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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 30, 2009

Primal Comfort Foods

By Worker Bee
64 Comments

Cold weather has a way of encouraging comfort food eating, and partaking in traditional comfort foods typically means derailing your healthy eating plan with carbs, carbs and more carbs. Fortunately, in many cases you don’t have to compromise. If the winter weather has you reaching for easy to prepare and familiar foods that will warm you from within, sidestep the mac and cheese and baked potatoes for these perfectly Primal comfort food alternatives.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Opt for soup in a can and you set yourself up for a bowl of preservatives with limp veggies that’s light on the meat. This recipe, however, relies only on natural flavors and all the other good stuff.

Ingredients:
6 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ teaspoon oregano
2 cups cabbage, shredded
¾ cup celery, chopped
¾ cup mushrooms, chopped
½ cup broccoli, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup zucchini, chopped
2 ½ lbs chicken breast filets
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Drop in chicken breasts and cook for five minutes. Remove pot from heat, drain water, cool the chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized chunks. In a large pot, heat the chicken stock, adding all spices until mixture comes to a boil. Add all vegetables except cabbage. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cabbage shreds and chicken. Cover and simmer again for an additional 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve piping hot! Serves 6.

Nutrition:
Our trusty FitDay.com analysis shows that a serving of this soup provides the following:

Calories: 404
Fat:  20.7 grams (46% calories from fat)
Carbs: 7.5 grams (7% calories from carbs)
Protein: 44.6 grams (47% calories from protein)

Mama’s Meatloaf

No food conjures up childhood images – good and bad – quite like meatloaf. Here we offer up a low-carb version that really adds a sweet twist.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried mustard powder
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and use your hands to mix (sure, it’s messy, but its really the most effective!). Press mixture into a pre-greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Short on time? You can make “mini meatloafs” by piling the mixture into muffin pans, where they’ll cook through in about 15 minutes! Serves 6 small loafs

Nutrition:
Calories: 246
Fat: 16 grams (59% calories from fat)
Carbs: 10.6 grams (16% calories from carbs)
Protein: 14.6 grams (25% calories from protein)

Mashed Butternut Squash (with cream and butter)

If you’ve gone Primal, you’ve probably passed on mashed potatoes. Relive the “magic” with this delicious butternut squash recipe.

Ingredients:
4 cups butternut squash
¼ cup cream
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice butternut squash in half and remove seeds. Place the squash in a glass dish filled with a quarter inch of water and cover with foil. Place in the oven and roast the butternut squash for about 40 minutes or until tender. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and place into a food processor. Add butter and cream and blend on low until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove mixture from processor and place in oven proof dish. Warm at 350 degrees 10 minutes or until heated through. Serves 4

Nutrition Analysis:
Calories: 134
Fat:  7.6 grams (50% calories from fat)
Carbs: 17 grams (46% calories from carbs)
Protein: 1.2 grams (4% calories from protein)

Share your recipes and ideas for delicious Primal comfort foods in the comment boards!

Further Reading:

How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Tomato Sauce

Winter Chili for a Chilly Winter

More Primal Recipes

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64 Comments on "Primal Comfort Foods"

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Holly
Holly
7 years 8 months ago

Definitely enjoying your posts this week. Encouraging, motivational, all while giving us the tools (and recipes) to succeed!

BEELifestyle
7 years 8 months ago

I’ve been craving chicken soup (and actually broke down and had some with noodles the other day… 90/10, right!) so thanks for this recipe! I’ve never made my own soup, SO excited to try!

Samantine
Samantine
7 years 8 months ago

Mark!!
“Drain water” after cooking chicken breasts?!!?? That is throwing away a “lite” chicken broth (which is, after all, only water that chicken has been simmered in). Better to freeze chicken carcass leftovers as they accumulate, simmer them up and there you go, “free” (and preservative free, low salt, low fat) chicken broth!
Sam

Bradford
Bradford
7 years 8 months ago

I’ve been doing those Primal eggplant pizzas for comfort food recently. Tasty, tasy, just remember to crank that oven up to full power.

Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago
Samantine – You’re absolutely right. If you have chicken carcasses lying around homemade chicken broth is far superior, but for the sake of simplicity we’ve included canned broth here. There are actually some pretty decent organic broths available out there. And yes, you could reserve some of the water instead of dumping it out in case you find that you need to add a little water to the soup as the recipe progresses. I might add that the recipe the Worker Bee put together for the soup is a good one, but I usually even prefer more veggies. I really… Read more »
David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts

There recipes look great. If this is what primal eating can be, maybe I’ll try it. Will your book contain recipes as well?

