Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined coconut oil is an absolute must for anybody who wants to follow the paleo diet. This heart-healthy oil is packed with nutrients and can be used in a variety of recipes, including stir-fry meals, gluten-free banana bread, and paleo fudge cups. Nearly every paleo recipe online or in grain-free cookbooks requires coconut oil.
Fry up some eggs in coconut oil and eat them on homemade paleo muffins, or create a decadent paleo fudge out of coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, and almond butter. You can also use smooth, creamy coconut oil as a conditioner, shaving cream, facial lotion, or full-body moisturizer.
You can’t survive consuming nothing but coconut oil, though. Read on to learn the other 9 must-have items for your paleo pantry.
Almond Meal or Almond Flour
Almond meal and almond flour are not the same thing, but sometimes they can be used interchangeably. Ground almond blends lend a smooth, rich taste to baked goods, fried treats, and creamy casseroles. Many recipes combine almond flour and coconut flour to replicate the texture commonly found in foods made from wheat.
You can buy almond meal or almond flour at health food stores and grocery stores. If you can only find almond meal, invest in a good food processor or blender so you can ground it up finely for recipes that require flour rather than meal.
Raw cashews provide so many options for people on the paleo diet. Soak them in water for a few hours, overnight if possible, to make cashew butter or cashew milk. Soaked and blended raw cashews make great bases for paleo salad dressings or marinades, and you can also use them to create dairy-like fillings for paleo cheesecakes and paleo cookie dough.
Craving something more savory? Roast raw cashews in the oven after coating them with olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt.
When you stock your paleo pantry, make sure it includes raw honey, not processed honey. Processed honey is definitely not paleo because it’s often packed with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, or hard-to-pronounce additives.
If you’re new to the paleo lifestyle, remember that paleo people do not eat refined sugar. They sweeten foods with raw honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar.
Even if you have raw honey on hand, you should still keep a few bottles of pure maple syrup in your pantry. Maple syrup lends a rich, sweet flavor to everything from paleo fudge to cubed butternut squash, and you can even boil it to make your own paleo candy.
Coconut milk is often used as a dairy substitute for paleo recipes. Some people mistakenly assume paleo folks eat dairy, but they are typically thinking of the primal diet. Some paleo eaters do consume grassfed butter and ghee in moderation, but most rely on non-dairy milks like coconut milk to make gluten-free pancakes, grain-free breads, and dairy-free dressings.
Have you noticed that paleo people are all about coconut products? That’s because they’re packed with nutrients and have a mild taste that pairs well with a variety of foods.
Coconut flour is thick and fluffy. A little goes a long way, and it’s often combined with almond meal or tapioca starch in recipes for paleo desserts or breads.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Chocolate isn’t just for desserts, but you can make paleo treats with unsweetened cocoa powder. Many paleo eaters use unsweetened cocoa powder to lend a kick to paleo “rice” (ground cauliflower), chicken tenders, and root vegetables.
Almond butter is a convenient, tasty food that can be eaten on its own or incorporated into paleo recipes. You can also use it as a dip for paleo pretzels, apple slices, and banana chips.
Tapioca flour creates fluffy breads and muffins for folks who can’t eat – or choose not to eat – grains or gluten. You can use it alone to thicken homemade soups or paleo pie fillings, or combine it with almond meal and coconut flour for baked goods like grain-free brownies, gluten-free cakes, and paleo biscuits.