This Paleo Nights theme was Ethnic foods….we had yummy recipes from all over the world including: Caribbean, Chinese, Thai, Indian, French and Italian.  Before I post the recipes, I want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for the night!  There were lots of new people and some returning friends.

Massive appreciation to Sio for organizing and being the best hostess!!!

Big thank you to Crossfit Quantum for hosting these events!!

Many thanks to the Healthy Butcher for supplying the delicious organic and humanely raised meats!

And a big thank you to Semi-Primal Husband for all the help…without you, I not be able to pull this off!

Thanks again to everyone for coming out and I hope to see you at the next Paleo Nights event!

Here are all the recipes:

Caribbean Jerk Steak
Asian Slaw

Indian No-Butter Chicken
Paleo Shrimp Pad Thai

Hazelnut Biscotti
Almond Orange Cake 

This is a super easy rub that spices up your boring steak.  I grilled up a big piece and ate it for breakfast all week…so yummy!  You end up with a sweet taste, but there is no sugar as per a typical jerk rub.

Ingredients (makes about 10 strips):
– 1 Lb flank steak
-½ Tbsp of: onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, coriander.
-1 Tbsp thyme
-1 tsp of: nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper 
-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice 
-1 Tbsp olive oil 
-1 Tbsp tamari (wheat-free soy) 
-fresh ground pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients except steak in a bowl and mix thoroughly 
  2. Rub onto flank steak and marinate in a sealed bag in the fridge for a few hours or overnight 
  3. Bring flank steak out of the fridge for 30  minutes before grilling 
  4. Grill on high heat for 2-3 min per side (depending on thickness and how rare you want it.  Recommended: Medium-Rare) 
  5. Remove from grill – Tent the meat under foil and let it rest for 5 minutes 
  6. Slice into thin pieces (slice against the grain of the meat) and serve.

This was my first time using Kelp noodles and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try them.  They are very easy to prepare and give you the same satisfaction as a rice noodle.  I used Shrimp only in this version because we had chicken in the Butter Chicken dish.  Pad Thai normally calls for Sugar, often Ketchup (gross!) and Fish Sauce so I knew I had a challenge ahead of me to try and “paleo-ize” it.  It turned out amazing and everyone at Paleo Nights seemed to enjoy it.  The other nice thing about this dish is that it tastes great heated up the next day so you can make a big batch and have leftovers.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
– 20 jumbo shrimp, peeled
– 1 Pack of Kelp Noodles (you can get these at The Big Carrot in Toronto or order them online from Upaya Naturals
– 2 Tbsp Tamari (wheat-free soy)
– 2 Tbsp 100% Tamarind paste – you will most likely need to get this from an Indian grocer (there are some in Toronto just East of Carlaw on Gerrard.  google it).  They sell Tamarind paste at normal grocers but it contains other ingredients.
–  3 Tbsp sesame oil
– juice of 1 lime
– 1 Tbsp almond butter
– 1 tsp sambal oelek (red chili paste)
– 1/4 C chicken stock 
– 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
– 1/2 chopped red onion
– 1 large bunch of green onions – chopped
– 1 C bean sprouts
– small handful of crushed cashews (for garnish)


  1. Rinse kelp noodles thoroughly in cold water while separating strands.  Drain and set aside
  2. In a small bowl, combine tamari, lime juice, tamarind, sambal oelek, chicken stock, almond butter and 1 Tbsp of sesame oil.  Whisk together and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp of sesame oil in a wok.  Add red onion and garlic and saute until softened.  
  4. Add shrimp and saute for 2 minutes
  5. Add Kelp noodles and pour sauce on.  Mix together thoroughly.  
  6. Add green onions and sprouts and stir fry for about 5-7 minutes or until Kelp noodles have cooked (bite into it and you’ll know when they are cooked, much like normal pasta)
  7. Serve with some chopped cashews on top
  8. Enjoy!

For the Ethnic themed Paleo Nights event I wanted to take a couple ‘popular’ ethnic dishes and see if I could “paleo-ize” them. A friend at Crossfit Quantum said that he makes a nice slow-cooker butter chicken, so i thought I’d try a Butter Chicken recipe to represent India on the menu…some people said it tasted more like Tikka Masala.  You can decide for yourself – either way it’s delicious.  I haven’t had real Butter Chicken in so long, so it was hard for me to remember what the real deal tastes like.   You can find all the necessary spices in the ethnic aisle at any Real Canadian Superstore.  

