The foundation of the paleolithic or paleo diet is to eat what your ancestors ate to reduce the risks of diseases and illnesses. Many noticed that people got sick more often in the modern age than when paleolithic humans ate what they could only hunt and gather.
Thus, people began ditching processed foods, dairy, grains, and other food technology products. The lines between what paleo diet followers can and can’t eat are still blurry. However, these allow flexibility for those who are still starting. Thus, if you’re interested, you can start now with the help of these paleo side dishes!
Rice is a popular pairing to rich dishes and Asian foods. However, it’s one of the things the paleo diet restricts, especially among strict followers. But don’t fret because you can make an excellent rice alternative using cauliflower! Cauliflower rice has plain, simple flavors, making it the perfect canvas for your delectable paleo-friendly entrees. Moreover, it takes only 20 minutes to complete, quicker than some rice recipes!
Pasta is another restriction among paleo diet followers; thus, you get creative with the alternatives. Some use spaghetti squash, but you can opt for zucchini! It’s fresh and light and not soggy at all! Moreover, it pairs beautifully with delicious paleo-friendly dishes like shrimp scampi or meatballs. Just lay those proteins and sauces on top of the zucchini noodles, AKA zoodles, and let the strands absorb and disperse the flavors.
Although potatoes are still being debated as a “can-eat” in the paleo community, there’s hardly any question about sweet potatoes. Thus, side dish recipes that usually entail potatoes, like mashed, fries, or roasted, have paleo alternatives that use sweet potatoes. One such recipe is this baked sweet potato, which is as fluffy and decadent as the original, albeit more colorful. You can serve it with paleo-friendly toppings, too!
Classic veggie sides, like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli, make excellent paleo-friendly options when cooked with the right ingredients. For instance, most serve their roasted Brussels sprouts with a sprinkling of parmesan. However, as dairy is a restriction in the paleo diet, this recipe uses paleo parmesan cheese made from cashew, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and sea salt. It tastes and feels the same as dairy-based parmesan!
Most roasted veggie recipes are paleo-friendly, making them a classic option among the diet’s followers. But if you want a novel and creative twist, make these rainbow grilled veggie kebabs instead! Each skewer has slices of zucchini, squash, eggplant, bell pepper, onion, tomato, and portobello mushroom, all strewn together like a rainbow. Seeing the bright colors of the vegetables will have you eating even before you’ve taken a bite!
Simple, steamed broccoli is a quick, healthy, paleo-friendly side dish. But it can be plain or basic for some. Thus, if you want your green florets to have more flavor and depth, follow this recipe for garlic-roasted broccoli! It entails tossing these veggies in coconut oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic before roasting. You may add red pepper flakes, but remember the lemon juice before serving.
Although cabbage is usually reserved for coleslaw, set aside some for this chicken cabbage stir-fry recipe. Besides the main elements, this dish has carrots and broccoli. It’s savory and flavorful and packed with nutrients and protein. Although stir-fry recipes usually have soy sauce for umami, legumes are discouraged in paleo diets. Thus coconut aminos are used for flavor, along with ginger, salt, pepper, garlic, fish sauce, lime, and oils.
8. Kale Chips
Most chips are made from potatoes; hence, they aren’t popular among the paleo community. But there are excellent alternatives, like kale chips! You should still consider making them even if you’re not a paleo diet follower. They’re healthy, crisp, crunchy, and flavorful, especially when tossed and flavored with spices. Moreover, these chips are baked instead of fried, so they’re effortless to make, impressively light, and not oily!
Because dairy products, like cream, aren’t allowed in a paleo diet, it would seem like you have to bid farewell to creamy soups. However, this roasted butternut squash soup would differ. It’s rich and decadent, even with no cream or the optional butter. Such consistency is achieved by the process, so you must understand the recipe step-by-step to achieve that effect. Besides the texture, the flavors are spectacular, too!
Another paleo-friendly comfort soup is this tomato vegetable soup, which is tangy, chunky, and heartwarming. Besides the tomatoes, which are the essence of the soup broth, other veggies include potatoes, zucchini, green beans, and kale. You can add, deduct, or adjust their proportions. There are a ton of herbs and spices, too, like leeks, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Thus, this soup has a flavorful and complex taste profile.
Salads are among the most popular side dishes, so paleo diet followers must have their selection. It usually includes this cucumber tomato avocado salad, which is as fresh and tasty as it sounds. The textures are also contrasting: the creaminess of avocado meets the juiciness of tomatoes and the crispness of cucumbers. These three are combined with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, and parsley for flavor complexity.
Another refreshing option to add to your recipe deck is this dill cucumber salad. It has pickling cucumbers, onions, dill, salt, coconut sugar, pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Thus, it tastes like a classic cucumber salad: fresh, juicy, tangy, and sweet, but with paleo-friendly ingredients. Also, you can add other elements like olives and carrots. The finished product is highly recommended on a hot day!