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5 (Really) Easy Make Ahead Paleo Sides

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If you’re anything like me or many other busy Americans — parents or not — your afternoons are action packed. If you work full time, you might be squeezing in a workout before rolling home starving. If you have kids that time after school and before dinner time is crammed with activities, homework, appointments and maybe a gym visit.

We are early-to-bed folks, too, so if I want my kids in be by 7:15 p.m. and we don’t get home from the gym until 5:45 p.m., that leaves an hour and a half for all of our cooking, dishes, eating, snuggling and bedtime routines. And when you’re eating paleo and pretty much making everything from scratch that’s not a lot of time.

That’s one of the reasons I do as much cooking ahead of time as possible. Every meal in our home includes a protein and at least one veggie. I find the protein is easy — I have something cooking in the crockpot, stick chicken on the grill or reheat something I cooked earlier (we’ll run a post about that soon).

But veggies are harder for me. I’m not a big green salad fan and even roasting veggies can be time consuming, especially since my oven is small and, if I’m cooking meat in it, already fairly occupied. Instead I prefer to have veggies prepared ahead and poised for reheating.

Cauliflower whip

cauliflower

This tasty dish has the texture of a smooth mashed potato. Steam the cauliflower, pop it in a food processor and mix it up with some clarified butter (ghee) or kerigold. You could also add some coconut milk (full fat kind, from the can). And salt it to taste. Be warned, though: it gets very soupy very fast, so add liquid with caution. Reheat in the microwave.

Butternut squash mash

I really like this recipe. Don’t go crazy with the garlic, though –a little goes a long way. Reheat this one in the microwave as well.

Roasted, diced sweet potatoes

Pair your paleo roasted, diced sweet potatoes with a simple protein and fat like a few fried eggs and avocado.
Pair your paleo roasted, diced sweet potatoes with a simple protein and fat like a few fried eggs and avocado.

This side could not be simpler — or tastier. Cut a sweet potato into cubes, toss it on a baking sheet with coconut oil or olive oil, salt with just sea salt, or add garlic powder, rosemary and ground pepper. Roast it at 375 for 3o or so minutes, stirring once or twice. You’ll know they are done when they start to look crispy. Yet another microwave reheat.

Cauliflower rice

Bust out that food processor again. This time stick the raw cauliflower in there and blend it up until it’s in annoying little pellets that will get all over your kitchen if you aren’t careful (just being honest). Next, put it in pan with some coconut or olive oil and saute it. Add salt and pepper to taste, then cover and cook for a few minutes. Stir again. Keep it up until it’s tender.

Roasted beets and fennel

Oh this one is delicious. Beets never used to be something that I  was rushing to eat — but this changed that. Slice the beets into cubes and place on a baking tray. Next, cut the bulb off the bottom of the fennel and slice it in half and then into sliced wedges. Toss the whole business with coconut oil and then salt to taste. Roast it at 350 for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice just to make it feel happy and cook evenly.

Beet heaven. (I promise that’s not an oxymoron.)

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