When I tell people that I like to do periodic Whole30 nutritional resets – just love the energy and mental clarity I get from them – I inevitably get the same question: “But what do you eat?” Whole30 is a super restrictive program (no grains, sugar, dairy, beans, soy, legumes, additives or alcohol – definitely not for everyone, and not sustainable over the long-term – that’s why it only lasts 30 days!) but it works well for me, especially when I am on my cooking game. Breakfasts and lunches are usually super-simple, grab-and-go affairs, but I like to make dinners more of an occasion. Here’s a typical week of dinners on the Whole30:
Sunday: Paleo golumpki. I like to make elaborate Sunday dinners, and on this occasion I decided to recreate one of my grandmother’s standbys, adapted for Whole30. Traditional golumpki, or golabki, includes a mixture of beef, pork, and white rice, wrapped in cabbage and doused in tomato puree. Rice is not Whole30 friendly; beef and pork are, but I don’t eat them. So I made some adjustments: ground turkey instead of beef or pork; cauliflower rice instead of white rice; and tomato puree with almond milk whisked in instead of soup. Served in my grandmother’s bowls – I’m sure my version wasn’t as delicious as hers, but it did the trick! Yum.
Monday: chicken, pepper and potato skillet dinner with Paleo pesto. I get a lot of recipes from the Wegmans website (mom alert!) and this skillet dinner caught my eye as easy enough to adapt. Seared chicken breasts, tucked into nests of red pepper slices and cherry tomatoes (which I tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano), then roasted all together in a big skillet. I topped the parents’ portions with generous dousings of walnut pesto, made Whole-30 friendly with nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan cheese. I love pesto – this was something of an experiment and it was fabulous; I’ll definitely be making it again.
Tuesday: turkey in pesto over zoodles. The pesto made a repeat appearance on Tuesday (I made a double batch!) this time crowning sauteed ground turkey over zucchini noodles. The kids passed on the pesto both nights (I think the green color scared them) and they ate ground turkey over buttered dinosaur-shaped pasta, while the grownups feasted on zucchini.
Wednesday: taco salad. There’s lettuce under there, I swear! Many Lego Movie jokes were made as we had “Taco Tuesday! But still! On a! Wednesday!” The taco meat was ground turkey again (apparently I had a theme going this week) sauteed with mild salsa and Southwest Seasoning from one of my favorite local spice shops. Served over a head of romaine that I needed to use up, with sliced cherry tomatoes, a sprinkling of olives, and Primal Kitchen vegan ranch dressing. I love salad, and this might be my favorite (although there’s usually more lettuce – this head was getting a little past its prime and I had to cut away parts).
Thursday: garlic-paprika haddock and roasted broccoli. This tray bake is one of my favorite easy, fix-it-and-forget-it, weeknight dinners. Both the fish and the broccoli are roasted up straight from frozen; the fish is simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and generous lashings of garlic powder and paprika; the broccoli is dumped straight onto a baking sheet out of the freezer bag, and roasted just with olive oil, salt and pepper. 400 degrees, 40 minutes, and it’s all ready at once. Couldn’t be easier, and we all inhale this dinner whenever I produce it.
Friday: takeout from our local Peruvian joint! Friday nights are takeout nights, even on Whole30. We’re eating late these days because Nugget doesn’t get home from soccer until about 6:40pm, and we’re all starving by then. I picked up Peruvian from one of our favorite spots – Steve and I shared ceviche; I had 1/4 chicken with sweet potato fries and a side salad, and the kids ate nuggets and fries (Steve’s main dish was a burrito bowl). It’s possible that there are some non-Whole30 ingredients in the ceviche and in the sauce for the chicken, but I decided not to worry about that too much.
Saturday: chicken stew with potatoes and kale. On Saturday, we were out apple-picking and didn’t get home until after 5:00, but I had pre-cooked dinner a couple of days before (and was dipping into it for lunches during the week) – a big batch of chicken stew with butter potatoes, kale, and some cabbage left over from Sunday’s golumpki-cooking adventure. I love to make big chicken stews and throw in whatever veg I need to use up; it’s not Steve’s favorite, or Peanut’s either, but they eat stew gamely enough and Nugget and I love it. Even when I’m not Whole30-ing, chicken and vegetable stew is a menu regular during the colder half of the year.
So – you see! I eat very well indeed on the Whole30. I love noodling around on Paleo recipe websites, or tweaking old favorites to be Whole30-friendly. Do you have any favorite Paleo recipes?