I eat with my eyes first, so parfaits – with their repeating layers of tasty goodness – are always appealing. This one’s made with fruit and coconut and some chopped nuts for crunch (and contains no extra added sugar), so it’s perfectly nutritious.
[As an aside, I get lots of questions about whether fruit is Paleo or how much fruit is okay to eat. Know your context...if you are active and have good body composition and blood sugar regulation, there's nothing wrong with a couple servings of fruit each day. If you're battling a sugar addiction or trying to improve body comp, for example, you may want to be more wary of your fruit intake...especially dried fruit.]
I used rhubarb to counterbalance the sweetness of the apples, but if it’s out of season or not available in your area, you could leave it out. Another option is to add in some blackberries (like in my Blackberry Cinnamon Applesauce) to add some tartness…plus, the color would be stunning!
Ingredients for 2-3 parfaits:
- 4 apples, peeled, cored and diced (optional…leave the skin on)
- 1 large stalk of rhubarb, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut milk or heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons chopped nuts, optional
- In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the apples and rhubarb with 1/4 cup of water. Stir frequently and cook until the apples and rhubarb are very soft and have made a thick sauce, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by cutting off the green tops and quartering them. Also, mix the vanilla extract with the coconut milk.
- Time to make the parfait…there’s no real science here. You could make several small ones or a couple big ones, depending on your preference. I layered a tablespoon of the coconut milk at the bottom, follow by some fresh strawberries, then some of the apple-rhubarb sauce. I repeated these layers one more time, then topped it with some strawberries and a tablespoon of chopped Brazil nuts.
Get creative and let me know in the comments any variations you might use!
When I was a kid, I tried to emulate Bugs Bunny.
I remember pulling carrots out of dirt from my grandparents’ backyard garden. They’d barely get a wash under the outdoor spigot before I was crunching away on the subterranean gems, root hairs tickling my face, the frilly tops thrown into the compost heap. Reminiscing on that garden has inspired me to eat more seasonally in the last few years.
Eating with the seasons used to be a lot easier: produce wasn’t trucked in from thousands of miles away or floated on boats across oceans; folks tended to shop locally; and small farms or even backyard gardens yielded different produce depending on the time of year.
Now that fall is here, there’s a new bounty of tasty things to try: hard squashes galore, apples of every red hue, and cauliflower – perfect for ricing – are just a few of my favorites (scroll down for some autumn-inspired recipes).
Click for my free Fall Seasonal Produce Guide (PDF):
The Paleo / Primal / ancestral movement is definitely shedding more light on returning to this way of eating. If you can’t grow your own or there isn’t a farmer’s market near you, consider including some seasonal fruits and veggies into your weekly mix. Why? They’re likely to be fresher, and if you buy local, haven’t traveled very far. It’s also a great way to force variety into your diet so you’re not eating broccoli every night for the rest of your life and only snacking on sliced apples. This’ll help stave off boredom and get some diversity into the micronutrients you’re consuming.
I’m not saying you can only eat produce when it’s in season, but challenge yourself to try a new fall veggie or fruit. You may find something unexpectedly delicious! [Note: exact availability is often highly dependent on country and even region.]
Here are some of my fall-star recipes:
- Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake
- Blackberry Cinnamon Applesauce
- Cabbage with Apple and Onion
- Celery Root Mash
- Cumin Coconut Chard
- Paleo Caramelized Onion Cauliflower “Cous Cous”
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Stuffed Delicata Squash
Sometimes inspiration can come from anywhere if you’re open to it, and this one is no exception. I stopped by the local Whole Foods yesterday after
stalking looking up the calendar of my favorite food truck, Not So Fast Food. The owners, Bob and June, 1) cook some damn tasty food; 2) completely get the Paleo / Primal way of life; and 3) are the nicest freaking people on the planet. After chatting with Bob, he gave me a taste of a new dish he’s working on and while I can tell you this isn’t exactly same, this recipe is inspired by what he gave me. Consider it a little treat of those of you who may never get to San Diego to visit.
I *did* add a dash of pure maple syrup as a finishing touch, but please feel free to omit if you’re on a Whole30, 21 Day Sugar Detox or similar. One way to speed this dish’s prep time is to shred a few sweet potatoes and store them in the fridge. I used a shredding blade on my food processor but you could use a box grater or even dice them very finely by hand. I prefer to cook my bacon separately; instead, you could render the chopped bacon and then use that fat to fry the potatoes. Ghee makes it taste better to me so that’s what I use instead.
Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 2 cups
- 2 cups of shredded sweet potato or yams
- 1/2 of an apple, chopped
- 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, optional
- Sea salt to taste
- Ghee, bacon fat or fat of choice
- In a skillet over medium heat, render / cook the bacon until it’s crispy. You can save the fat to cook the rest of the ingredients or pour off the fat and start over with a spoonful of ghee, coconut oil, etc.
- Add the sweet potato to the pan, cooking on medium heat until they begin to get golden brown.
- Add the apples and stir until they soften, about 3-4 minutes.
- Season with the maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt, to taste.
