First, a confession. I’m a foodie. I enjoy shopping at farmer’s markets, buying meat and dairy directly from local farmers, creating new recipes, and cooking and preparing food. I’ve worked as a chef’s apprentice (way back in my vegan macrobiotic days – if you can believe that!), I pay close attention to where my food comes from, and I know my way around the kitchen.
In the early days of Paleo, it seemed to me that the few cookbooks or Paleo food resources that were available were written by folks that were well-versed in Paleo, but not particularly interested in or experienced with food preparation. An average Paleo recipe might have been Grilled Chicken Breast with Steamed Broccoli.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating that way. And in fact, eating simply prepared meals is a very good idea if you’re trying to lose weight (I’ll discuss this more in the future). But for those of us that don’t have weight problems, and have an interest in food, those early Paleo cookbooks just didn’t cut it.
Fortunately, things have changed in the Paleo world. As the Paleo diet has grown in popularity, the number of “gourmet” Paleo cookbooks and recipe sites focused has increased dramatically.
I am often asked which of these I recommend, so I thought I’d write a post listing my current favorites. Originally I planned to do a more comprehensive list, but then I decided to just give you my top two “go-to” sites. This is a subjective list and reflects my personal preferences more than anything else. There are a lot of great cookbooks and sites that aren’t included below that are worth checking out, but I wanted to keep this list focused on “gourmet Paleo”.
So, without further ado…
I only recently learned about this fantastic site. If you’re a foodie and into Paleo, I’m sure you already know about it. If not, you need to go over there right now and sign up for her email list or RSS updates or follow her on Facebook.
Every day – or nearly every day – Michelle does a Paleo Eats post where she describes her meals and takes (gorgeous) pictures of them. She also often links to great resources she uses in her meal preparation, like kitchen tools, spice blends, pantry items and cookbooks.
She has a TON of free recipes on her site, and they’re listed in her recipe index here. She doesn’t have a cookbook yet, but in one of her recent posts there was some speculation in the comments section that one might be coming because she’s been taking a lot of pictures of food lately! I’ll be the first in line.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Bacon and Guacamole Sammies
- Slow Cooker Thai Yellow Curry With Grass Fed Beef Brisket
- Damn Fine Chicken
- Pork and Spinach Stuffed Kabocha Squash
Health-bent is another great “gourmet” Paleo recipe site run by my friends Brandon and Megan Keatley. I particularly love Health-Bent because their approach to food is closer to my own, in that they include dairy on occasion and they’re not rigid or dogmatic.
You will never get bored with Health-Bent recipes. They run the gamut from homestyle Southern food to global ethnic cuisine. And for those of you with a sweet tooth, Health-Bent will quickly become your favorite source for dessert recipes.
Here are a few of my favorite Health-Bent recipes:
- Thanksgiving Stuffing Hushpuppies
- Pulled Pork Spareribs with Coffee-Molasses Barbecue Sauce
- Braised Short Ribs with Figs
- Chorizo Mini-Meatloaves
- Paleo Coconut Macaroons
So those are my two favorites. Here are a few others you should check out:
- Paleo Comfort Foods. This cookbook just came out recently, and it’s another that takes a more gourmet Paleo approach. I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book, and checking out their website.
- Everyday Paleo. Another great resource for Paleo foodies. Buy her book and check out her website.
- Well Fed. This is Melissa Joulwan’s new book. I haven’t seen the full book, but she has a free 30-page PDF sampler available on her site, and it looks amazing.
A couple more things before I finish up. Another option – aside from Paleo cookbooks – for those a little more experienced with food is to adapt recipes from non-Paleo sources. My favorite by far for this is the Cook’s Illustrated series of cookbooks. Cooks Illustrated takes a scientific approach to cooking. They try each recipe several times (sometimes more than 50!) with different variations in the process of perfecting it; then they describe what worked and didn’t work (and why) in the intro to the recipe. It’s a science-and-food-lover’s dream.
A lot of the original recipes in the Personal Paleo Code Meal Plan Generator were created this way. But we also have recipes from Nom Nom Paleo, Health-Bent, Everyday Paleo and several other fantastic Paleo recipe sources. In fact, we have more than 450 recipes now that are categorized according to recipe type. But the best part about the Meal Plan Generator is the ability to create customized meal plans that contain only the ingredients you want. Head over to the Personal Paleo Code site to check it out.