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 1 head of cauliflower (for rice substitute) – ground up to a rice like consistency
– 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
– 3/4 – 1 C coconut cream – use the thick cream that resides on the top of coconut milk or you can buy coconut cream and add water to make it less dense.
– 1/4 C lemon juice
– 4 tsp of each: ground cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper
– 2 tsp garam masala 
– 1 tsp ground tumeric
– 2 Tbsp minced garlic
–  1 Tbsp minced ginger
– 3 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 C cashew nut butter
– 1 medium onion – minced
– 1/2 C crushed tomatoes (use the kind w/out any other ingredients)
– 1/2  – 1 C chicken stock (you might need 1 full Cup if the sauce is too thick)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut cream, lemon juice, 1/2 of the spices: 2 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric.  And garlic and ginger.
  2. In a re-sealable bag, add chicken and cover with marinade.  Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours
  3. Pre-heat oven to 400
  4. Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish and cook chicken until it’s 90% cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Once cooled enough, cut into bite size pieces.
  5. In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onions (and some more garlic if you like) and saute until softened.
  6. Add the other 1/2 of spices (2 tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp of garam masala, 1/2 tsp turmeric).  Add crushed tomatoes and cashew nut butter.  Stir for about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken pieces.  Start to add chicken stock while stirring.  Start with 1/2 a Cup and continue adding until you get your desired consistency.  I had to use about 1 Cup in total.
  8. Let it simmer on low-heat for about 20 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

Eat these desserts in moderation!  They are not Paleo/Primal.

For dessert I chose to experiment with a french recipe that I found on The Food Network which actually calls for almond flour…shocking!  I removed the sugar, used a smaller quantity of coconut sap and didn’t use any grand marnier or sweetener in the glaze.  I think you definitely need a hand-mixer for this one because you have to beat the egg whites until they are white peaks….i suppose you could use a whisk if you wanted a hardcore wrist WOD.  Personally all the zesting was enough of a wrist WOD for me.

Ingredients (makes a 9 x 9 cake – about 9 pieces)
– 6 eggs
– 1/3 C coconut sugar or 2-3 Tbsps of maple syrup or raw honey (you can buy coconut sugar at The Big Carrot in Toronto)
– zest of 3 oranges
– juice of 3 oranges (set this aside for after you have baked the cake)
– 1 1/2 C almond flour (ground almonds)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.  Grease the baking pan (use some coconut oil or olive oil spritz)
  2. Separate the eggs into 2 bowls (whites in one, yolks in another).
  3. Beat the yolks with the zest, coconut sugar and almond flour
  4. Using a hand-mixer, beat the whites until they are white, foamy and forming peaks
  5. Slowly start to fold in the whites into the bowl with the zest mixture.  Gently (because otherwise you lose some of the fluff) continue folding and mixing until it’s thoroughly combined.
  6. Pour into baking pan and bake until a fork comes out dry (about 40 min).
  7. Poke small holes in the top of the cake and pour in the orange juice.
  8. C’est bon!

Eat these in moderation!  Although they are gluten-free/dairy-free, they still contain sugar and should not be part of your regular Paleo/Primal diet.

I am voting this one my best innovations of 2010! SO GOOD!  In case you couldn’t tell, I was really pleased with the way these turned out.  This Italian dessert rounded out the Ethnic Paleo Nights.

Ingredients (makes 20 pieces of biscotti)
– 1 1/2 C almond flour (ground almonds)
– 1/3 C coconut sugar
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp espresso powder
– just under 1/4 C grapeseed oil (i think any baking oil would work)
– 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 C hazelnuts – roughly chopped
– 3 Tbsp Hazelnut butter
– 2 Tbsp raw cocoa nibs


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. You’ll need a large baking sheet, greased or lined with parchment paper and greased
  3. In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, baking soda, espresso powder and hazelnuts.
  4. Add the coconut sugar, grapeseed oil, vanilla, raw cocoa and hazelnut butter (you might need to melt this to make it mix-able). Mix together
  5. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour the dough into 2 length-wise shapes on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart from one another.  You will need to use your hands to shape the dough – try to make each piece of dough about 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. A bit cylinder-like.
  7. Bake for ~30 minutes or until it’s fairly firm.  Carefully loosen the dough from the baking sheet using a large spatula and move the cylinders off the baking pan and onto a cutting board.  Carefully slice cross-wise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
  8. Put the slices back on the baking sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the dough is firm and crispy.
  9. Good luck trying not to eat them all.  Enjoy!