Bonus: For a one-skillet meal, remove the hash to a plate, then quickly wilt some spinach. Remove the spinach to the same plate, then fry or scramble eggs in the same pan.
When I was in high school anatomy & physiology class, we learned about the classic taste-smell experiment where someone with his or her nose blocked cannot tell the difference between eating an apple and an onion [Your olfactory / smell and gustatory / taste senses are intimately linked, as it turns out, hence the reason that a good head cold usually means you can't taste much. Science is so cool!]. Anyhow, when I was cooking up this easy side dish, I couldn’t help but think of the apple-onion experiment and how tasty the two would be together. This one comes together in less than 10 minutes and is a good way to use up cabbage that’s sort of wilted or apples that have gotten a bit soft. It was the perfect accompaniment to some delicious pan-fried pork chops.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: 2 side-dish servings
- 1/2 a small head of cabbage
- 1 onion
- 1 apple
- 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Spoonful of your fat of choice
- Slice the onion and apple into similar thickness pieces. Slice the cabbage into narrow ribbons.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a spoonful of your fat of choice.
- Sauté the onion and apple – sprinkled with salt – until the onions are translucent and the apple softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and sauté about 3 minutes more.
- Drizzle the veggies with balsamic vinegar and cook for another few minutes until the vinegar has reduced a bit and everything is cooked through.
- Season with caraway seeds, salt and pepper to taste.
Seems like juicing is the new make-your-own-kraut craze in the Paleosphere, huh? While I don’t think juice should replace how you consume all your fruits and vegetables [juices contain no fiber and the act of chewing sends powerful signals to your brain that eating is in progress...logical, right?], as a occasional way to add in variety, I’ve been making this tasty blend. Feel free to experiment with other fruits and veggies – carrots come to mind because they add sweetness. You’ve got to remember that this juice will in no way be “sweet” in the way that you may be used to, however, so don’t run for the honey or maple syrup. Think of it as more of a tonic than a treat.
- Refrigerate the juice prior to drinking for best flavor.
- If you make your juice in advance, it’s best to consume asap and to store it in a tightly covered container (mason jars work great for this).
- You can eat the pulp if you’re feeling adventurous.
- If you don’t have a juicer, a high-powered blender like a Vitamix will do the same job.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 0 min Makes: 1 serving
- 1 apple
- 1/2 lemon
- 2-3 kale leaves
- 1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 small English cucumber
- 1 handful of parsley
- Roughly chop the fruits and veggies so they’ll fit in the blender or juicer.
- If using a juicer, run it all through and you’re done.
- If using a Vitamix or similar: add the ingredients into the pitcher, cover with about 1/2 cup water (or more depending on how dilute you want the juice to be), and use the tamping tool to push everything down into the blades. Start on low / variable speed then gradually increase, and let it run on high for about 1 minute.
- Pour the juice / pulp through a wire strainer or cheesecloth, catching the pulp and allowing the juice to percolate out.
The first time I ever had pork belly was at the Ad Lib, a restaurant in Glasgow back in September. To say that I was dumbfounded by how good it tasted would be an understatement. It seems to be relatively tricky to find in the States – at least in non-specialty stores in my area, and I’d been unable to shake it from the back of my mind since I came home. As good fortune would have it on a recent trip to Marks & Spencer (a somewhat posh department / food store here), two lovely pork bellies sat on the 1/2 price meat shelf just waiting for me to scoop them up. After some quick research on how to best prepare them, I set out on my pork belly adventure. I made homemade applesauce while the pork was cooking. Store-bought applesauce will probably be too watery for this application unless you try to reduce it a bit on the stove. The homemade sauce is quite simple to prepare and just takes a bit of time. This is a great recipe for making on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
For the pork belly…
- 1.5 lb (0.7 kg) pork belly
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
For the applesauce…
- 4 apples (I used Pink Lady but any will do)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tbsp butter
- Score the fat on the top of the pork belly lengthwise. Sprinkle liberally with salt, rub into the score marks and place back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 275F (140C). Line a baking baking dish or tray with foil.
- Smash the garlic cloves with the back of a knife. Place the pork belly onto the baking dish with the fat facing down. Spread the smashed garlic cloves onto the meat. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and the dried sage. Turn the pork belly over so the fat is facing up. Add about 1/2″ of water to the pan.
- Bake for 2.5 hours at this temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the applesauce by peeling and dicing the apples. Put the apples and cinnamon in a medium sized pot. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover with a lid (but crack it so that steam can escape) and cook on low for about 45 minutes or until the apples are very soft – exactly how long depends on the type of apples used. At the end, add the lemon juice and butter and mash the apples to the desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunky.
- After the pork has been in the oven for 2.5 hours, remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 425F (220C). Mix about 1/3 cup of the applesauce with 1 tbsp honey and spread over the top of the pork. Return to the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is crispy and brown.
- I served mine with extra applesauce and kale chips. So good!
