, and the cashier being just as ignorant as me asked me what it was so she could get the code. Never having heard this spoken out loud and maybe just not being all that smart I had no clue how to pronouce it, so I just said “I don’t know” She looked at me for the crazy person I was like, “why are you buying a mystery piece of produce and why are you so dumb?” Anyway I was so horrified by that experience I looked up the pronunciation right away when I got home. It’s hee-cuh-muh. Even knowing that they still don’t understand me when I tell them at the checkout so maybe I still have it wrong. Anyway, I am currently loving these chopped up raw in my salads but you can also cook them a bunch of ways (including into fries!) and they can go sweet or savory. When they are raw they are kind of like a crispy not so sweet pear, but don’t take my word for it try ’em!
6. Ghee. Ghee is clarified butter meaning it is butter with the water and milk protein removed by boiling it off. What is left is butterfat and what could be better than that? Besides coconut oil this is my go to fat lately for cooking. I have gotten mine at Whole Foods or local health food store but you can also buy here. I’m sure you can also learn to make it yourself on youtube but I am still too lazy for that, so let me know if you have any success! Must try this.
7. Kale. Again I’m stupid but I really didn’t know about kale. I had heard of it, but never knew it was worth my attention in the least. So now that I eat it everday scrambled into my eggs not just because it’s healthy but because it’s just so so good, I want to tell the world all about its glory. You can sautee it, bake it into chips, put it in “pasta” dishes, frittatas, omlettes, egg scrambles and it goes with everything. Kale is not scary, kale is good.
8. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The only boneless skinless chicken parts in my world pre-paleo were the breasts, I didn’t know about the thighs and even if I had I would have brushed them off as being “fattening”. They are juicier, more flavorful, and even easier to marinate and cook up, and always save well as leftovers for my breakfast the next day!
The Ones I Love More Now (like falling in love with a friend)
1. Eggs. They are such a huge staple now that it almost freaks me out. Hard boiled, scrambled, omelettes, frittatas, homemade mayo, muffins, pancakes, egg salad, the list is kind of endless. They are delicious and nutritious and they’re mine all mine.
2. Avocados. Sure I used to love shoving guac and chips in my face so it wasn’t like avocado didn’t garner my respect, but it’s different now. We took our relationship a few notches up and I see avocado as more than just a condiment now. You can eat an avocado alone or with anything, anytime and it is always yummy, always satisfying and always healthy.
3. Sausage. I used to think sausage was kind of unfeminine to eat. In fact my husband always said he never knew any woman to like sausage except for me. Well, since then I love it even more now and not sure what he thinks about that. But seriously, how could you NOT love sausage? Chicken sausage, pork sausage, beef sausage, chorizo sausage, garlic sausage, spicy, sweet?! The list goes on, and it’s all awesome in my book. You must experiment!
4. Salmon (with crispy skin!) Once I started eating salmon with the skin my love for it just got way out of control. Homemade mayo may have had something to do with it too. Yum. I currently like to put salmon in a big salad for lunch but breakfast lunch or dinner with all the ways to prepare you can’t go wrong.
5. Beets! I love beets! Have always liked them in salads when going out to eat when they throw them in with some kind of soft cheese. But I don’t eat cheese anymore and rarely go out to eat anyway. So, what changed everything for me was throwing them in the slow cooker to roast. I wrap each one up in aluminum foil with the skin on, toss them in the slow cooker and cook them on high for 3-4 hours depending on size. As many as will fit in there! Once they cool down the peel slips off easily with a knife and I store them in the fridge and use them in everything. I love the golden ones even more since they don’t stain everything purple-red.
6. Ribeye Steak. If I ever made steak pre-paleo it was never a fatty ribeye, I was pretty fat phobic so never considered it. But hello and welcome to the world of grassfed steak! Grassfed meat is naturally leaner than grain-fed so a ribeye winds up being the perfect cut for me. I love serving with sweet potato fries and roasted brussell sprouts. Recipe next week?
7. Olive oil. Anything that helps me create my homemade mayo I am forever indebted to. (I know you want me to shut up about the mayo already, but I won’t). I use extra virgin for dipping veggies, salad dressings, and to coat veggies for oven roasting. You already knew it was fabulous with garlic. I use the light flavored variety for the mayo.
8. SWEET POTATOES! These are saved for last for a reason. It’s because I probably could not eat Paleo without them, especially as a runner. And who knew so many varieties? I use the white ones to make “fries” for visual appeal mainly but they are all equally worthy of love. Roasted, baked, sauteed, with meat, with eggs, with other veggies (butternut squash!) these are the gold standard for carbing up Paleo style. I will literally be taking like 3 baked ones (cold of course) to Boston with me this weekend. You can eat these with all of the other listed foods so don’t be scared and get creative! Plenty of recipes to come with these!
What do you think of my list and do you have other favorites to add? Are there any foods (paleo or not) that you recently fell in love with and can’t live without now?