Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker
Meals Made Simple was the first real-food cookbook I bought, not because I wanted to use it personally, but because it is a perfect resource for clients. It regularly sits on the coffee table in our clinic and many clients have purchased it and rave about it! The recipes are grain-free versions of the traditional home-cooked meals many people are brought up on. Delicious breakfast recipes including overnight breakfast casserole, freezer waffles and simple egg scrambles; hearty soups and salads such as minestrone and buffalo chicken salad; classic dinner recipes like beef stroganoff, braised lamb and maple-dijon pork tenderloin; and simple side dishes like cauli-rice, green beans almandine and roasted eggplant; make this book practical, beautiful and perfect for any cook, beginner to pro! A bonus chapter includes staples like seasonings, salsas, dips, sauces and pancake mix, and the simple dessert section includes the infamous real deal chocolate chip cookies 2.0, which I can personally attest to being delicious!
BONUS: 8-week meal plans including shopping lists and tear out guides, recipe nutritional information and indicators of egg-free, nut-free, nightshade free and SCD compliant.
Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry
I love pork and I have always loved pork. Pulled pork, bacon, pork tenderloin, sausages, prosciutto – it’s all amazing! What I love about Beyond Bacon is it teaches you how to use every single part of the pig, which I believe to be the most important part of respectful, sustainable and ethical food consumption. As humans, we are designed to eat meat, so the life of an animal must be extinguished for us to survive. Since there is really no way around this, what I strive to do is let no part of the animal go to waste. That means utilizing the skin, fat, bones, organs and feet. From an ethical and environmental perspective, this is a no-brainer – respect and minimal waste. However from a health perspective this is where it gets interesting. These parts of the animal that we have grown to dislike (only in recent years mind you) are some of the most important parts of the animal, nutritionally speaking. Not to mention it helps out financially when you include offal in your diet. This book is literally a guide book to doing exactly that! Recipes such as scrapple, hambone soup, stewed ham hocks and sweetbreads definitely showcase more of the hog than just bacon! This book also includes traditional pork recipes such as Italian sausage links, grilled pork kebabs, slow-roasted pork shoulder and Swedish meatballs; delicious side dishes like plantain chips, homestyle biscuits and sweet potato casserole; and classic desserts like apple fritters, bacon-wrapped dates and a pie crust made with lard. However, my favourite part about this book is the “The Basics” section. There are step by step directions for rendering your own lard (I did this very successfully!); making your own bacon, pancetta and head cheese; and many variations of homemade sausages.
BONUS: info for buying a whole hog, pork myth busters, instructions for smoking and deep-frying and a handy cooking conversion chart.
The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD
This book is incredible. The creativity blows me away every time I flip through it. For anyone who is not familiar with the autoimmune paleo (AIP) protocol, hop on over to The Paleo Mom for a detailed understanding. To sum it up quickly the protocol eschews all grains, dairy, legumes, eggs, nuts, seeds (including seed-based spices like cumin) and nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers). As well as avoiding the dangerous food-like products such as vegetable oils and artificial sweeteners. This protocol is challenging, but it is incredibly effective. We have taken people through it in our clinic and have seen incredible results, literally putting them into remission from their autoimmune conditions. However, like I said before, it is challenging. But it becomes significantly easier when you have an incredible resource like The Paleo Approach Cookbook to guide you! It includes kitchen staples such as coconut milk yogurt, homemade pickles and applesauce; egg-free breakfast ideas like bacon fruit cups, plantain and apple fritters and 9 variations of homemade sausages; and delicious appetizers including ahi tuna ceviche, pork rinds and crab-stuffed mushroom caps. There are dozens of recipes for meals including New England clam chowder, pork pad thai, calamari with tzatziki sauce and garlic and rosemary roast beef. The most impressive section is Chapter 10, Offal. The AIP approach is built on an anti-inflammatory, immune stabilizing and nutrient dense foundation. You can’t get more nutrient dense than offal! Classic recipes like steak and kidney pot pie and liver and onions balance creative ones like deep-fried fish heads and beef tongue with celery root and fennel slaw. Side dishes such as braised greens, mint pesto zucchini pasta and french fries; along with AIP friendly treats like carob brownie bites; maple shortbread cookies and banana bread squares round out this beautiful, creative masterpiece. While definitely not for everyone (although there are some awesome staples in here), if you are following a diet that does not include some key real-food ingredients like eggs or nightshades, or if you are full AIP (but then you probably have this already), do yourself a favour and pick up this book! If you’re into science, be sure to pick up her accompanying textbook, The Paleo Approach, for the why’s behind the autoimmune protocol.
