The paleolithic diet, often simply called paleo, is a dietary plan that favors foods eaten by early humans before agricultural development, like lean meats, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. That also means limiting dairy, beans, grains, highly processed foods and refined sugar. Looking to kickstart your diet? Anyone trying to lose weight or jumpstart a cleaner way of eating might enjoy these three paleo island recipes that are just as tasty as they are healthy.

*Always consult with your primary care physician before starting a new diet.

Saltfish Accra 

These delicious salted cod and herb fritters are paleo, Whole-30 and AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet friendly, using cassava flour, coconut oil and tapioca starch as substitutes for grains and dairy. For a vegan version of this dish, try this tasty recipe!

Paleo Island Recipes To Kickstart Your Diet

What you need

  • 1 pound frozen deboned salted cod
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped 
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, finely chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • ½ of a lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup cassava flour 
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tapioca starch 
  • ¼ cup coconut milk 
  • Coconut oil for frying

What to do

  1. Soak the cod in water for 15-20 minutes to rehydrate and desalinate before cooking
  2. Set a large pot of water to boil on high heat. Strain the cod and add to the boiling water. Boil for 8-9 minutes then change the water and boil again for another 10 minutes. 
  3. Once a majority of the saltiness has been removed, strain and add to a large bowl.
  4. Shred the cod and add red onion, green onion, garlic, cilantro, thyme and lime juice. Mix until combined.
  5. Add the coconut milk and stir. Adding one teaspoon at a time, fold in the tapioca starch and cassava flour until the mixture thickens into a loose dough-like consistency. Scoop out a tablespoon of the batter, roll into a ball with your hands and set aside. Continue until the batter is gone.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on medium heat in a frying pan. Add a few of the balls into the oil and cook until crispy and golden (about 5 minutes). Continue this same process with the remaining balls, discarding the old oil and heating new oil each time a new batch goes in. If too many are cooked at a time, the oil will cool and soak into the balls rather than getting them crispy.
  7. Place cooked balls onto a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Pat dry. Enjoy!

Creole Shrimp and Andouille

This one-pot meal featuring paleo and gluten-free ingredients is perfect for those looking for a dish with a spicy hit to kickstart your diet.


Paleo Island Recipes To Kickstart Your Diet

What you need

  • 12 ounces of Andouille sausage
  • ½ pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes or red pepper flakes
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup chicken broth

What to do

  1. In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the shrimp and stir constantly until the shrimp is transparent in the center, about 2-3 minutes depending on size. Transfer cooked shrimp to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add more olive oil to the skillet and sauté the onions, peppers, zucchini and garlic together. 
  3. Add the sausage and cook covered about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until browned.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and chicken broth.
  5. Add basil, thyme, oregano and pepper flakes, stirring between each addition. 
  6. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the shrimp and stir until the flavors are incorporated. 
  7. Eat alone or pour over natural rice.

Plantain Casserole

This flavorful Puerto Rican casserole is paleo, AIP and Whole30 friendly and is one of the heartiest paleo island recipes.

Paleo Island Recipes To Kickstart Your Diet

What you need

For the bottom layer and topping:

  • 2 ripe yellow plantains
  • ½ pound cassava or yucca
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons green olives (Castelvetrano olives, if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

What to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the mash layer, boil the plantains and cassava or yucca in a large pot until tender. Remove the skins and blend with salt and pepper. Layer half the mash onto the bottom of a casserole dish and leave the other half in the pot. Set aside. 
  2. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic together until softened. Add in cilantro and thyme. Stir.
  3. Add the ground beef with salt and pepper and cook until browned.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the capers, olives and coconut aminos to saute for about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the beef mixture over the layer of the plantain mash in the casserole dish.  Add the remaining  mash for the final layer and top with sliced plantains. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.

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