The 2 main dishes for this Paleo Night were pretty heavy, so I wanted to include something lighter for an appetizer.  This salad is very colourful and refreshing.  It uses a Daikon radish (often called a Chinese radish), which is something I had never used before but will definitely use again in other salads.  

Ingredients (serves 4)

– 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
– 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
– 1 Tbsp sesame oil
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 1/2 Tbsp minced ginger

– 1/3 red cabbage – shredded
– 1/3 Daikon radish – grated
– 1/2 carrot – grated 
– 1/2 red pepper – thinly sliced
– 1/2 orange pepper – thinly sliced
– 1/2 C fresh chopped cilantro


  1. Prep veggies and combine in a large bowl.
  2. Prep dressing by mixing together ingredients.  
  3. Pour onto veggies and mix.   
  4. Enjoy!

This will keep in the fridge for a couple days so you can make a big batch and munch on it all week.

Photo courtesy of Sara Salahub

Another successful Paleo Nights took place this past weekend and before I post the recipes, I wanted to send out some love and appreciation:

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to Paleo Nights #2 – I was thrilled at the turnout and positive responses.  And a special thank you to those who came back after Paleo Nights #1….it means you really did like the food!

Thank you to Sio, birthday girl and the best hostess ever, for hosting the event at her place.  A MASSIVE thank you for organizing the event, responding to all my emails and being my sounding board.  you rule.

Thank you to Crossfit Quantum for asking me to MC these events and for all the amazing support you guys have given me!  Check out their open house this Saturday Feb 27th!

Thank you to the Healthy Butcher for hooking us up with fabulous organic meats and custom coupons!

Thank you to Semi-Primal Husband who has to deal with my neurosis 48 hours before the event when I realize how much cooking I need to do.  He is there every step of the way – making me lunch/dinner, looking after our dogs, grilling 500 pieces of zucchini and eggplant, zesting lemons, running out to get me that 3rd head of lettuce or organic 100% vanilla extract, picking up all the wines and making me laugh when i’m about to lose my mind.   You are the best husband ever. 

The theme of the night was Comfort Foods.  It was all about taking traditional comfort foods and “paleo-izing” them – using substitutions for non-paleo ingredients.  Here is the menu and links to all the recipes:

Southwestern Sliders (mini-burgers)
Paleo Cabbage Rolls

Primal Italian Veal Stew
Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

Cocoa Hazelnut Mousse
Paleo Cupcakes 

Check out all the pictures on my Facebook Fan Page.  

Photo courtesy of Sara Salahub

Eat these in moderation!  Although they are gluten-free/dairy-free, they still contain sugar and should not be part of your regular Paleo/Primal diet.

In celebration of a very special girl’s birthday – Sio’s (one of the founders of Crossfit Quantum) – I wanted to test out my skills to see if I could do the unthinkable….make a Cupcake using paleo-ish ingredients! What the what?!?! Impossible!  No.  The cake was easy as I used the same recipe as my Pineapple Upside-Down cake (sans pineapple)…it was the icing that was going to be the challenge.  After scouring the internet for recipe ideas, I stumbled upon a world of fellow ‘healthy’ bakers – people whose lifestyle is foreign to me, aside from the fact that I heard Demi Moore might subscribe to this way of life – they are Raw foodies.  I highly recommend using “raw” as a search term when looking for recipes because you’ll find some amazing raw food blogs that can provide wonderful inspiration for Paleo meals.  I found the icing recipe from The Sunny Raw Kitchen blog and modified it a bit.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

– 2 Tbsp coconut oil
– 4 Tbsp coconut milk
– 1/2 Cup coconut flour
– 2 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
– 3 eggs
– 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 whole mashed bananas (very ripe)
– 1/4 C toasted coconut shreds (for the garnish on the icing)
– 1/4 Cup macadamia nut butter
– 1/4 Cup coconut milk
– 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (I found mine at The Big Carrot in Toronto).  You could sub raw honey or maple syrup.
– 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (or more)
– 1/4 Tbsp 100% vanilla extract
– 1/8 Cup coconut oil


