Perfect Marinara

The paleo community has given so much to me over the year that I’ve been a part of it, that I feel it’s only right that I give something back, and that something is my very special “red sauce” recipe.

Whether you pour it over spaghetti squash for paleo “spaghetti” and meatballs, put it on grilled chicken and green beans for an amazing paleo Italian dinner, or used it as the sauce for a delicious primal “meatza,” this simple marinara is guaranteed to make your guests swoon.

I like to make marinara in large batches and freeze most of it in ball jars or Zip-loc storage containers to have it available as needed for several months. My wife tends to get very happy whenever I make this stuff. Try it yourself and you’ll see why.

Ingredients

18-20 medium tomatoes, blanched and diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced dried onion
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp Marmite*
1 tsp sugar** (optional, but highly recommended)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp powdered ginger

Start off with a bunch of tomatoes. I picked these from my garden today, plus another half-dozen more for this recipe.

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Blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. If you’ve never blanched a tomato, check out my Savory Paleo Chili recipe where there is a video on how to blanch tomatoes. It’s easy to do and beats having tomato skins in your sauce.

Once you’ve removed the skins from the tomatoes, add them to a heavy-bottomed pot along with all the other ingredients and stir everything together.

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Heat the mixture on the stove until it starts to bubble, then turn the heat down as low as you can and let it simmer for an hour or more.

I like to put a lid on the pot, slightly askew to let some of the heat escape while keeping the sauce from splattering all over the stove.

I also like to stir everything occasionally with a potato masher to help crush the tomatoes as they cook.

Once the sauce is done, you can put it on top of just about any kind of meat or vegetables (or both) for a delicious Italian-style dinner.

* If you can’t find Marmite, see if you can find some reasonably paleo-ish beef bouillon or beef base. These, however, are usually loaded with all kinds of non-paleo crap. For example, here’s what you’ll find in Herb-Ox beef bouillon cubes: “Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Flavor (Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soy Oil), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Fat Flavor (Partially Hydrogenated Corn Oil, Flavoring), Natural Flavor (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Sugar, Whey Powder [from Milk], Lactic Acid), Spice, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Cooked Beef, Caramel Color, Dried Beef Stock, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Autolyzed Yeast, Flavoring. No MSG Added (Contains Naturally Occurring Glutamates).” Marmite gives you the same flavor without all the Frankenfood ingredients.

** I know sugar’s not paleo, but 1 tsp is very little in such big recipe, and it makes all the difference in the flavor. I’ve never tried honey or stevia, but they might work if you’re dead set against any refined sugar. If you find a good substitute, do let me know.

Mexican Egg Scramble

If you’ve ever taken a vacation to Mexico, you may have been served something like this for breakfast. My wife and I first had this in 1995 in Mazatlan, and we’ve been making it ever since. It’s a quick, easy breakfast that is loaded with vegetables.

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Ingredients

6-8 pastured or high-omega eggs
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 avocado
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)

Start by sauteing the onion and pepper in the coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until tender.

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Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl, push the eggs and peppers to one side of the skillet and pour the eggs in. Cook the eggs until done, scraping and turning them occasionally with a spatula

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Once the eggs are cooked, mix the eggs and peppers together and push aside, making room for the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the skillet just long enough to heat them through.

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Finally, mix everything together, divide onto two plates, top with avocado slices and, optionally, hot sauce and salt and pepper.

Savory Paleo Chili

Yesterday my wife and I harvested the ripe tomatoes from our garden and wound up with so many that we needed to can them, make tomato sauce for freezing, or something like that. For starters, I decided to make a big pot of chili in the slow-cooker, though it looks like I’ll still have plenty of tomatoes for marinara.

I’ve always loved chili, but you can’t find paleo-friendly chili in a can. You’ve got to make it yourself. In fact, if you want your chili to be truly paleo, you need to make your own chili seasoning because almost all commercial chili seasonings contain wheat flour as their primary ingredient.

Here’s a bean-free, flourless, gluten-free chili I made to use up all those extra tomatoes. This recipe requires a large slow cooker. If you’ve got a smaller slow cooker, you may want to cut the recipe in half.

Ingredients

1 large bowl full of tomatoes (I used at least a dozen tomatoes for this batch)
3 lbs extra lean ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp coconut oil

Chili Seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

First, you’ll want to blanch the tomatoes to remove the peels. This is preferable to having lots of little bits of tomato skin in your chili. If you’ve never blanched a tomato, watch this video to see how it’s done.

Once the tomatoes are blanched, they should look something like this.

Next, chop the tomatoes and put them in the slow cooker. If you don’t want a watery chili, you should cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters to let some of the juices run out before chopping them for the chili.

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Now brown the ground beef. Once cooked, drain the beef and add it to the slow cooker with the tomatoes.

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Next, saute the onions, bell pepper and celery in a large skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil until tender, and then add them to the slow cooker with the meat and tomatoes. This large bell pepper came from our local farmer’s market. Most bell peppers are smaller than this, so you may need to use a couple of pepper; perhaps a green one and a red one.

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Finally, mix all of the spices together in a bowl and add them to the slow cooker.

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Now saute the sliced mushrooms in the remaining 2 tbsp of coconut oil until tender. Add the mushrooms and chopped parsley to the slow cooker and stir everything together. It should look something like this.

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Cover and cook on high for one hour. After one hour, turn the slow cooker down to low and cook for two more hours.

Serve with paleo cornbread, cinnamon rolls, and maple bars. Kidding.

Yam and Eggs

This is currently my favorite paleo breakfast. It contains a good amount of protein, healthy fats, and even some “safe starch” carbs. It’s tasty and filling and should get your day off to a great start.

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Ingredients

1/2 onion, chopped
1 medium yam, grated
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 lb ground pastured pork
6-8 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by sauteing the onion in 2 tbsp coconut oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

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While the onion is cooking, peel and grate the yam.

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Next, add the grated yam to the skillet with the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook on low heat, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the yam is done.

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While the yam is cooking, brown the pork in another skillet. I recommend using ground pork instead of pork sausage, as sausage often contains high-fructose corn syrup, nitrates/nitrites, and other undesirable additives. By sticking with pure pork instead of sausage, you ensure you are getting whole, real food. If you can buy it from your local organic farmer who is raising pastured pigs, so much the better.

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Once the pork is browned and the yam is cooked, add the pork to the yam and let it continue to cook.

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Fry the eggs in the remaining 1 tbsp coconut oil. The yam makes two servings, and I like 3 or 4 eggs per serving.

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Divide the yam onto two plates and put three or four fried eggs on top of each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Bon appetit!