Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Aug

Primal Substitutes for Non-Primal Foods

It’s perhaps the most commonly asked question, both here in the forums and around the Primal/paleo blogosphere: what about bread/rice/grains/mashed potatoes/fish-and-chips/sweets? That is, what Primal foods can I eat that will satisfy my nascent urges for conventional “comfort foods”? In a perfect fat-adapted world, these urges would be non-existent. We would all be sated on nothing but meat, fat, vegetables, and a bit of fruit, and on a normal day I would stress the importance of desiring truly Primal foods rather than Primal approximations of high-carb, conventional fare.

Today isn’t a normal day, though. We’re in the middle of a particularly intensive Health Challenge, one that centers around making small (but doable) positive changes. For all our new members, finding alternate low-carb versions of the classic high-carb foods can be just the ticket to maintaining their personal health commitments under duress – and for that reason, I rounded up every low-carb food alternative source I could find. Strict PB pros and Primal stalwarts, forgive me, but I’m doing it for everyone’s collective good. Consider this my 80/20 moment. (wink)


Primal Spinach Bread

Carrot Walnut Bread

Coconut Flour Rolls (Thanks, Tim!)

Medicine Woman’s Roots: Golden Flax Bread

Gluten-Free Bread

Focaccia-Style Flax Bread

Oopsie Rolls (Gluten-Free Buns)

Low-Carb Meatloaf (Hey, it’s technically in loaf form. Thanks, Richard!)

Chips and Crackers

Primal Nut Crackers

Grain Free Almond Crackers

Primal Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips with Cinnamon


Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Son of Grok’s Famous Pizza Crust

Eggplant Pizza (scroll down a bit)

Paleo Pizza (Thanks, Scott!)

Sunflower Seed Pizza Crust

Zucchini Pizza Crust


Cauliflower Rice Pilaf (Thanks, maba!)

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Pesto Rice (Thanks, Elizabeth!)


Summer Squash Noodles

Spaghetti Squash and Meat Sauce

Low-Carb “Lasagna”

Noodleless Lasagna

“Spaghetti” with Meat Sauce

Eggplant Lasagna

Mashed Potatoes

Broccoli-Carrot Mash

Mashed Cauliflower (Steam, then into the food processor with salt, butter, and pepper – super easy)

Mashed Butternut Squash


Coconut milk (Smoothie)

Almond milk


Almond Meal

Coconut Flour

Breaded Fried Stuff

Coconut Chicken Fingers with Spicy Fruit Chutney

Coconut Encrusted Chicken Salad

Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia


Low-Carb Thickener


Almond Pancakes

Coconut Pancakes

Rick’s Primal Pancakes

Paleo Pancakes

Low-Carb Almond Meal Pancakes

New Almond Meal Pancake Variant


Primal Alternatives to Non-Primal Snacks

Primal Energy Bar

Make Your Own Jerky

Make Your Own Dried Fruit

Spicy Almonds

SoG’s Primal Poppers

SoG’s Dinosaur Droppings


Low-Carb Dessert Recipes (Almond Macaroons, Fruit and Nut Crumble etc.)

Primal Pie Filling

Flourless Pie Crust

SoG’s Gorilla Cake

Raw Walnut Cupcakes

Dairy-Free Custard

Whew. That should about do it. Thanks to everyone who graciously made their recipes available online, and thanks to the entire Primal community. We’re well over half way through the challenge – no more faltering! If you need it, consider this low-carb roundup an instant support system for those times of weakness. Oh, and let me know if I missed anything.

Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. The link for the Oopsie Rolls doesn’t work. I searched around the site and the page seems to be located here now:

    You probably want to update the link in this post.

    Hannah wrote on February 11th, 2011
  2. I had a look at the “Spaghetti” with meat sauce – yummy. I haven’t been able to find spaghetti marrow here in Australia in recent years. My Mum used to use it twenty plus years ago but for some reason it just faded away.
    Finely julienned zucchini sauteed with garlic and olive oil works well as a tasty spaghetti substitute.

    See my recipe here –

    Helena wrote on February 16th, 2011
  3. Hey Mark, some of these links don’t work anymore due to site deletions. :(

    I want Pumpkin Loaf!

    Allie wrote on June 16th, 2011
  4. I have been on a primal diet for 3-4 weeks.
    Lost weight, feel better, etc.
    My favorite appliance is a food dehydrator.
    From making jerky to drying fruit and veggies, this is a must!
    I am looking for a good reliable source of goats or mother milk as well.

    Joe wrote on May 14th, 2012
  5. What about quinoa? I’ve heard it’s a seed then I’ve heard it’s a grain. Is it primal? If so, any good recipes out there?

    marita64 wrote on July 26th, 2012
  6. What about quinoa?

    marita64 wrote on July 28th, 2012
  7. My question is not about comfort foods; but if you’re making a spicy, saucy dish, what do you eat it with? Indian food, for example. Peruvian food is very similar. They usually serve their spicy meat-and-vegetables with BOTH rice and potatoes. Help?

    Joni wrote on October 2nd, 2012
  8. Go with the cauliflower! You can rice it, or mash it, depending on whether you’re going for the rice or the potato texture! I go through a couple heads a week now, it goes with everything!

    Foncine wrote on October 2nd, 2012
  9. I thought cheese was not allowed? Is that right?

    Shiva Jones wrote on September 30th, 2013
  10. Why would anybody eat quinoa when bacon is available?

    wildgrok wrote on September 30th, 2013
  11. This is from low carb Sheila’s site, one of my favorites:

    Sheila’s Delicious Low-Carb Pancakes
    (6 total carbs)
    3 oz cream cheese, softened in microwave
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 T flavored sugar-free syrup (I like vanilla)
    Butter to taste
    Beat together thoroughly – no lumps allowed! Pour on buttered skillet on Low-Medium heat for 4 minutes. Flip & let fry for another 1-2 minutes. Also, try these wrapped around sausage for a “pig-in-blanket” effect.
    Note: Check out how Low-Carb Pinay whips these up.

    wildgrok wrote on September 30th, 2013

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!