I love unhealthy food. I love it a lot. A few years ago, I decided to change my diet to Paleo to see if it would improve my health or help me live a healthier lifestyle. My parents started the Paleo diet and so did I. After a while, I noticed my migraines started to go away and my reflux had subsided completely. The Paleo diet, or the "Caveman diet," entails no refined sugar, wheat products, dairy products, and no legumes (beans). To be honest, at first it was a little hard. Your body goes through some changes as your diet does. But after a month or two I was used to it and I felt better than I ever had. While I’m not saying Paleo is the right way, or the only way to go, it’s not as hard as some might think it is.

People ask me all the time what I eat or how I gave up pasta and dairy and how I do this all the time. To be frank, I really miss pasta and pizza but I've found some recipes that have made me stop missing them almost altogether. If you want to go Paleo or if you just want to put a different spin on some of your favorite dishes, here are my four favorite Paleo dishes I’ve ever made. The idea of cooking by myself used to scare me so much, so if I can make them then you can too.

Paleo “Lasagna” 

parmesan, lasagna, pasta, sauce, cheese
Christy Luong

What you'll need: 1 zucchini sliced lengthwise thinly, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 yellow squash sliced thinly, 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, 8 oz. of white mushrooms sliced, 2 cups fresh spinach, meat sauce, and cauliflower topping

Okay, so this might be one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever tasted, Paleo or not. If you’re doubting me, don’t worry, I thought that it was going to be gross before I tried it, but it's dope. The pasta layers get replaced with zucchini sliced the long way and the “cheese” is made from cashews (it really tastes like cheese).

When I make it with my mom I add sausage, mushrooms, other veggies, and tomato sauce. All of the ingredients are healthy, but they don't taste it. There are all kinds of different recipes for Paleo lasagna, but I use zucchini, meat sauce, mushrooms, spinach, yellow squash, cashew "cheese," and cauliflower. It’s especially good for the fall and winter because it is really hearty and might actually warm your soul.


cheese, pizza, tomato, vegetable, bread
Emily Hu
What you'll need: almonds, flaxseed, or cauliflower for the crust, feta or goat cheese sprinkled on top, any toppings you'd like (sausage, olives, peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc.).

Pizza is something I’ve always loved so, so much. Finding a Paleo pizza recipe was amazing for me. If you’re a huge pizza fan, this is for you. The parts that are different from traditional pizza are the crust and the cheese. Using almond meal and almond flour, or even smashed cauliflower makes for a lighter option as the base. I The cheese is feta, which is Paleo approved, along with goat cheese. Go crazy with the meat and veggie toppings as you see fit.

“Spaghetti” and Meatballs

vegetable, herb, oil, pasta
Miranda Reilly
What you'll need: 1 Spaghetti squash or 2-4 zucchini, ground turkey, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tomato, coconut oil, 1/2 jar of tomato sauce, seasoning.

Spaghetti and meatballs has always been a staple in my house, and it was my favorite meal my mom made. When my family and I went Paleo, it was one of the first dinners she set out to find a substitute for and now I make it for myself at school. The replacement for the noodles are strands of zucchini.

For this one, you can cut the zucchini into long strips length-wise or you can purchase a vegetable spiralizer to do so. Meatballs can be made with almond flower as a replacement for bread crumbs and the tomato sauce stays the same. After the noodles are cooked, add the sauce with meatballs on top and pack the rest in Tupperware for the rest of the week. A lighter yet satisfying version of a staple dish.

Turkey Chili

pepper, beef, meat, sausage, pork
Taylor Treadway
What you'll need: ground turkey, 1 onion, 3 celery stalks, 1/2 of organic beef broth, 4 packets of chili seasoning, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2 green peppers, 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash.

I make this every Sunday afternoon while I watch movies —my favorite is The Conjuring (I know, spooky)— then eat it while I do homework. Check out an easy recipe like this one and grab the ingredients. Put them all in a pot—make sure to spray the bottom and sides with Pam— then simmer for about four hours. I use lean turkey, peppers, gluten-free chili seasoning, organic beef broth, diced tomatoes, celery, and a few other ingredients.

Make sure to keep your stove at a low to medium temperature throughout and stir every 20 minutes. A really great thing about this dish is that you can put different portions in Tupperware containers and freeze them so you have meals throughout the week that you just have to microwave at night, much like the spaghetti. Can you say meal prep? I can. Who doesn't love a good chili for the winter?

Those are my favorite Paleo dishes. I'll probably be making these for a long time because, WOW, yum. Enjoy!