I love to cook, so while steak, a sweet potato and some spinach is a great dinner, it doesn’t satisfy my desire to try new things in the kitchen. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you have some limits on ingredients. You get bored, can’t face the same thing again….. and go eat a pizza. OR you can find a new recipe.

Lots of options- a ton of great cook books out there for Paleo/Primal. Many blogs with recipes (hello!). But sometimes you just want to feel like Master Chef. I have a bunch of non-primal/paleo cookbooks and subscribe to a few cooking magazines. Although some of the recipes are not compliant (hello, “perfect chocolate cake!”), many are or can be tweaked.

My new mission is one recipe a week from Saveur’s special issue of their 99 favorite recipes. I’d say 20 or so can be easily made primal/paleo (swapping out canola oil for olive or coconut for the most part). Saveur is an amazing resource for people that really like to branch out and learn more about cooking. They focus a lot on ethnic foods and generally are very authentic and focus on using real foods. (So no Sandra Lee style cake mix and cans of mushroom soup).

I made a dish called Laab. Essentially ground pork with a bunch of spices and herbs, served with veggies. It was delicious- full of spice and flavor. It made the humble mass of pastured ground pork into something very special. Even my husband loved it. It was like taking an exotic vacation. My modifications included switching out the canola oil for coconut oil and I left out the fish sauce and thai chilis. The last two, perfectly paleo…. but it was spicy enough for us with just the garlic and red pepper flakes. I served it over sliced cucumbers.

Laab (Thai Minced Pork Salad)

⅓ cup coconut oil
3 tbsp. mashed garlic
4 red Thai chiles, stemmed and minced (I left these out, if you like it very hot, go for it)
10 oz. ground pork
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
2 tbsp. minced mint, plus more to garnish
1 tbsp. minced scallions, plus more to garnish
1 cucumber, 2 more chopped scallions and a handful of mint, chopped

1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add pork, chile flakes, five-spice, nutmeg, salt, pepper, coriander, and cardamom, and cook, stirring, until pork is browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in mint, and scallions, and cook until pork is done, about 4 minutes.

2. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and top with scallions, mint, and cucumbers, and tomatoes.