It is not that I don't love the taste of quinoa, the crunch of oats, the short burst of energy that spikes through my body after the consumption of sugar. It is not that I abscond the perfect balance of a well-crafted cocktail. But during the holidays, I have definitely indulged in too many lemon squares, cubes of cheese, Negronis and delicious homemade pierogies. I have become a slave to the siren call of sugar, grains and dairy. And so, with the new year, the time comes for a reset. In January, I will be taking on a 30-day paleo challenge. And to help me through it, I have scoured the web to find some of the best vegetarian paleo recipes out there - and trust me, it wasn't easy.
As I have mentioned before, January will be the month that will see grains, sugar, dairy and alcohol eliminated from my diet. It is the month that will usher in a healthy, green and pascetarian diet of vegetables, fruit and fish for yours truly. And hopefully, it will be the month that will help me reset the bad habits, expectations from food, and deep-seeded cravings that have taken hold of me lately.
But in order to do all that while avoiding the rut of scrambled eggs/ kale salad/ smoothies, I needed some great vegetarian paleo recipes to inspire me. And so, I turned to the Internet.
It was surprisingly hard to find recipes labeled 'paleo' that were actually, strictly paleo. A lot of recipes included some form of sugar, butter, or processed sauces and spice mixes, and in some cases even quinoa or rice noodles (which, even though gluten-free, are definitely NOT grain-free, nor paleo). Unsurprisingly, it was hard to find paleo recipes that were vegetarian (if you're into books, Paleo Vegan and The Paleo Vegetarian Diet are considered good resources).
I will admit that my criteria was pretty restrictive, and closer to Melissa Hartwig's Whole30 diet (however, I will accept beans and legumes - otherwise, I'd be starving!). To be included in my round-up, the dish had to:
- Be healthy in all senses - for my monthly challenge, I didn't want any paleo pancakes or treats. The goal here is to cleanse my body and reset my taste buds and food cravings, not fool it into eating somewhat healthier versions of forbidden treats.
- Be vegetarian or pescetarian - no meat here, please
- Be innovative - I can make my own scrambled eggs and plain-ol' baked spaghetti squash, thank you very much. Also, just using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes is not really cutting it.
- Be tempting. I need to actually want to make this, and not just gaze at it on a computer screen.
- Be weeknight friendly - weekends are when I do my cooking for my own blog. If I am following someone else's recipes, it needs to fit into my weeknight schedule - ie, not take more than an hour of prepping and cooking.
- Be devoid or low on processed products and sweeteners - nope, sorry, not even honey or maple syrup for me. If a sweetener is included in any of the recipes here, it's because I think it can be easily omitted.
So after scouring
dozens hundreds of recipes, I present to you what I consider some of the best vegetarian paleo recipes out there. I will attempt to report on how these dishes turn out as I make them over the course of the month; you'll just have to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out how it went!
These are just a few select recipes; I will continue collecting more (vegetarian) paleo-friendly recipes on my vegetarian paleo Pinterest board as the month goes by. So please join me on Pinterest to see more.
So without further ado, here are some of my picks for the best vegetarian paleo recipes out there.
Though I already have a shakshuka recipe on the blog, this harissa shakshuka by The Endless Meal is making my mouth water. The honey in here is easily skippable, and it's easy enough to make your own harissa - or even use another homemade hot sauce in its place!
The hardest part of making the switch to paleo, for me, was changing my night-time snacks. You know, those foods you eat in front of the TV long after dinner has passed, in order to quell the pangs of hunger in your stomach? Well, these cucumber and avocado nori rolls from Chocolate and Zucchini have been a life saviour, along with a few-balanced stacks of salmon salad on cucumber slices. I am truly falling in love with cucumber over here.
I don't think I could make Blissful Bliss' hasselback sweet potatoes with avocado aioli fast enough.
This beautiful, inventive, and incredibly simple Thai cabbage soup by Cotter Crunch is everything I want in a weeknight dinner: original, filling and warming.
Olive tapenade-stuffed dates, because we don't stop entertaining when eating paleo.
I love everything about this crunchy root salad, except maybe the honey (which I'll omit for the month). It's vibrant and colourful; I feel like I would probably eat a whole bowl in one sitting.
Though zucchini noodles are hardly innovative, it wasn't until I took on this paleo challenge that I actually gave them a try. And I love it! This bowl of green zuke noodles would be nourishing as well as healthy, and I can't wait to give it a spin.
A great-looking, wholesome ginger-kale cauliflower rice bowl - with optional Sriracha sauce (which I will fully admit is staying in my rotation, cleanse be damned. A girl's gotta have her guilty pleasures).
My New Roots' broccoli soup with cashew cream would be just what the doctor ordered for those experiencing dairy withdrawals during the switch to paleo - or veganism.
I have previously linked to this Persian eggplant stew, but I honestly haven't been able to get it off my mind - this month just may be the time to try.
Whether you're on a paleo journey or just looking for a way to lighten up the next few months, I hope these eight recipes get you inspired to eat in a better, simpler way!
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P.S. - There are many paleo recipes right here on the blog! Expect a round-up of some of my favourites next week.