Top 10 Paleo Foods (Part II)

Viva le weekend! I’m glad it is here. I’ve got big plans to be very productive: a clothes purge with the hubs, playing with the sous vide and testing some cookbook recipes for reviews. And of course, the usual feeding/clothing/cleaning/general wrangling of the children that ensues every weekend. We will see how much gets done, but I am hopeful that we will make some progress.

In the meanwhile, I’m excited to share the second part of my top 10 paleo kitchen staples with y’all. (If you missed the first post, it is here.)

(Once again, note: these posts will have a lot of affiliate links; it is sometimes hard to find these things in your local stores. Affiliate links just mean I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Someday, these commissions may help to pay my blog hosting fees.)

6. Fish sauce

My husband, who studies Latin and ancient Rome for fun, loves to share interesting factoids about his obsession hobby. One of these delightful nuggets of information was that in ancient Rome, a condiment called garum was extremely popular. Red Boat Fish Sauce is essentially the modern version of garum, and adds a deep boost of flavor to your food. I use it in stir fries, of course, but also in non-Asian dishes that are better with a bit of depth, like eggs poached in tomato sauce or chili. It does not add a fishy taste — just oomph.

This brand is especially awesome because it has only two ingredients: fish and salt. Many other fish sauces contain sugar or gums.

7. Coconut aminos

This is the paleo answer to soy sauce, since soy is a no-go on a paleo diet. It is not quite as salty as soy sauce, so you might want to add sea salt to your dish as well, but coconut aminos are good for many of the same uses: Thai-inspired curries, stir fries, and other dishes that need a boost of umami.

8. Kombucha

The first time I tried kombucha (fermented tea), I could not figure out who in the world would drink it — I thought it tasted like a glass of sweetened vinegar.
Yet somehow, I went back for more, and now I am a huge fan. I can’t imagine not drinking it most days. That same tangy quality is why I appreciate it now. It’s great for those times when you want something to drink, but are not interested in water or regular tea. Both teenagers dig it, and even the little ones enjoy a sip or two as well. I like that they’re getting a little boost of probiotics.

I don’t cook with kombucha, though I have used it as the liquid in a smoothie.
If you are sensitive to alcohol, note that some brands of kombucha retain more alcohol than others. Try several to find what you like.

9. Red palm oil

Red palm oil is another great fat for cooking. It is carrot-colored and, indeed, it has a slight carroty flavor; it is full of beta-carotene. If you are making a dish where coconut oil would be too sweet, red palm is an excellent substitute (my little girl hates when I scramble her eggs in coconut oil, but gobbles them up when I use red palm oil). In addition to good taste, red palm oil is good for your heart, kidneys, and may even fight breast cancer.

Two notes: first, make sure you find ethically sourced oil; rainforests and animal habitats are endangered if it is not. The packaging should tell you where the oil comes from. Secondly, red palm oil can stain your dishes if not washed promptly. You can use this quality to good effect when cooking a paler ground meat like turkey or chicken, which can look unappetizing; red palm oil adds a bit of color.

10. Tapioca flour 

One of the things people miss about regular baking is the slightly stretchy chewiness of bread. Tapioca flour gives paleo breads some of that quality. It’s not an exact match, but it does help simulate that familiar texture. It’s also good in its own right: Brazilian cheese bread — pao de quejo — would not be the same without it (the kitchn has a good recipe here).

So that’s my top 10 list of particularly paleo foods that I have come to know and love since beginning to eat this way. What about you all? Drop a line in the comments if there’s anything you’d add to the list.


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