I’m not sure if you’ve read the back of a package of sausages lately but man, there can be some really weird ingredients in them (including gluten and all sorts of preservatives). The best solution is to make your own sausage patties: I mean really…who wants to stuff sausage casings? This recipe brings you all the flavor with a fraction of the work. I usually make savory Italian sausage patties by using something like Penzeys seasoning or Melissa Joulwan’s mix from “Well Fed”, but I had a hankering for something more breakfasty with a touch of sweetness. These would also be tasty if made with ground chicken or turkey.
- 1 pound (500 g) lean ground pork
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 apple, peeled and minced (I used a Pink Lady apple)
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp ground fennel (or fennel seed…it was all I had)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Coconut oil or fat of choice
1. Chop the onion and apple into a small dice. You want the pieces to be small enough that they’ll soften down and blend well into the patty.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a spoonful of your fat of choice. Sautee the onions until translucent, a few minutes. Add the apple and sautee both until softened, about 5-6 minutes total. Let cool for a few minutes.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine pork, sage, fennel, salt and pepper. When the onion / apple mixture is cool, add and mix well. I use my hands. Man up.
4. Form the sausage mixture into patties. I made mine about 2″ (5 cm) in diameter but you can make them as big or small as you’d like…it’s your show after all!
5. Heat the same skillet to medium-high. Add another spoonful of fat and fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through completely.
6. Eat them up!
As autumn is upon us, the selection and quality of hard squashes available in the store or the farmer’s market is rapidly increasing. No time like the present to pick one up and start rotating in some seasonal veggies (seriously, it may be time to start backing away from tomatoes, zucchini and other summer veggies for a bit)! This recipe is similar in concept to the Stuffed Delicata Squash that I blogged last year, yet the flavor profile is quite different. If you are going to use ground beef, try to opt for grass-fed and organic whenever possible. Trader Joe’s now carries a 1 pound package for about $6.50 which is pretty reasonable considering I’ve seen the Whole Foods here in SoCal sell it for $9.99 / lb. This recipe is very easy to double to give you leftovers for the week…work smarter, not harder!
Ingredients for Stuffed Acorn Squash:
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 pound (500 g) ground beef
- 1 onion
- 1 apple, any variety
- 6 slices of bacon
- *1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*Note: when it comes to herbs and spices, I absolutely hate measuring them and usually just eyeball it. This is cooking, not baking, so quantities don’t have to be precise for the recipe to work out just fine. Adjust quantities to your taste or what’s available but just remember, it’s always possible to add more but very hard to take away!
Directions for Stuffed Acorn Squash:
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (185ºC). Line a baking sheet or dish with foil or parchment paper.
- Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Place on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to the touch. **While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. Hint: You can always do this step ahead of time.
- Dice the apple and onion into medium-sized pieces. Slice the bacon into pieces.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon / onion / apple mixture to a large bowl.
- In the same skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. (Note: If the beef has yielded a lot of fat and is not grass-fed, you may want to drain it before adding the spices and herbs). Add all spices and herbs: rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, sage, pepper, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour the ground beef into the same large bowl. Stir to combine.
- When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the beef.
- Use a spoon to fill the squash boats with the beef mixture.
- Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes at 375ºF (185ºC) until everything is heated through.
Tired of plain, baked yams as your go-to PWO carb supplement? This is a nice change of pace with a bit of a Thanksgiving twist. So easy.
I don’t use dried, sweetened cranberries, especially Ocean Spray or the like. They are usually loaded with sugar and tossed in canola oil (yuck). The apple and sweet potato will more than offset the tartness of the berries. I usually stock up with several bags of fresh cranberry this time of year and freeze them for convenient addition to any dish throughout the year.
- 6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 apples, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries*
- 2 Tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- A pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F (~190°C). Grease the inside of a large baking dish with coconut oil or ghee.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and apples. Chop into uniform pieces, ~1/2″ dice.
- Place half the chopped sweet potato/apple into the dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cranberries, half the cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt.
- Repeat with remaining sweet potato, apple, cranberry, cinnamon and salt.
- Dot the top with small pieces of ghee or coconut oil.
- Bake covered for ~1 hour or until the potato and apple have softened.
What do you think about the combination of apple and sweet potato?
One of my favorite things to do while driving is listen to Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Podcast. While trying to catch myself up on back episodes, somewhere in the realm of episode 45-ish, I heard co-host Andy Deas describe a dessert that really caught my attention because it sounded, well, amazing. And easy. And Paleo. So, while I can’t take credit for this creation, here is my take on Andy Deas’s pudding. Bon appetite!
- 1-14 oz (400 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 apples, peeled and chopped
- 1 vanilla bean*
- 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add chopped apples, coconut oil, and cinnamon.
- Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the tiny black seeds of yumminess out. Add to the saucepan.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft.
- Puree in the blender until smooth.
- Refrigerate until chilled and the pudding is set.
*When I was in Bali, I bought a grip of vanilla beans at the Ubud public market. I treasure them because I bought about 500 grams of vanilla bean pods for roughly $10 American. This is ridiculously inexpensive. If you don’t have any vanilla beans, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (but it won’t be as tasty, in my opinion)