Happy Monday, friends!
I’m excited to be doing a new thing for this week’s Meal Prep Monday: a cookbook review! Yes, a real, live, cookbook. Although I love Pinterest as much as the next person, there’s something about a beautiful cookbook and the story within that I love. I spotted this book at good old Barnes & Noble and knew I had to have it!
Let’s talk about The Paleo Chef. It’s written by Pete Evans, who I wasn’t familiar with before picking up this book. Honestly, he seems like a pretty cool guy! This Australian restaurateur and internationally-renowned chef is also a surf-loving dad—that balance between professionalism and accessibility really comes through in the book. The cookbook covers everything from breakfast to desserts, and includes a pretty devoted seafood section, which is great for those of you who live in coastal areas, but not so great for those of us locked inland (pretty sure you can’t eat most of the fish from Lake Michigan). Most of the recipes are pretty involved, but from my experience, worth the investment of time. When you’re not resorting to dairy and grains to carry a dish, you have to get creative! Perhaps my favorite part of the cookbook was the smorgasbord of stock recipes—a variety of homemade sauces (yay, Paleo ketchup) and stocks that you can use in tons of recipes outside of the cookbook.
Although there are tons of recipes I am DYING to try in here (including a lamb recipe with roasted pumpkin that’s just gorgeous) I decided to share a Paleo twist on a takeout classic: chicken fried rice!Since rice is an obvious no-no on the Paleo diet, we’re making our own cauliflower rice. I’d never done this before, and was a little skeptical of tossing raw cauliflower in my blender, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. It turned out great—just a few quick pulses in the blender was all that was needed to give me a great base for this recipe.Next came prepping all of our fried rice mix-ins. Cooking the bacon (I used turkey bacon), chicken thighs, and eggs separately took a little time, but it ensured they all cooked through before getting added in. Another great thing about fried rice is that it’s such a good vehicle for veggies—in this case, onion, red bell pepper, okra, brussels sprouts, and bean sprouts. You could definitely mix this up based on your preferences!Let’s talk about seasonings next. This recipe calls for fish sauce and either tamari or coconut aminos, which are used instead of soy sauce, which contains gluten. They tasted pretty similar in my opinion, and can be found in the vicinity of soy sauce anyways! Fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro, and parsley also add plenty of vibrant flavor to this dish.I made this for dinner along with some “normal” fried rice for the rest of my family, just for comparison’s sake. Although you definitely don’t get the same texture from cauliflower rice as you do with normal rice, it still acts as a great binder for the rest of this recipe, where the fresh vegetables and other ingredients really shine. Best of all, this version didn’t cause any of the sluggishness or tummy issues that are so often associated with take-out.Overall, I was really happy with both this cookbook and recipe! It’s an invaluable resource to anybody exploring the Paleo lifestyle, and gives you a good foundation to branch out and explore with your own recipes. Although you’ll spend a little more time prepping this recipes, having control over what goes into your food and focusing on clean, natural ingredients is totally worth it to me. I’m excited to continue cooking through Pete’s book and I hope you try (and love!) this recipe!
Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chicken
- 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 4 slices bacon or ham (I used turkey bacon), finely diced
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 eggs, whisked with a splash of fish sauce to season
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 cup sliced okra
- 1 1/2 cups sliced brussels sprouts
- 3 tbsp. wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- fish sauce, to serve
- Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender until they achieve a rice-like consistency.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat some of the coconut oil on high. Add bacon or ham and fry until crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside. Wipe out pan, add more coconut oil, and repeat process with chicken thighs until golden brown, about three minutes, set aside.
- Wipe out pan, turn down heat to medium, and add a little more coconut oil. Pour eggs into pan and cook (I scrambled mine, but you can also make them into an omelet and slice into strips). Set aside.
- Add remaining coconut oil and turn stove to high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and ginger and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until softened. Add the okra and brussels sprouts and cook for 1 minute, then add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients with salt and pepper to taste, and stir-fry until well combined.
- Serve immediately with additional fish sauce and enjoy!
(Writer’s Note: I was not compensated in any way for this post or review. All opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own!)