In a previous post I mentioned that The Boyfriend and I (and 11 of our friends and relatives that I annoyed into submission) would be doing a Whole30 challenge this month. This is my second time doing it, and I had great results in terms of health and how I felt after the first one we did in November 2015 (pro-tip: would not recommend doing it over a major holiday).
This past week, after all the holiday festivities, I Whole30-fied our entire fridge and pantry – ditched all the things that make us sick and we should avoid longterm (anything with soy, really) and hid all the other indulgent stuff that wasn’t going to expire for a while (mostly just the hot fudge and the balsamic glaze). With so many of our friends (and my mom!) doing Whole30 for the first time, I was reminded just how much work went into the “spices and condiments” category of finding approved foods. Even for the basics, like salad dressing, the compliant options available to us are often limited at best. Five years into the slow carb game and on the heels of my second Whole30 and a new paleo life, here are the spice blends, condiments, and other pantry staples I rely on to get meals done. Each item will be labeled for Paleo, Whole30, and/or Slow Carb.
Let me know in the comments if you guys like this “Essentials” series, I’ve got plenty more ideas!
Teeny Tiny Spice Company Tandoori Masala – paleo, whole30, slow carb – Sadly my beloved British Curry is not Whole30 compliant due to some added maple sugar (ok for paleo), but the brand’s Tandoori Masala is an excellent consolation prize. I love to use it in my Indian style chicken curries with onions, garlic, and broccoli. It also makes a great marinade mixed with coconut milk for slow cooked chicken, crispy chicken thighs*, and lamb too.
* this recipe calls for both the British Curry and Tandoori Masala blends, you can definitely just use the Tandoori Masala! I would probably add some turmeric for good measure.
These tasty dudes went up on slowcarbsnacktime.com yesterday, along with a little layout update! Head directly to the blog or click the link in my bio for these CRISPY CURRY CHICKEN THIGHS 😍 so good, and so easy to make 🍗 . . . . #slowcarb #slowcarbsnacktime #lowcarb #slowcarbdiet #food #foodporn #foodography #photooftheday #igdaily #foodblogger #glutenfree #protein #primal #paleo #mealprep #mealplan #dinner #dinnertogether #recipe #newpost #linkinbio #chicken #blogger #blog
Thai & True Thai Red/Yellow Curry paste – paleo, whole30, slow carb – If you follow me on Instagram and have been catching my “instastories” lately… you may be sick of seeing these by now. I picked up this Thai Red Curry on a total whim, mostly just out of excitement that it was Whole30 compliant. Oh my goodness. I went through three jars of this stuff in the month leading up to Whole30, and I just bought another four. I even reached out to the brand, a local Portland establishment, to see if I could pick up the larger size jars directly because my grocery store doesn’t sell the 12oz size (they responded and said yes, you weirdo, you can come get bigger jars from us). So far, I have used these curry pastes with and without coconut milk for: chicken, shrimp, pork, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, onions, and garlic. Every single concoction has been unbelievably delicious. Even The Boyfriend has been clearing his plate, and he’s not usually one for curries at the frequency that I want to eat them. I add one tablespoon for every pound of main ingredients*, and that proportion has been great so far. Most of my concoctions have just been variations of the Thai Red Curry Chicken I posted a few weeks ago, which brings us to our next pantry necessity…
* for the purposes of this post, I’m defining main ingredient as animal protein + dominant vegetables (e.g. not garlic/onion). So if I used a pound of chicken plus 10oz each of broccoli and sweet potato , I’d use two generous tablespoons of curry paste.
Thai Chili Powder – paleo, whole30, slow carb – Easily one of my best dry spice purchases in recent history, this stuff will melt your face off. I’m not joking. I use 1/8 tsp in my curries (usually about two pounds of main ingredients) and it is plenty hot for both The Boyfriend and myself. I have not yet used it in any other dishes, but that’s only because I’ve been making some variation of protein+vegetables curry 3-4 times/week lately. It’s super strong, but flavorful too, and will make a fantastic addition to any spice lover’s pantry.
The Savory Spice Shop Tarragon Shallot Citrus Seasoning – paleo, whole30 – A little surprised by how much I liked this one, it was an impulse buy at an adorable spice shop The Boyfriend and I visited in Bend and it is absolutely perfect with every piece of food I have tried it on. We’ve used it to season rockfish, I’ve mixed it in mayo for a twist on shrimp cocktail, and it was pretty great in some pork burgers we made too – almost like an exceptionally lazy version of my scallion tarragon pork burgers we fell in love with a few summers ago… which I just realized are not actually on the blog, guess I know what I’m cooking next week!
Togarashi – paleo, whole30, slow carb – This Japanese blend of peppers, sesame seeds, and ginger is a winter staple in our house for the faux-pho we eat multiple times/week. Bone broth, bok choy, compliant pork sausage or eggs, and… that’s pretty much it. Smother it in togarashi and you’ve got that comfort food you’re craving without having to leave your house, or even put pants on.
Dinner tonight: pork sausage, green peas, and eggs poached in chicken broth with togarashi and freeze dried scallions 👌 . . . . #dinnertogether #dinnertonight #dinner #soup #protein #eggs #togarashi #slowcarb #paleo #glutenfree #food #foodporn #foodography #igdaily #instafood #norecipe #kitchenadventures #mealprep
Tessemae’s Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette – paleo, whole30, slow carb – This is a year-round obsession for me, Whole30 or not. I’m not sure what it is about Tessemae’s dressings, but I have never been so excited about salad in my life. It’s just the perfect combination of flavors, like a chemically engineered bliss point, but without any of the junk. This is definitely one of those things where… when the salad is all gone, I will totally drink what’s left in the bottom of the bowl. Sorry not sorry. (I’ve had a few people tell me Tessemae products are hard to find – they are available for purchase online, but I have found them at my local Whole Foods in both PA and OR in the refrigerated section near the salad greens!)
Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Caesar Dressing – paleo, whole30, slow carb – Another Tessemae’s champion! The funny thing about products like this that are made with whole foods and fresh ingredients is that, even when you’re not on Whole30 and even if you decide you want to indulge for the day, these are just SO good that I would choose them anyway. This isn’t “good for Whole30 caesar dressing,” this is just genuinely freaking fantastic caesar dressing and I want to eat it with salad greens and chicken on a regular basis.
SCST Cocky Cajun Seasoning (Homemade) – paleo, whole30, slow carb – Cocky Cajun Seasoning is one of my oldest recipes, one I shared in the first few months of SlowCarbSnacktime. This stuff is a MUST in my house. It’s great on meat, it’s great on eggs, it’s just a really easy “go to” when you just want to eat as soon as humanly possible. I’ve used it mixed with oil as a rub for smoking pork loin, we’ve thrown it on shrimp for a super quick sautee, it’s just a fantastic blend to keep in the house for any time you’re not feeling particularly creative, but still want plenty of flavor.
Animal Fats – paleo, whole30, slow carb – This may seem like the odd one out on this list, but hear me out. Cooking with animal fats is not a particularly new thing, and it’s not new to my life or to this blog, but it’s something I really enjoy during Whole30. There is something to be said for a giant batch of vegetables pan roasted in Berkshire pork lard or chicken schmaltz, or even duck fat like in this Duck Duck Asparagus recipe I wrote almost five years ago. I love using beef tallow to grease the glassware before baking my Default Wings, I mean there’s a reason why 80/20 beef makes the best burgers. If you’re using high quality product from well-loved animals, these high-smoke-point buddies can absolutely hang out with your coconut, avocado, and olive oils.