Vegetables The Paleo Way
With summer just around the corner, beautiful crops of fruits and vegetables are popping up all around us. And as much as we’d all love to eat nothing but bacon every day, we must venture into the world of a well-balanced meal now and again. If you’re a paleo pro, take the opportunity to freshen up some old side dishes with these ideas. However, if you’re new to paleo living, meal plans can seem daunting. Before journeying to your local farmer’s market or grocer, use these tips and recipes to help you navigate.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
You probably hated these as a child, but you were also probably eating them wrong. I’ll give you a hint: if they were microwaved, you were eating them wrong. When cooked with care, these tiny sprouts are crispy, delicious, and haven’t the slightest bitter aftertaste.
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 Tbs liquid fat (olive oil, melted bacon fat)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss trimmed, halved sprouts in liquid fat. Add salt to taste.
3. Roast for 9-11 minutes, tossing halfway through until edges are golden and slightly crisped.
This one was a trick! For those just beginning your paleo journey, it’s important to know a tricky grain when you see one. Yes, you’ll find corn in the produce aisle, and yes, it will be housed with the rest of the canned vegetables, but strictly speaking, it is a grain. It grows like a grain, it’s harvested like a grain, it pops like a grain. As you prepare your paleo meals, leave this “veggie” out altogether. If you’re aiming for a starchier vegetable, opt for sweet potatoes or summer squash.
Lemon Garlic Broccoli:
While broccoli may not be inherently seasonal during the summer time, you can absolutely get it year round in most grocery stores. If not, flash frozen veggies usually contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals as their fresh veggie counterparts, so check your labels next time your favorite paleo vegetables are out of season. Grab some florets and try this recipe! It’s bursting with flavor, and you can even add some extra crunch or flavors to further customize this easy side dish.
1lb broccoli florets
2 small cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Toss broccoli florets in olive oil until evenly coated.
3. Salt to taste, and spread evenly over sheet pan in single layer.
4. Sprinkle minced garlic, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over vegetables.
5. Roast at 375 for 12-15min or until broccoli edges are crisped and deep brown and garlic is fragrant
Optional: Add toasted pine nuts or raisins for a boost of flavor and texture!
Delicious and nutritious, these little green guys pack a healthy punch. Consume in moderation, however, because they fall more into the “fats” rather than “vegetable” category. While they provide tons of nutrients and the healthy fats necessary to keep your body functioning at its best, treat yourself to 2-3 servings per week.
Mix things up, literally! Whether you’re growing paleo vegetables in your backyard, or picking them up at the grocery store, veggie skewers are quick to prepare, easy to cook, and even simpler to clean up. Plus, it keeps the heat out of the kitchen, which is always nice in the middle of the summer. All you need is an assortment of chopped, seasonal vegetables, 8-10 wooden skewers soaking in water, olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Toss all vegetables together with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, assemble on pre-soaked skewers and grill over medium-high heat until done.
Cauliflower Stir Fry:
For a one-pot summer dish, try combining your paleo vegetables into one easy meal like cauliflower stir fry. This delicious recipe can be served as a side dish to your favorite entree, topped with grilled chicken or shrimp, or simply served as is.
1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed
2 tsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cup frozen stir-fry vegetables (onions, snap peas, carrots, mushrooms)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp Coconut aminos
pinch of salt
1. Thoroughly dry cauliflower and coarsely chop. Fit food processor with steel blade and pulse cauliflower until it resembles the consistency of rice or couscous.
2. Heat Coconut oil and sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add riced cauliflower, and saute until almost cooked through (about 5-7 minutes).
3. Add frozen vegetables, garlic, and coconut aminos, and cook until vegetables are crisp and tender (about 5-6 more minutes). Add salt to taste.
4. Serve as is, or top with grilled protein if desired.
Sweet Potato Possibilities:
This incredibly versatile root vegetable can be found at the heart of many paleo recipes. Shred and press into the cups of a muffin pan for the foundation of an easy breakfast cup. Dice and roast with olive oil and rosemary for a fresh, summer side dish. Alternatively, roast with diced bacon, chili powder, and cumin, for a spicy accent to taco lettuce wraps. You can even slice and bake for homemade sweet potato fries, served alongside your summer burgers! Packed with nutrients, and perfectly balanced sweetness, this vegetable is a paleo staple.
Explore the various possibilities for vegetables this summer, and know you don’t have to settle for chopped romaine or steamed asparagus every night. Get creative, challenge yourself to try these various tips, and expand your paleo palate.
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