15 Paleo-Friendly Recipe Substitutions

15 Paleo-Friendly Recipe Substitutions


Eat like a king even when you’re living like a caveman! If you’re going paleo, there are still plenty of delicious recipes to make your tummy and taste buds happy. The Paleo diet, which has gone from diet fad to lifestyle mainstay, is based on the philosophy that our bodies function best when fueled by foods accessible to humans who lived over 200,000 years ago. Accordingly, many foods modern humans enjoy (dairy, grains, fruit juices and legumes — we’re looking at you!) are off limits. But for those looking to go paleo without compromising flavor or creativity, we’ve rounded up or favorite recipe substitutions (with paleo-friendly sample recipes to get you cooking). Going primal never tasted so good!

RELATED: 20 Delicious Paleo Recipes for Every Meal of the Day


1. Oatless Oatmeal (instead of regular oatmeal)
If you’re scrambling for a paleo breakfast option that isn’t scrambled eggs, look no further. This egg white, flaxseed meal and banana “oatmeal” is simple, satisfying and takes only five minutes to make on a stovetop. Sprinkle yours with berries or a drizzle of honey for a sweet a.m. treat. Photo and recipe: Clare / Fitting It All In

Cauliflower Hummus

2. Cauliflower Hummus (instead of chickpea hummus)
This inventive recipe for paleo-friendly hummus will have your friends and family thinking it’s the standard chickpea spread. Blend steamed cauliflower in a food processor, season to taste, and get dipping! Photo and recipe: Carmel / Our Fifth House

Homemade Larabars Recipe

3. Homemade Larabars (instead of granola energy bars)
Energy bars are a great option for when you need to fuel up on-the-go, but most bars have oats, added sugars and preservatives. These paleo-friendly date and almond bars take only 10 minutes to make, so you can easily whip some up whenever hunger strikes! Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn

Potential Almond Shortage

4. Almond Butter (instead of peanut butter)
All you need to satisfy your nut butter craving is almonds, salt and a food processor. Almond butter actually has more fiber and fewer carbohydrates than peanut butter, so it’s a healthy choice whatever your dietary restrictions. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn


5. Zucchini Spaghetti (instead of pasta)
Paleo pasta is possible! Check out this ingenius guide to making your own gluten-free zucchini noodles (aka zoodles!). Stir-fry them or microwave them for a more traditional cooked pasta texture. Photo and recipe: Michelle / nom nom paleo


6. Paleo Mayo (instead of mayonnaise)
Store-bought mayonnaise has soybean or sunflower oil, which are off limits for primal eaters. Though this recipe doesn’t require a blender (win!), you’ll need some elbow grease to whisk the oil and egg yolk together. If you want to get fancy, use your DIY mayo in these spicy salmon cucumber bitesPhoto and recipe: Michelle / nom nom paleo


7. Coconut Milk Yogurt Pots (instead of yogurt)
Move over, dairy — there’s a new way to do yogurt. Use coconut milk and grass-fed gelatin to get a creamy Greek-style yogurt that’s 100 percent paleo-friendly. Add lime juice for a tangy taste, or vanilla if you prefer your yogurt sweet. Photo and recipe: Rach / Meatified


8. Plantain Chips (instead of potato chips)
These crisps are sure to satisfy those salty-crunchy cravings. But be warned! They will lose their crispness after about an hour. (Is that permission to eat them all yourself? We’ll leave that one up to you.) Photo and recipe: Belle and Beau / Our Savory Life


9. Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (instead of gelato)
Indulge in creamy “gelato” by using coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. Although you’ll have to wait overnight for this recipe, your taste buds will be rewarded for their patience! Photo and recipe: Adriana / Living Healthy With Chocolate

RELATED: 15 Healthier Homemade Ice Cream Recipes


10. Kale Chips (instead of potato chips)
Finally, a crunchy snack you won’t feel guilty scarfing down. These baked kale chips are nutritious and delicious — win win! Make sure your washed kale is completely dry (which, unfortunately, can take up to four hours) before coating with oil and baking. Photo and recipe: Amy / The Connection We Share


11. Almond Milk (instead of cow’s milk)
Instead of shelling out for expensive branded almond milk, try this easy recipe for versatile, non-dairy milk. Just soak and blend store-bought almonds and you’ll have a delicious and nutritious drink that will stay fresh for up to five days. Recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn


12. Coconut Aminos (instead of soy sauce)
No soy allowed? No problem! You can still enjoy Asian-inspired dishes, like this teriyaki chicken, by opting for coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. Check the international food aisle in your local supermarket. Photo and recipe: Trina / Paleo Newbie


13. Cauliflower Rice (for white rice)
When rice is a no-go, make your own cauliflower “grains” by using a food processor. This foolproof recipe is perfect as a base for stir-frys or as a dinner side. Make a big batch and bring it for lunch for a paleo-proofed week. Photo and recipe: Michelle / nom nom paleo


Collard Wraps

14. Collard Greens (instead of tortillas)
Forgo traditional corn and flour tortillas and use a collard green to make these Raw Rainbow Collard Greens Wraps. To make these completely paleo-friendly, use the cauliflower hummus from above instead of chickpea-based hummus. (Stuffing your face is optional.) Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn


15. Homemade Almond Flour (for white flour)
Almond flour is more than twice as expensive as white flour, but you’ll save money by making your own. Use your DIY flour for gluten-free baking right away or later — the flour will stay good in a freezer for up to three months. Photo and recipe: Megan / Detoxinista

Originally posted August 2013, updated August 2015. 

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