Thursday, January 10, 2013

How to Party like a Caveman: A Paleo Birthday Dinner

Happy 20th Birthday to my sweet, hilarious little sister who has been rocking her gf/paleo/mostly-vegan (she does eat some egg like Goosey and I do) diet for the past 90 days like a champ.  I was determined to throw her a de-lish birthday dinner and, not to brag (too much), but I'm pretty sure I delivered.  Here are the recipes:
For our table of ten, I pulled the following meal together in less than 90 minutes:

Cold tomato/pea salad
Roasted Asparagus
Spicy Veggie Stew
Macaroni & Cheese
Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting and Raspberries
Sparkling red and white grape juices


This salad is super easy to whip together.  It's a good recipe to use up odd veggies since most veggies taste good with this dressing.  Toss the following ingredients together in a bowl and serve chilled:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 large cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup Soy-Free Vegenaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS agave syrup
  • 1 tsp Herbs de' Provence seasoning
  • 1 pinch of salt if you need it 


Pre-heat oven to 425.  Wash two bunches of asparagus and remove the tough ends.  Keep the stems long.  Spread them in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt.  Roast on top rack of oven for 8 minutes.  Use tongs to flip.  Roast for another 8 minutes or until asparagus is charring and soft.  Serve on a platter with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.


This recipe was a concoction I threw together with what I had in the kitchen that miraculously tasted AWESOME.  I just hope I can recall the recipe here so you can get the same results.  Here goes:


  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 4 yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 1 lb green beans, snipped into 1" lengths
  • 1 bag frozen diced carrots
  • 1 bag frozen butter beans
  • 3/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach leaves

  • 2 large cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 box low-sodium veggie broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 TBS tuscan seasoning blend (pictured above)
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or more to taste)

  • 1 box tofu "burger" crumbles (pictured above)
  • 1 bag tofu Shirataki macaroni noodles, rinsed (pictured above)


In a LARGE stock pot, sweat out the first ten ingredients for about 8 minutes on medium high heat.   Add the broth ingredients, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until all veggies are fork tender.  Sprinkle the burger crumbles and a ladle-full of noodles to the bottom of each bowl, then top with the hot soup.  Enjoy.


Because we had "normal" eaters at the party, I did make this dish non-paleo for them to eat.  So this is gluten free and vegan, but NOT paleo because I used rice noodles and rice-based vegan cheese.

  • 1 bag Tinkyada spiral rice noodles
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Soy-Free Vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 bag Daiya mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven to 425 and set rack to middle position or lower.  (For this party, I put the mac & cheese in the oven at the same time I roasted the asparagus to conserve energy and time).  In a large pot, partially boil the rice noodles, approximately 6 minutes.  In a greased 13x9 pan, mix the other ingredients together.  When noodles are partially boiled (firm, but not crunchy) and drained, toss them in the pan with the cheese blend to cover.  Noodles should be wet from the milk so they can continue to boil while baking.  If the noodles are dry, splash a little extra milk over the top (wetter is better than dryer).  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until top becomes golden brown. 


I cannot sing the praises of Elana Amsterdam, author of The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook' enough.  She is my hero.  Seriously.   As you know, I am NOT a baker, especially not when it comes to making paleo recipes from scratch.  But Elana's recipes are so easy, I can actually make them WITH SUCCESS.  So this is my pride of the party: the cake.  (NOTE: the cake and frosting are gluten free and paleo, but NOT VEGAN because they use egg.  You can probably use substitutes, but I haven't tried.)

Here is Elana's recipes from page 84 of her cookbook (which I am doubling here to make both layers of the cake):

  • 4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups agave nectar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 TBS vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 9" cake pans, lining the bottom with cut out circles of parchment paper to prevent sticking.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed (I suggest using a stand mixer for this to save your shoulder).   Scoop the batter evenly into the two prepared pans.  Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool for one hour before frosting and serving.


  • 1/2 c agave nectar
  • 2 egg whites

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the agave nectar to a boil, stirring frequently.  Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 4-8 minutes, watching constantly and stirring occasionally, until the agave nectar darkens slightly from its original amber color.  In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.  Drizzle the agave nectar slowly into the egg whites, whisking continuously until blended.  Use to frost cake.  Store in glass Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

I thought the birthday dinner went off without a hitch and tasted wonderful.  I hope my sister thought so too.

Can you guess which party guest LOVED the pea salad and the raspberries off the top of the cake?

Yep.  This girl!  Goose consumed almost an entire pint of raspberries on her own and loved every bite of it.  

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me that the food you got here for your sister's party are for a royal ball. Especially the raspberry chocolate cake, and take note, this will not mess up my vegetarian diet cause every ingredients you used in it are vegetables.


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