Guide to Paleo Substitutes
There are many Paleo bread alternatives that you can make that will give you a similar texture and feel to that of grain based breads (such as coconut bread), a simple Google search for recipes will put you in the right place. Alternatively, look to use lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves as a wrap, two portobello mushrooms for a burger ‘bun’, fill half a bell pepper with sandwich ingredients or even look into sweet potato sliders.
Rice & Couscous
Cauliflower ‘couscous’ and cauliflower ‘rice’ will be your best substitutes for these two grains. Being simple to make, cauliflower may just become a staple vegetable within your Paleo kitchen.
Pasta & Noodles
The ever so popular vegetable ‘pasta’ (like zucchini noodles) are your solution here. Of course, you will yield a completely different texture while having more flavor to that of grain based pasta and noodles, but that is true for everything you read in this substitutes list. Pasta & noodle makers for vegetables are extremely popular and will save you time even if you’re experienced in using kitchen knives. Don’t look past spaghetti squash either – that’s a true winner!
Almond flour, coconut flour and chestnut flour are all perfect for Paleo cakes, muffins, pancakes and even breads. However, using paleo friendly flour alternatives are not always something you can match cup for cup with grain based flour recipes, therefor it is always best to have a recipe that has been tried and tested using these flour ingredients. With consideration to the growth of Paleo and gluten-free diets these recipes are easily sourced.
Granola / Muesli
No more oats? Great! Now you can have a tastier breakfast and one that’s far more nutritious! Using nuts is the answer to a paleo granola, toasted with some coconut oil and honey and adding variety with fruits, spices and/or cocoa powder – the list of ideas is almost endless.
Think of moussaka (eggplant lasagna) and go from there. Thinly slice vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and sweet potato and use in place of pasta lasagna sheets. This spicy Paleo lasagna is a great example of ‘lasagna sheets’.
— Dairy —
Your options are far greater than dairy based milks when it comes to Paleo alternatives. Nut milks ranging from almond, hazelnut, walnut and coconut can be made as easily as placing nuts and water in a blender then straining through a nut-milk bag. Hemp seed milk is building in popularity due to its amazing nutrient profile and high Omega-3 content.
Place a can of coconut cream in the fridge and allow the fat to solidify. Discard of the liquid and use only the solidified fat as a great alternative to cream, you can even whip it for a whipped cream alternative. Cashew butter also works well but as cashews aren’t considered 100% Paleo, another alternative is almond butter that has been made at home after removing the brown skins.
It may seem odd at first but give it a go.. finely grate some Brazil nuts in place of Parmesan cheese, it really does work as a wonderful substitute!
Coconut kefir is an amazing yoghurt and very easy to make at home. If needing yoghurt for a recipe, coconut cream can work in many cases.
Where to start.. maybe alphabetical.. agave nectar, coconut sugar, dates, dried fruits, maple syrup, stevia, honey, lucuma powder, xylitol (birch tree sugar)… so many options!
Acids & Sour
Lemon or lime juice and apple cider vinegar are the healthiest paleo options.
Sea salt, himalayan crystal salt (both used in moderation), capers, olives and/or anchovies.
Tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces are going to consist of ingredients that are not only over processed but also are not paleo (such as sugar and preservatives). Making your own ketchup recipe from fresh ingredients will yield the best flavor for your meals and/or use organic tomato passata or tomato paste.
Use ingredients to add that heat to your meals, including but not limited to horseradish, chilli flakes, chilli oil and cayenne pepper.
It’s important to know your limits when it comes to substitutions, use the following only when they will work, none of them are a straight-up alternative to dairy cream. Mayonnaise, coconut cream, almond satay sauce, tahini.
It’s time to avoid vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil (mostly GMO these days) and corn oil (not paleo but also chances are it’s GMO). Use coconut oil for cooking with high heat, ghee (clarified butter) also handles high temperatures well. Use olive oil only on medium-high heat (never to smoking point!).
Olive oil will always be a favorite but don’t limit yourself, the health benefits of oils are almost endless when you consider the ability to use; flaxseed oil, macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, hemp seed oil, sesame seed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, pecan oil, hazelnut oil, pine nut oil, pistachio oil.. you get the idea!