Writing a cookbook is not easy. It’s a long, arduous labor of love full of frustration, lack of sleep, and looming deadlines. I don’t know about you, but my senior year of high school was kind of the same way. The pressure to get into a good college, decide the course my future would take, and make the most of my last few months with friends I’d known my entire life had me on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I can’t imagine writing a book and tackling high school at the same time. But that’s just what eighteen-year-old Joshua Weissman did.
After losing more than 100 pounds simply by switching to real food on an ancestral template, Josh became motivated to share his story and help others do the same. He turned his own high school struggles as a bullied teen into a promising career as the blogger behind Slim Palate. His blog features a wide variety of real-food recipes, gorgeous photography, and resources to reconnect readers with whole foods, home-cooked meals, local farms, and better health. The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook is both the culmination and chronicle of his journey so far.
The book’s introductory pages are inspiring. After sharing his story, Josh helps you source quality food, busts some myths about fat, carbs, and calories, and shows you how to stock your pantry before you get started. The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook offers a wide variety of recipes, from comfort foods like scones to more exotic dishes like veal to classic sides like coleslaw. There’s a recipe for every occasion and while some are a little involved, Josh’s instructions are clear and every single one of his recipes is worth the work it takes to prepare. If you save the more time-consuming recipes for special occasions, you will still be left with a number of easy weeknight, make-ahead, and budget-friendly dishes.
Like many other current Paleo cookbooks, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook does include dairy as an optional ingredient and offers substitutions where appropriate. With a little creativity, many of the recipes can be adapted for the autoimmune protocol. Josh embraces the depth that nightshade- and seed-based spices offer, so be prepared to substitute with your favorite herbs or seasonings like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
I chose to test the Breakfast Sausage and Broccoli Nested Eggs, Fragrant Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken, and Loaded Cauliflower Mash for this review. The Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken was simple to make and very easy to adapt for the autoimmune protocol, as it only had a handful of seasonings. I served mine over Mashed Cauliflower (with a bit of fresh basil added, that’s why it’s green) for a quick, no-fuss dish.
The Breakfast Sausage and Broccoli Nested Eggs took about fifteen minutes to prepare and is an excellent way to get more cruciferous vegetables into your diet. You could even leave out the eggs and adjust the seasonings for a broccoli and sausage stir-fry that’s autoimmune protocol-friendly. You can also use other vegetables like asparagus, braised greens, and green beans.
But the real star was the Loaded Cauliflower Mash. This is Joshua’s version of a loaded baked potato, using steamed cauliflower, ghee, salt, and pepper as the base and green onions and chopped bacon for garnish. As a household that isn’t very fond of cauliflower, this dish blew us away and has made regular appearances on our table since. We even started using less bacon than Joshua’s recipe calls for to let the light, buttery flavor of the creamy cauliflower mash shine.
And there are many, many more recipes where that came from. I’m also looking forward to trying his version of “PB&J” – Pancakes with Almond Butter and Blackberry Sauce. Yum! The book’s clean design is both elegant and rustic (much like Josh’s recipes) and will have you torn between savoring each recipe and eagerly turning the pages to see what’s coming next. The book is, quite simply, a stunning debut work from a very promising chef.