Hey there everyone, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amber Karnes and I hail from Norfolk, Virginia, where you can find me on my computer designing and building websites (like this here website you’re reading right now) or in my kitchen cooking simple, fresh, Paleo meals (and trying to coerce my husband into trying new foods). I’m thrilled to announce a new regular feature on the Robb Wolf site: The Paleo Table. Each week, I hope to convey my enthusiasm about the challenge of keeping things exciting in all our Paleo kitchens across the world. What can you expect from The Paleo Table each week? Original recipes, roundups of great links to Paleo foodstuffs around the Web, kitchen tips and techniques, crazy food-making adventures in my own kitchen and more. So, with that said, onward!
Thanksgiving is only days away
I love Thanksgiving. A grand excuse to spend the day in the kitchen creating delicious food for the people I love is a holiday I can get behind. Thankfully, staying Paleo at Thanksgiving is easy enough. Most of the dishes traditionally served are naturally Paleo with a few easy modifications. The big culprits to watch out for? Bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes (maybe) and desserts.
Bread: just skip the dinner rolls. Most of the time, these are an afterthought anyhow. Who wants to eat a store-bought, over-processed gluten bomb when there are countless other great dishes to fill your belly? Don’t even bring them to the table. And if you’re at a relative’s house just stick the package of rolls under a nearby throw pillow. No one will even miss them.
Stuffing: this one can be a little more tricky. Everyone wants stuffing. Or is it dressing? I grew up in south Georgia and it was only ever called stuffing in my house, although not once was it actually stuffed inside anything. I love the idea of stuffing inside the turkey, soaking up all that juicy goodness, but if we’re not using bread or grains of some kind, that technique is hard to do justice. So we’ll stick with the stuffing-on-the-side concept of my youth. A super yummy grain-free, dairy-free recipe is below!
Mashed potatoes: if you’re avoiding nightshades or just trying to keep it low-carb/dairy-free, mashed potatoes can be a booger. I’d like to propose an alternative: mashed sweet potatoes! Yams and sweet potatoes are another traditional thanksgiving food (although in my youth they were always smothered with corn syrup and toasted marshmallows), and one that can be made into a delicious Paleo-friendly dish. Bake (or microwave) sweet potatoes, peel and mash them, mix with coconut oil or grass-fed butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a touch of maple syrup and you have one delicious side dish (or main dish, if you’re visiting my plate).
Desserts: if you enjoy pumpkin pie for dessert at Thanksgiving, you’re in luck. It’s super easy to make a really satisfying Paleo version. Sarah from Everyday Paleo has a great recipe plus a demo video on her version of pumpkin pie. I made something similar recently and for the crust, used almond flour and coconut oil. Yummmm. My husband couldn’t even tell it wasn’t a graham cracker crust.
A delicious, foolproof Paleo Thanksgiving
I’ve taken the traditional Thanksgiving menu from my youth and made a few tweaks. Here are some great, tried and true recipes from around the Web.
- Pre-dinner munchies: Italian sausage skewers, Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates, Deviled Eggs (Fat Guacamole Devils would also be welcome), shrimp cocktail, olives, nuts
- Alton Brown’s roast turkey (video)
- Cranberry sauce
- Holiday yams
- Tarragon green beans
- Pumpkin pie
- And finally, stuffing!
Savory Sweet Potato Stuffing
Time: about 2 hours (40 minutes hands-on time)
This has all the savory depth of flavor you’d expect from a traditional bread stuffing, and you’ll recognize familiar fall flavors in there, but get ready for some unexpected notes: the burst of sweetness from the raisins and the crunch from the pecans.
- 4-5 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 8 oz. country style (not in a casing) pork sausage
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 400° F. On a baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stick the baking sheet in the oven and roast potatoes until just tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the sausage and cook through until thoroughly browned. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl along with the roast sweet potatoes and let everything cool for 10 minutes or so. Turn oven down to 375.
- Add the beaten eggs, sweet potatoes, broth, pecans, raisins and sage to the veggie mixture and combine well. Use olive oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until browned, 20 to 30 minutes more.
Share your menu
Are you staying Paleo or grain-free this Thanksgiving? Have a favorite recipe to share? We’d love to hear what you’re serving on Thursday. Please tell us in the comments!