One of the reasons Melissa & Dallas Hartwig of Whole30 fame have beef with things like pasta and rice as a side (aside from because the contain compounds that can cause inflammation in the body) is because they take up room on your plate and in your belly that could otherwise be occupied by something that contributes more nutrients. Like veg. I’m really onboard with this idea. Rice & pasta aren’t evil at all in my eyes and outside of the Whole30 I still eat them on occasion. But vegetables contribute more to overall health, so I’d like to eat more of them.
So what do I eat as a side? There are SO many deliciously nutritious options.
Filling Whole30 / Paleo Sides
- Roast potato / sweet potato / butter nut squash / pumpkin (cooked in duck fat with garlic, salt and pepper)
- Jacket potato (drizzled with Ghee or olive oil and lots of salt and pepper)
- Potato / sweet potato wedges (coated in paprika, salt and pepper)
- Mashed potato / sweet potato / butternut squash / pumpkin
- Cauliflower (try it roasted – pop raw florets in an oven tray with oil, cumin, chilli, salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C)
- Broccoli (drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top with toasted almonds)
I enjoy all of the above as a side to one pots & stews, chills, BBQs and roasts.
Whole30 / Paleo Swaps for Pasta
- Courgetti / zucchini noodles
- Squash spaghetti
I make these with a spiraliser but you can also use a Julienne peeler.
Whole30 / Paleo Swaps for Rice
- Cauliflower rice
- Broccoli rice
I’ve hear that in the UK you can now buy cauliflower rice in a packet (too easy!) I make mine by chopping up the veg when it’s still raw and pulsing in a blender.
Time Saving Tips
The reason i’ve always reached for rice with most meals in the past is ease. It keeps forever in the cupboard and takes ten minutes to cook. I’ve since worked out however that many of these vegalicious sides can be quick and pain free too. Here’s how:
- For mega quick cauliflower or broccoli, pop your raw florets in a bowl with a tiny bit of water, put a piece of kitchen roll on top and zap in the microwave for between 1 minute and 1 minute 60. That steams them. Not only is this much less faff that boiling, it keeps more of the antioxidants in tact too.
- When roasting potatoes or sweet potatoes, cook twice as much as you need and freeze half. When you’re ready for roasties again you can defrost and warm up either in the oven or microwave.
- When roasting pumpkin, do the same. When you defrost it will be really squiggy – zap it in the microwave and then mash with a fork for yummy sweet and garlicky pumpkin mash.
- When spiralising, if you’ve the opportunity to eat that side more than once that week make more than you need and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3/4 days.
Oh, and if anyone’s worried about microwaves being harmful to health, this round up of the science should put your mind at ease.