  1. To make the icing:
    1. Melt the macadamia nut butter (especially if you’ve had it in the fridge) so that it’s smooth and easy to mix.  Melt the coconut oil with the coconut sugar.
    2. Mix all of the icing ingredients together thoroughly.  Refrigerate for a few hours until it’s texture is similar to icing.
  2. For the cupcakes:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 350
    2. In a bowl, mix together coconut flour, salt, baking powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract, bananas and eggs
    3. Melt the coconut oil and honey/maple syrup and then slowly add it to the mix.
    4. Mix together thoroughly and pour into greased (use coconut oil or non-stick spray) muffin baking pan.
    5. Bake for about 20-30 minutes – check after 20 minutes because you might have a better oven.  You want to be able to stick a fork into the middle and have it come out dry.
    6. Remove from oven and let it cool completely (otherwise the icing melts off)
  3. To toast the coconut, spread it out on a baking sheet and pop it into the 350 oven for 5 minutes.  Shake it around and put it back in for another 2 minutes or until it’s toasted.
  4. Spread the icing on top of each and sprinkle with toasted coconut


Photo courtesy of Sara Salahub


For me, comfort food = italian food.  I grew up eating my Italian grandmother’s pasta and meatballs etc.  So yummy.  Ditching pasta was one of the hardest things I did when I went Paleo.  Now I never even crave it.  Zucchini makes an excellent substitute for pasta and I used that and eggplant to make a delicious and filling lasagna.  This version was modified from another Crossfit/Paleo blogger’s recipe – from Jen’s Gone Paleo blog.  I tend to stay away from dairy except a wee bit in my Americano each day, but wanted to use some in this recipe to make it more indulgent.  I used 100% organic Goat’s Milk Cheese, which is permissable under the primal diet.  You don’t need much and a little goes a long way for adding flavour.  For more on dairy and the primal diet, check out Mark’s Daily Apple post on the definitive guide to dairy.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
– 3 large zucchini – ends removed, cut lengthwise into thin slices (1/4 inch thick)
– 1 eggplant – ends removed, cut same as zucchini
– 1 red pepper – quartered, core/seeds removed
– 4 C sliced mushrooms (i used button)
– 2 C cooked spinach (i used frozen organic)
– 1 onion – sliced thinly
– 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
– 1 small can of Tomato Paste
–  2 x 14 oz cans of cherry tomatoes (I like Mara’s because they don’t have other stuff in them)
–  1/2 T dried oregano
– 1 small handful of fresh basil leaves – chopped
– salt and pepper to taste
– 3 Tbsp olive oil 
– 100g organic goat’s milk cheese 


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over the zucchini, red pepper and eggplant slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Rub it around to coat all pieces.
  3. Grill the veggies – You have 2 choices here: You can either roast them (400 degree oven for ~30 min) or grill them on the BBQ.  I had Semi-Primal Husband grill them on the BBQ because i love them this way.
  4. While the veggies are grilling/roasting, start on the sauce.  In a small saucepan, put 1/2 of 1 can of cherry tomatoes and 1 Tbsp of tomato paste.  Let it heat up and leave it on low heat.  Set aside as this is for the top layer of the lasagna.
  5. For the filling sauce: In a larger saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add onion and garlic.  Saute for about 2-3 min.
  6. Add the mushrooms.  Saute another 2 min.  Add the spinach.  Let it cook until the mushrooms have softened.
  7. Add the rest of the cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 can), tomato paste and oregano.  
  8. In a casserole dish, put a thin layer of the filling sauce on the bottom.  Lay 1/2 of the zucchini strips flat – like you would with lasagna pasta.
  9. Put 1/2 of the filling sauce on top of the zucchini.  Layer the eggplant on top and the red pepper.
  10. Put the remainder of the filling sauce on top.  Crumble the goat’s milk cheese on top of the sauce.
  11. Put the remaining zucchini on top and top it off with other tomato sauce you had put aside.  Sprinkle with the fresh basil.
  12. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  13. Enjoy!

This freezes well too.  My Semi-Primal Husband provided the following testimonial, “This is a winner.  This recipe and the cabbage rolls are my new favourites.”