Paleo Performance Foods; 5 Paleo Recipes That Will Help you Recover Like a Champ and Burn Fat like a Caveman

Any good athlete knows what my Living Paleo food sponsor (and uber famous Crossfitter) Dan Bailey always says "Nutrition is the Foundation of all performance." The right recovery food will replace your body with the nutrition it needs for growth  - and allow your body to heal and recover so you can be consistent in your efforts. 

After a workout,  your body needs protein, and a more dense carbohydrate (starchy vegetable). Instead of grabbing a bagel or a bowl of pasta, be Paleo Smart and give your body what its designed to eat; a Paleo approved starchy carb like a  sweet potato, or some spaghetti squash. Pumpkin, Kohlrabi, Jicama, beets are all also a go.  

Side note: Some athletes fuel up on rice or protein shakes for extra energy. This can be Ok for some, as long as your gut is in tip-top shape and you don't have any conditions that are in play (like an autoimmune problem, or intestinal distress). Again, this is why I love Paleo. Because is NOT extreme, but Paleo is your template - you decide how Paleo you want to be based on YOUR needs. However, I always urge people to steer clear of gluten for fuel, because well, in addition to other reasons, it really creates havoc in the gut. Too much to make it really worth it unless its a very once in a while thing... you know, pasta in italy, a special occasion - that kind of thing. 

Here's some recipes that will give you SUPER recovery (not to mention Super Immunity)! 


Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 5 min • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 spaghetti squash, roasted and shredded (about 4 cups) 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil


  1. In a large bowl, mix onion, almond flour, eggs, salt, and pepper with a whisk until combined. Squeeze any excess moisture from the squash with a clean dish towel or paper towels, add to the bowl, and mix well. Allow the batter to rest 10-minutes.
  2. Place 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil in a nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is melted and shimmers. Swivel the pan to coat the bottom. 
  3. Drop 1/4-cup servings of batter into the pan, making sure they don't touch. Cook until browned on the bottom and starting to set, about 4- to 5-minutes. Flip gently and cook the other side until browned, an additional 3- to 4-minutes.
  4. Cook in batches, adding more coconut oil to the pas as necessary. Serve hot. 

Tip: These fritters are great topped with browned ground beef or lamb, served with Hearty Chili or enjoyed alongside grilled meats. 

Vary It! Substitute shredded zucchini for the spaghetti squash! 



Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 40 min • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 ground beef
  • 1/4 ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove plus 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • One 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 8 large basil leaves, slivered
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the speeds with a large spoon. Place squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the water onto the paper around the squash. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the meat, parsley, egg, 1 clove garlic, salt, and black pepper with a fork until combined. Measure a tablespoon of meat and roll into a ball between your palms. Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Place both baking sheets in the oven and set timer for 25- to 30-minutes. 
  5. While the meatballs and squash are roasting, place the coconut oil and 2 cloves garlic in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine, increase heat, and bring to a boil. 
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and reduce heat so sauce is just kept warm. 
  7. When the meatballs are golden brown and cooked through (about 25- to 30-minutes), add them to the tomato sauce to keep them warm. Leave the spaghetti squash in the oven to bake for an additional 10-minutes. 
  8. Remove the squash from the oven and, using a hot pad to hold it, scrape the inside with a fork to shred the squash into spaghetti-like strands. To serve, mound spaghetti squash on individual plates and top with sauce and meatballs.  



    Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 40 min • Yield: 4 servings


    • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
    • 1 tablespoon plus, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, divided
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 2 cups chopped broccoli


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, and cinnamon (if desired). Mix well so that the potatoes are completely covered in oil and spices. 
    3. Place the potatoes in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 30-minutes, turning the mixture once. Remove from the oven and set aside. 
    4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large skillet until it's liquid and shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook until the onions are soft. 
    5. Add the beef to the onions and garlic, breaking up the beef as it browns. Drain the excess fat; remove the beef from the skillet and set aside. 
    6. Add the remaining coconut oil to the skillet and heat until the oil is liquid and shimmering. Add the broccoli to pan and cook until it's bright green. 
    7. Add the cooked beef and the sweet potatoes to the broccoli, mix well, and heat through. Serve immediately.

    Tip: You can roast the sweet potatoes the day before.

    Tip: This recipes is a great recovery food after a Paleo workout! Make this delicious meal in bulk.  



    Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 30 min • Yield: 8 servings


    • 2 pounds ground pork
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • Pinch of ground cinnamon
    • Pinch of ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon dried chives
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
    • 4 ounces fried pork rinds, optional
    • 1 raw egg, optional


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
    2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, tarragon, parsley, chives, and garlic. Knead with your hands until well mixed. 
    3. Divide the pork mixture into 8 equal servings. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a pancake shape. Wrap the meat around a hard-boiled egg, rolling it between your palms until the egg is evenly covered. 
    4. Place the meat-wrapped eggs on the baking sheet. 
    5. If desired, place the pork rinds in the bowl of the food processor and process until they resemble bread crumbs; pour them onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat the raw eggs. 
    6. Gently roll each wrapped egg in pork rind crumbs to get a thin dusting. Roll in the raw eggs and then roll a second time in the crushed pork rinds to evenly coat. Place on the baking sheet. 
    7. Bake for 25-minutes; increase the temperature to 400 degrees and bake an additional 5 to 10-minutes, until the meat balls are golden brown and crisp. 

    Tip: Moisten your hands with a little water if the raw meat sticks to them while you're wrapping the eggs.

    Note: If you use pork rinds, make sure they're all natural and contain just pork and salt-- no MSG or other additives. A good brand is Carolina Gold Nuggets. 

    Recipe Courtesy of Melissa Joulwan (  



    Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 1 hr • Yield: 6 servings


    • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
    • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • 1/2 pound bacon
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 small apple, peeled and chopped
    • 3 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, to taste
    • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Toss the squash and carrots with the coconut oil. Arrange the mixture in a baking dish and roast uncovered for 35-minutes or until tender. 
    3. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Sauté the onion and apple in the bacon fat until tender, about 5-minutes. 
    4. Add the squash, carrots, chicken stock, and coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring often. 
    5. Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend your soup until smooth. (Alternately, you can blend the soup in a food processor or blender in several small batches and return it to the pot.) 
    6. Bring the blended soup to a simmer and season with the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Serve in large bowls garnished with crumbled bacon or freeze and save for later.  

    Recipe Courtesy of George Bryant (