"Oh, goody, a caveman Thanksgiving,” joked Patrick when I told him we were hosting my hardcore-paleo sister this year. “No dairy, no grain, no thanks.” I figured I could shut him up with the turkey, but I wanted help with the rest.
E.A.T. Marketplace in Temecula (951-694-3663) is offering a whole host of paleo Thanksgiving dishes to go. “Our stuffing [$6–$24, depending on portion size] is made with our paleo bread,” explained chef Leah Delyte. “The bread, in turn, is made with an almond and coconut flour base. And we don’t use a ton of it; I like to keep anything high-carbohydrate on the low side of the ingredient list. So the stuffing has a lot of roasted eggplant and sausage and fennel. We also do organic mashed potatoes: the paleo version [also $6–$24] has no dairy, just garlic and olive oil. But we also do a version with a little bit of grass-fed butter. We can make it with sweet potatoes, too, but most people seem to prefer the regular.
Paleo veggie sides include “green bean casserole [$6–$24] made with a cashew nut base, and carrots or yams [$4–$16] roasted with olive oil and a little maple syrup. Ordinarily, they feature a little grass-fed butter, but you can opt out of that. And we have paleo rolls [$9 for six], which are grain-free, but they’re not hard like your traditional gluten-free roll.”
As Delyte spoke, my mind was already drifting to desserts. “The pie crust we use features a pecan-nut base. We offer a pumpkin pie [$59 for ten-slice pie, $7.95 for a slice] made with organic pumpkin, maple syrup, and coconut milk. Plus, we soak cashews, swell them, and cream them down so that they act like a kind of cream cheese. It’s delicious. Then we have an apple gallette [$29] made with the same pecan-nut crust and sweetened with a bit of maple syrup.” (Delyte acknowledged that the pies “aren’t cheap. Four years ago, things like coconut flour and organic nuts were not that expensive. But now that they’re in demand, prices have gone through the roof.”)
“We’ve been doing this for eight years, and we really have the recipes down,” concludes Delyte. “We want everyone to eat clean, good food. We want people who have alternative diets to eat good food, not food that is dry and bland.” All orders must be received by November 18, with pickup on November 23.
Every year, Stephanie Gaudreau — a San Diegan who runs the website Stupid Easy Paleo — makes “an apple-cranberry sweet potato bake for Thanksgiving. It’s become a family favorite. Nothing says autumn like sweet potatoes and apples. I chop them both and bake them in the oven to let the flavors marry and concentrate. And the carmelized edges are sweet. Cranberries, notorious for their tart, almost bitter flavor, combine perfectly with the sweet potatoes and sweet apples. Finally, cinnamon adds a subtle, spicy warmth. Another favorite is my rosemary balsamic butternut squash. The squash gets carmelized around the edges, then it’s drizzled with sweetened balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with woodsy rosemary.” Of course, turkey remains the star of the meal. “We complement it with gluten-free gravy, lots of vegetables, and fresh cranberry sauce. Dessert is usually a crust-free variation on pumpkin pie.”
Curious, I kept searching for paleo treats. “My most popular dessert is my paleo chocolate-chip cookie [$42 for 14],” said Christina Sanini of Pavona Dolci (858-204-7756). “They contain all-organic almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda, and paleo chocolate chips. They’re filling, and they do not compromise on flavor. People are surprised how dense and yummy they are. I do require 48-hour notice for paleo desserts, and I accept phone orders or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). My last day to deliver before Thanksgiving would be November 23.”
And Muriel at Paleo Treats in Barrio Logan (619-403-5424) announced, “We have just launched a new treat, the Rocket Brownie. It’s made from cocoa powder, espresso, almonds, eggs, honey, and cocoa butter. Other customer favorites include the Bendito, which is comparable to a peanut butter cup, and the Mustang Bar, which is a creamy vanilla nutty bar. All treats are $5.75, or $69 for a dozen. They can be purchased at the store or online.”