BONUS: a condensed summary of the why’s behind AIP, lots of information on how to make this way of eating work for you practically and financially, charts for meat cooking times, and 6 weeks of meal plans (including 2 AIP and low FODPAP) along with shopping lists.
The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook by Diana Rodgers
The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook is a different sort of book. To be honest, I didn’t buy it for the recipes, although they look delicious! The reason I bought this book is that on top of the gorgeous recipes, it is a guide to truly living a farm-to-table lifestyle. It includes thorough directions for raising your own animals – from suburban backyard chickens to selecting breeds, feeding recommendations and processing tips for rabbits, pigs, sheep and cows for homesteads and farms. An extensive section on creating a garden as well as tips for foraging for edible plants make this a perfect book for the fledgling self-sustainer. The recipes that are included are divided into seasons, to emphasize the importance of seasonal cooking when possible. Spring recipes include stinging nettle soup and fiddlehead ferns with porcini and prosciutto. Summer brings you maple-spiced venison jerky, grilled calamari with tomatoes and aged balsamic and creamy coleslaw with fresh dill. The autumn recipes include vegetable soup with pesto, hot mulled cider, warm cinnamon pears and cajun rabbit stew. Diana also included basic skills like making your own butter and caring for cast iron pans. My favourite part of the book is the section titled “Living”, where the emphasis is on down-shifting and stopping to smell the roses. Directions for Hosting a Clam Bake, Roasting a Pig, playing Capture the Flag, naturally dying Easter Eggs and making your own Goat Milk Soap are only some of the recommendations. This book truly inspires me.
BONUS: building your own compost system, setting up a homestead (on as little as a ⅛ acre) and the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle beyond food.
Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Caitlin Weeks, Chef Nabil Boumrar and Diane SanFilippo
While I don’t actually have this cookbook in my library, I did purchase it for my mom this past Christmas. I received it a few weeks before the 25th so I had a chance to flip through it and make some of the incredible recipes! Mediterranean Paleo Cooking contains the first recipe that made me actually sort of enjoy liver! The first recipe I tackled from this book was the Liver Pate. I had always thought that pate was something that could only be enjoyed at restaurants, I never thought you could make it at home! It couldn’t have been easier! And with tons of flavour brought by the cilantro and paprika, it was pretty darn tasty. What struck me about this book is it is completely different from any of the other paleo cookbooks on the market. Everything was so Mediterranean, and yet, there were so few “paleo-ified” recipes. Turns out, in most of the Mediterranean, eating real, whole foods is the norm, and the recipes in this book reflect that. Of course there are some grain-free takes on old-favs like hummus, biscotti, falafel and pizza. Recipes like peppers and zucchini stuffed with lamb, fig and ginger chicken tagine, kafta lamb kebabs and dark chocolate fig brownies make me wish I hadn’t gifted this beautiful book away! A great bonus is there are tips on every page from Chef Nabil, as well as directions for making the recipes AIP, nightshade free or SCD – depending on your needs.
Easy Paleo Meals by Kelly Brozyna
Fed+Fit by Cassie Joy
One Pot Paleo by Jenny Castaneda
Paleo Takes 5 or Fewer by Cindy Sexton
Practical Paleo by Diane SanFilippo
The Healing Kitchen by Alaena Haber and Sarah Ballantyne
The opinions in this post are exclusively mine – I have not been paid to endorse these cookbooks. I simply loved them and I like to share information about things I love with you! However in order to support my blogging activities, I do belong to some affiliate programs. When you purchase an item through links on my blog, I receive a small percentage from those affiliate programs.