30-Minute Paleo-Friendly Dinners
If you follow a paleo diet, a quick drive-thru dinner isn't an option when you're in a rush. Here are 4 protein-packed meals you can make in under 30 minutes!
It's 5:30 p.m. and you're finally heading out of the office after a long day. The rain is coming down, and the radio says there are two accidents on your route home. Looks like your normal 15-minute commute is about to become 45. This wasn't how you envisioned your night.
On top of that, you still have to make dinner. But since you follow a Paleo-style approach to eating, simply heating up a precooked meal or grabbing a processed bar is out of the question. You may as well take a detour left into the forest and begin hunting your next meal.
Fortunately, there are many Paleo-friendly meals that can be made in the blink of an eye. Here are four protein-packed options to get you (grass) fed in about 30 minutes!
Cajun Zucchini Noodle Stew With Shrimp and Sausage
This tastes like your favorite jambalaya, but with all the spicy flavor going on, you won't miss the usual accompanying rice!
Zucchini 2 medium
Andouille chicken sausage, sliced 1 link
Shrimp, peeled and deveined 4 oz.
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Red bell pepper, thinly sliced 1/2 pepper
Yellow onion, chopped 1/2 cup
Celery, thinly sliced 1/4 cup
Diced tomatoes, undrained 1 cup
Reduced-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup
Tomato paste 1 tbsp
Cajun seasoning 2 tsp
Garlic, minced 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Bay leaves 2
Parsley for garnish
- Spiralize zucchini using a spiralizer with a 3-millimiter blade.
- Place your zucchini noodles in a colander (set over a large bowl) and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss to coat and let stand so the noodles can release some water.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add in the Cajun seasoning and garlic and cook until garlic is golden brown and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in the sliced pepper, onion, and celery, and cook until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to medium, and add in the sliced chicken sausage. Cook until the sausage is slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Stir until the tomato sauce has broken down into the sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat back to medium and let simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the shrimp, cover the pan, and cook until the shrimp is opaque, about 2-3 minutes.
- Squeeze out as much moisture from the zucchini noodles as you can, and then pat dry on a paper towel.
- Divide the zucchini noodles between two bowls, then divide the stew on top of them. Garnish with fresh parsley, and devour.
Serving size: 1 bowl
Recipe yields: 2 bowls
Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad
This is the perfect stress reliever after a long day of work. Prepping bigger batches takes almost no extra time, providing delicious dinners for days to come. Even made days ahead of time, these spicy salads won't get soggy!
Chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces 8 oz.
Olive oil, divided 1 tbsp
Avocado 1 small
Roma tomatoes, chopped 2
Cucumber, chopped 1/2 cucumber
Carrots, sliced 1/2 cucumber
Red bell pepper 1 large
Onion, roughly chopped 1/2 cup
Fresh spinach 2-4 cups
Juice of 1 large lime
Salsa of choice 1 cup
Cilantro, roughly chopped 1/2 cup
Garlic, minced 2 tsp
Whole cumin seed 2 tsp
Salt to taste
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken breast until slightly browned and no longer pink on the inside. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and heat at medium-high heat. Cook the carrots until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add in the pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook until soft.
- While the veggies cook, place the cumin seeds in a small, dry pan over medium-high heat and toast them, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about two minutes. Transfer them to a cutting board and crush. I use the bottom of a glass, which works really well.
- Add the crushed seeds into the pan with the veggies and season with salt. Mix well, and turn off the heat.
- Scoop avocado into a small food processor, add the lime juice, and blend until smooth and creamy. You can also just mash them together in a bowl.
- Place 1/2 cup of salsa in the bottom of each jar, spreading evenly. Gently spread the avocado/lime mixture on top. Then, add in the cumin and roasted veggies, followed by the chicken. You may need to lightly press everything in to get it all to fit.
- After the chicken, add the chopped tomatoes, and then the cucumbers. Finish off by dividing the cilantro and then as much spinach as you can stuff in there!
- Seal and refrigerate until ready to devour.
Serving size: 1 salad
Recipe yields: 2 salads
Mango Chicken With Coconut Cauliflower Rice
This simple-to-make, is served over coconut cauliflower rice. With a little fresh ginger and habanero, it packs a flavorful punch!
Coconut oil, divided 2-1/2 tsp
Fresh ginger, minced 1-1/2 tsp
Garlic, minced 1 tsp
Habanero pepper, minced 1/2 tsp (optional)
100% orange mango juice 3/4 cup
Coconut aminos 1/2 tbsp
Tapioca flour 1 tsp
Tapioca flour 3 tbsp
Chicken breast 8 oz.
Coconut oil, divided 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Cauliflower 3 cups
Coconut oil, divided 2 tsp
Unsweetened coconut flakes 2 tbsp
Large mango, cubed 1/2 mango
Cilantro to taste, roughly chopped
Green onion to taste, roughly chopped
Sesame seeds 1 tsp
- Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add in the ginger, garlic, and habanero pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the juice and coconut aminos. Raise the temperature to high heat, and bring to a boil. While liquid is boiling, place the tapioca flour in a small bowl.
- Once the liquid comes to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of it to the bowl with the tapioca flour and whisk until smooth. While stirring constantly, pour the tapioca mixture into the sauce and boil for 2 minutes.
- After the sauce has boiled, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduces by about 1/4 and becomes shiny, about 6-7 minutes.
- Transfer sauce to a large bowl to let it cool and thicken while you make the chicken.
- Place the tapioca flour in a large Ziploc bag. Cut the chicken into cubes, season it with salt and pepper and add it into the bag, shaking until evenly coated in the flour.
- In a medium pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place half of the chicken into the pan, being careful not to crowd it, and cook until golden and browned, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and repeat.
- Transfer the chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate, and blot off any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining chicken. If the chicken starts cooking too quickly, turn the heat down slightly.
- While the chicken cooks, place the cauliflower in a large food processor and process until broken down and rice-like.
- Heat the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the cauliflower and coconut flakes. Cook until lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes.
- Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 2-4 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken and mango cubes into the bowl with the sauce and toss until evenly coated.
- Divide the chicken and cauliflower between two plates and garnish with cilantro, green onion and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Serving size: 1 bowl
Recipe yields: 2 bowls
Orange Beef Stir-Fry Sweet Potato Noodles and Kale
This is packed with healthy carbs, green, and protein. And it can all be on your plate in under 30 minutes!
Sweet potato 1 large
Coconut oil 2-1/2 tsp
Fresh ginger, minced 1 tsp
Top sirloin steak cut into bite-size pieces 1/2 lb.
100% orange juice 1 cup
Fresh ginger, minced 2 tsp
Coconut aminos 1 tbsp 1 tsp
Honey 1 tbsp 1 tsp
Kale 6-8 cups
Salt and pepper to taste
- Spiralize the sweet potato using the 3-millimeter-blade spiralizer.
- Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the potato noodles and cook until they just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Place into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the pan over medium heat, and add in 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger. Cook until the ginger is lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the steak and cook until it reaches desired doneness. Drain the fat and place into a bowl. Cover it to keep warm, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients except the kale and toss into the pan. Turn the heat up to high, and boil the sauce until it just begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to medium and toss in the kale. Cook until the kale begins to wilt.
- Divide the noodles and steak between two dishes and top with the sauce and kale mixture. Devour!
Serving size: 1/2 recipe
Recipe yields: 2 servings