Depending on the amount of guests you’re having, timing of the
ordeal dinner, and everyone’s particular dietary wants and needs, you’re going to want to have enough nosh-ables available so that you can take care of getting dinner together without stressing too much.
There’s so much to do on Turkey Day that I don’t feel the need to stress out over things like this.
Putting some baby carrots, sliced zucchini or cucumber, green beans, florets of raw broccoli and cauliflower on a platter with a Paleo-friendly dip (like the Black Olive Tapenade below, Guacamole, or one of my favorites, Baba Ghanoush) make a quick and easy starter everyone can enjoy.
While I’m not a big fan of the store-bought varieties of these (the produce is usually gross), Costco does a pretty good job putting together a reasonably fresh Veggie Platter. Broccoli, celery, baby carrots, pea pods and cherry tomatoes all in one. You will most likely need to ditch the tub of ranch dressing that comes with it and substitute something more Paleo friendly, but in a pinch, not terrible.
This is something that everyone in the family loves (I’ll have to wrestle my kids away from the platter) and couldn’t be simpler. Might as well kick it off with some good protein and a cocktail sauce with some bite.
1 lb of shrimp, cleaned and deveined
You can use store bought, pre-cooked shrimp or cook you’re own. As I’m trying to save time and de-stress, I’m going for the store bought variety (mea culpa, mea culpa). Chill the shrimp and arrange on platter when ready to serve. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
For the sauce, I really don’t want to use the corn syrup laden stuff that comes from the store and don’t really want to make the “Caveman Ketchup” popular on some sites. I found this recipe and it looks like a tasty dip that can be whipped up in a jiffy.
Caveman Shenanigans’ Cocktail Sauce: (recipe here)
2 Ripe Tomatoes
3-4 Tbsp Horseradish
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Put everything into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Adjust seasonings to taste.
Black Olive Tapenade
This is my recipe for Black Olive Tapenade (sorry green olive lovers) and I love this only slightly more than my kids do. Whenever I make this, its gone in a flash. The trick is getting the perfect balance of the black olives, garlic and sun dried tomatoes to your liking. Trust me, it’ll be one tasty experiment!
1 can of Large Pitted Black Olives
2 cloves of Garlic, or more to taste (peeled and chopped)
3 – 4 Sun Dried Tomatoes (rehydrated and chopped)
3 tbsp of Capers (drained)
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
3 tbsp of Olive Oil (more if needed)
- Put everything except the olive oil into a food processor.
- Add 1 tbsp of the oil and begin by pulsing the mixture a few times.
- From here, drizzle in some more of the oil and process until you get the desired consistency. I personally like my tapenade a bit chunky and don’t like to over process.
- Scoop into a bowl and serve with sliced vegetables or some of the Gluten-free Herbed Crackers.
- Note: this is really good with a little Chèvre goat cheese.
Gluten-Free Rosemary Crackers
One of the first books I purchased after going Paleo was Elana Amsterdam’s “Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook”. While there are hundreds of “gluten-free” recipe books out there, they are usually chemistry experiments using all sorts of starch based flours, gums, sweeteners, thickeners and other “ingredients” that are trying to recreate processed food-like substances.
Elana’s stands apart by using very simple ingredients; mainly almond flour, grape seed oil and agave nectar. I make them a bit more paleo but substituting olive or coconut oil for the grape seed oil and honey for the agave nectar. NOTE: Interestingly, Elana has recently gone to a Paleo diet as well and is modifying many of her recipes to be Paleo-compliant. Welcome to the tribe, Elana!
This recipe for crackers is a nutritious way to get your crunch on. For party situations where there are dips and spreads and what not, I can tell you from experience that a bowl of these crackers will not last very long in a crowd of hungry eaters, Paleo or otherwise. The fact that they are easy to make is a bonus!
For the recipe, please view it here on Elana’s site. If you’re not familiar with her site or book, check them out, you will be glad you did.
While I don’t eat much cheese, this will be an opportunity to indulge in the dairy arts. My favorite is a little creamy Chèvre Goat Cheese, but will also put out some Brie and a bit of Pepper Jack for some variety and spice. Dairy, for me, is definitely in the “treat” category and will be eaten in moderation.