If you are feeling bored with the same ol', same ol' paleo recipes in your repertoire, I think it's time for you to check out Mediterranean Paleo by Caitlin Weeks, Nabil Boumrar, and Diane Sanfilippo. It will bring to life a whole new cuisine with exciting and vibrant flavors to your paleo dinner table.
I have to admit that Medierranean cuisine is one that I am least familiar with, so flipping through the pages of this beautifully laid out book showed me many recipes I am totally unfamiliar with. Yes, I know some things like pizza and pasta (I've got my reader-favorite AIP pizza crust recipe from last summer, after all!), but there are a lot more exotic dishes in this cookbook that I had never heard of but am interested to try.
For example, the Jelbana, the Dolmas, M'touam, and Chakchouka all look absolutely delicious, but I've never been exposed to those recipes before in the past! Of course there are more familiar recipes, too, like paleo falafel, hummus, pita bread (yes, really!), moussaka, and biscotti cookies.
There are over 150 recipes inside which are all SUPER allergy and special diet friendly. It's so awesome that the authors took the care and time to put notes and ingredient swaps in every. single. recipe. There's a little chart in the bottom left of each recipe with these categories: nut-free, egg-free, low FODMAP, AIP-friendly, SCD/GAPS, and lower carb. For each, it either says "yes" or gives a suggestion for ingredient swaps/omissions to make the recipe compliant for each diet. In some cases there are just no substitutions, but it is still an INCREDIBLE feature of this book that really sets it apart from other paleo cookbooks!
There are also two 30-day shopping lists - one for folks without any special restrictions beyond paleo, and one for those following the autoimmune protocol. Major score!
I love new recipes that use ground meat, so one in particular that caught my eye was the kefta lamb kebabs. I had never heard of kefta before, but it actually takes ground meat and basically purees it with vegetables and seasonings. The end result is silky smooth and almost like a sausage with no casing.
It is amazing what the right combination of seasonings can do to transform simple meat into something incredible. The blend of herbs and spices in these kebabs really does make you feel like you are eating fancy restaurant food in your own home.
Note: the recipe says to use a food processor, but I actually don't own one! I used my stick blender with it's 2 cup mixing container instead, pureeing the onion first, then adding in the herbs, and then I added all of that to a large bowl with the ground lamb and used the blender to mix it all together. It worked out great!
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did! And be sure to check out the cookbook - it is a real masterpiece and has something that EVERYONE will love eating (and that everyone can eat, which is even more important!)
Persian Kefta Lamb Kebabs
This version of a kebab uses spices common in Persia (modern-day Iran), a cradle of ancient civilization where many Mediterranean dishes originated. At one time the Persian Empire spread all the way to Turkey and Egypt. The variety of fresh herbs in this dish results in amazing flavor that will make you feel like you are eating restaurant food at home.
- 1 medium white onion, peeled
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil, melted
- In a food processor, pulse the onioni until it is finely chopped. Add the ground lamb, spices, and herbs to the food processor.
- Pulse the lamb mixture several times until well mixed, and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes.
- Split the lamb mixture into 3-ounce pieces. Form each piece into the shape of a sausage, then place it on a metal or wooden skewer.
- Heat a grill pan on the stovetop or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill pan or grill grate with the melted fat.
- Place the skewers on the grill pan or grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium doneness, or until cooked to your preferred temperature.
- Chef's tip: If the skewers are turned too much, the meat will become chewy and overcooked. cook them on one side for 3 to 5 minutes and then turn, and do not cook the same side again.
- Nutritionist's note: Look for lamb that is 100 percent grass-fed, as it will have an ideal anti-inflammatory ratio of fatty acids. Lamb is also very high in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps balance the brain for good sleep and a happy mood. If you do not have access to organic, 100 percent grass-fed meat, choose leaner conventional meat to avoid the toxins and hormones that are stored in fat. Then, during cooking, add your own fat from clean sources, such as ghee, grass-fed butter, or coconut oil.