My 10 basic building blocks of paleo eating

I love experimenting with new recipes & finding new ways to whip up delicious feasts. That said though, there are a few basic meals that I always come back to, most of which revolve around the building blocks in this list.

Combine them with each other, with other recipes you find or use these as the basis to create your own adventure. Nail this list of recipes, and the cooking world’s your oyster (or other shellfish of choice).

10 paleo building blocks


1. Cauliflower rice

You need a food processor or blender to make this one worth your while but it’s worth the purchase to have this alone in your arsenal. All you need to do is break a raw cauli into florets, whizz til ricey-looking & then toss into a hot frypan with your choice of flavours & cover for a few minutes until slightly softened. Picture B is a cauliflower fried rice I made with sliced chicken thighs, sliced omelette & assorted fridge-cleanout vegetables. Try it plain with salt & pepper & a squeeze of lemon to accompany fish, or experiment with sliced almonds & turmeric to replace a Moroccan-inspired couscous.

2. Zucchini noodles

Use either a standard veggie peeler or a julienne peeler (this is what I use) shred zucchinis into noodles. Let them dry out for 10-20 minutes or so & then throw them in a hot pan with some coconut oil & a sprinkle of powdered garlic (Picture C). Once you’ve got that down, indulge in these Comfort Noodles.

3. Garbage stir-fry

We covered this one in the breakfast round up but it’s a format you can whip out any old time. Clean out the fridge, slice everything evenly, stir fry in some coconut oil & call it a meal. Make sure there’s a serve of protein involved & if you’re throwing in any leftovers, make sure this is their final outing – only reheat food once.

4. Chicken thighs

While I don’t mind a tin of (sustainably caught) tuna on my lunchtime salads, I do love a good chicken thigh (Picture D). I cook up a batch in the oven on the weekend with S&P, a sprinkle of paprika & garlic and a drizzle of oil. Let them roast for 20 minutes or so at 220°C, until they’re crispy around the edges & cooked through.

5. Boiled eggs

I keep a stash of boiled eggs in the fridge at all times. Throw them in salads, have them as an emergency breakfast or scoff them with raw veggie sticks for afternoon tea. For a refresher in making perfect ones, check out this article.

6. Roasted veg

Cold salads are fine in the summer but they aren’t as appealing come blustery winter days. When you’ve got a tray of chicken thighs in the oven, prep a tray of veg to go in as well – brussels sprouts, fennel, zucchini, eggplant & tomatoes, not to mention starchier options like pumpkin & sweet potato, all get their delicious on in this scenario.

7. Mayonnaise

Queen of the condiments in my opinion, the humble mayonnaise can have some offensive ingredients when bought off the long-life supermarket shelf. An egg, some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon & your choice of seasonings are all you need to whip your own in less than a minute. Legit.

8. Meatballs

Whether you make balls, bangers or burgers, mince-y concoctions are cheap, tasty & portable. Like boiled eggs, they’re totally versatile & easy to batch cook. Melissa Joulwan has an epic collection in her book Well Fed 2 & on her website.

9. A slow-cooked bulk meat fest

Another one for the winter days, cooking up a big pot of melt-in-your-mouth meat is a beautiful way to get your house smelling amazing & your co-workers jealous of your leftover lunches for days. Pulled pork is always a favourite and don’t forget about cheaper cuts – they’re perfect for the slowcooker.

10. Guacamole

Like mayonnaise, guacamole is a top condiment to dollop on salads to up your healthy fat quota & shines as a dip with veggie sticks.

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