Whether you look at the Paleo diet as a food fad, a healthy trend, or a sigh-worthy concept, the fact is that the “Paleo” diet does have some good stuff going for it: reduced carbs, lean protein, and an eating clean mentality that’s hard to argue with. Granted, I don’t think I’d ever give up my Basmati rice (among other things), but when I first started looking for Low-FODMAP dinner inspiration, Paleo-style recipes were a great place to start as many of them are Low-FODMAP-friendly without too many changes.
So when I was given the opportunity to receive a copy of Judith Finlayson’s The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes I was more than willing to give it a shot. Between the love we already have for slow-cooker dinners and my high opinion of Finlayson’s work (see here and here) I was expecting good things within its pages.
If you’re not familiar with the Paleo diet (the short version is that it’s supposedly the diet our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten), it contends that our bodies aren’t really evolved enough to process most grains and starchy vegetables, not to mention nothing processed. Finlayson gives a good overview of the various tenets of the diet and then talks about some of the specific ingredients that she uses or allows, even though they are considered controversial by others (potatoes, dairy, etc.).
Even if you aren’t interested in the caveman aspects of the diet, the recipes in Paleo Slow Cooker are excellent starting points for a traditional meal. Most of the dishes we paired with rice, so with potatoes. Do what makes you happy, right?
Beef in red wine is a classic dish but the Pot Roast in Barolo is a simpler, straight-forward version of the show-stopping Boeuf Bourguignon. Of course, its tough to make a bad pot roast in a slow-cooker, but this version was really outstanding.
The author’s take on leek and potato soup uses sweet potatoes. Since I can only eat the green tops of leeks, our version ofÂ New World Leek and Pepper Soup was a bit different than intended but still filling and tasty.
Similar to a butter chicken, the Spicy Chicken in Coconut Sauce uses the much-sturdier chicken thighs (which also tend to have more flavor) that don’t become mealy after a day in the slow-cooker.
The Ranch House Chicken Fried Steak was, to be honest, interesting. It’s not what you really expect, though to expect any sort of breading to hold up to slow cooking is kinda silly anyway. What it is was a good steak dish that didn’t require tending the grill or frying pan–no harm there!
I admit, I’m more of a New England girl, but when Todd decided to make this Manahttan Clam Chowder I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I’m a convert, but I’m at least willing to branch out now and then!
Saving the best for last, this was actually the first dish we tried out of this book and it set the bar pretty dog-gone high! The Southwestern Brisket was melt-in-your-mouth tender and just spicy enough to get the point across without eclipsing the brisket. This one will definitely be gracing our table again, it’s just too good not to make again!
Like the cover says, Paleo is naturally Gluten-Free, so it’s a great way to get ideas for meals that don’t rely on wheat or other grains. Most recipes serve 6-8, so you may need to cut them down a bit to fit your family dynamic or plan to make extra and freeze it for those nights you don’t want to start from scratch. There are tons of tips throughout the book and great pictures, as well. And for the first time when I was in the midst of reviewing a book I ran into someone who was already a big fan. Not like I needed convincing, but it’s always nice to get other opinions, right?