– Dave

Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago

Great question, Dave. There will be some sample menus, a grocery list of sorts and general food recommendations (including what I eat). But I am also coming out with a recipe book, so be on the lookout for a Primal Recipe book coming your way soon, too!

Cheers!

Mark

j d wilson
j d wilson
7 years 8 months ago

Go easy on the Worcestershire sauce, it’s got high fructose corn syrup. I love the stuff. Maybe you know of a brand beside A1 or Lee & Perrin.

Derek
Derek
7 years 8 months ago

Just a quick suggestion:

Meatloaf is absolutely delicious when made with Buffalo, Venison or any blend of those two with beef.

Chris - zen to fitness
7 years 8 months ago

Some great recipes for the weekend Mark! One tip I have to make a meatloaf taste amazing is grate up a Zucchini and stick it into the mixture. You won’t taste the extra Veg but it makes the whole thing more moist and tastes amazing. Also a TBSP of Cinnamon really adds a nice comforting touch to Meatloaf…..

MizFit
7 years 8 months ago

GREAT POST, Mark.

Im printing….

zbiggy
zbiggy
7 years 8 months ago

speaking of recipes – recently I found a hint on the net – fries (chips) can be substituted with celery chips fried on a pan – I tried this, and I’m telling you guys it’s OK – they lost the intensity of celery’s smell and taste, and they are not so heavy on the stomach as the ordinary potato fries. Try it if you dare 🙂

Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago

Great suggestions, Chris. I’ve actually had zucchini in meat loaf before and you’re right, it does make it nice and moist.

zbiggy – I’ve never heard of that one. I may have to give it a try.

Robert M.
Robert M.
7 years 8 months ago

Meatloaf can also be made with canned salmon, and is tastier than with beef IMO.

Google “salmon loaf.”

Lauren B
7 years 8 months ago

Going to try that soup recipe! The foodie in me likes it when you post meal ideas, Mark.

I’ve been making low carb coconut milk ice cream lately. It’s surprisingly creamy and a nice change from the kind made with organic heavy cream. 🙂

J Mando
J Mando
7 years 7 months ago
I’m sorry but that chicken soup sounds pretty bland… And what’s “primal” about buying pre-cut, packaged chicken breasts? The best thing to do, as was mentioned by a couple people already, is make and keep chicken (and beef) stock on hand! It’s stupefyingly easy to make, just throw in a chicken carcass and other chicken bones you’ve saved with some carrots, celery, and onion (NOT peeled), peppercorns, maybe some herbs, and a dash of vinegar. Then just simmer for several hours. I personally like to use chicken feet to really thicken it up. Strain out all the solids, and freeze… Read more »
trackback
7 years 7 months ago

[…] primal comfort foods, organic is not always better (hint: try local first), for the love of kale, the vegetarian wars […]

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips
7 years 7 months ago

I’m loving these recipes Mark. The meatloaf looks simple and tasty. I need to refer back to your recipes section next time I go shopping to make sure I get all the ingredients.

Yavor Marichkov
7 years 7 months ago

Looks delicious. My comfort food of choice are oranges.

Sonagi
Sonagi
7 years 7 months ago
but for the sake of simplicity we’ve included canned broth here. There are actually some pretty decent organic broths available out there. Add my name to the list of commenters who’ve objected to the use of prepared broth. Even organic broths contain MSG-like flavor additives like autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate and other free glutamic acids that, like MSG, give foods a savory, meaty flavor. Making homemade broth is so easy there’s no excuse for buying processed stuff laden with additives. Agree with J Mando that chicken feet make a wonderfully gelatinous stock full of minerals and collagen.… Read more »
trackback
7 years 7 months ago

[…] Low carb comfort foods. […]

Danielle T
7 years 7 months ago

Home-canned broth, processed in mason jars in a pressure canner. I make some everytime I roast a game bird or hunk of goat. It’s not that hard and you get a superior product.

Donna
Donna
7 years 7 months ago

Outstanding Recipes!!!
Soup is something i really enjoy esp. in winter. The meatloaf looks really good!

Matt
Matt
7 years 7 months ago

I made the meatloaf tonight as prescribed. Turned out really well.

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[…] Read the rest […]

Zen Fritta
Zen Fritta
7 years 7 months ago

This is a late post but, Mark, the picture of the chicken soup has carrots in it. There are no carrots in the recipe. We put some in to make it look more like the picture.

Tim Conrad
Tim Conrad
7 years 5 months ago
The meatloaf recipe isn’t quite right. 1 lb of beef isn’t that much for 2 apples. I didn’t peel my apples, but there was still a *lot* of apples. I added another lb of beef, and it seemed to be a bit better that way. Perhaps 2lbs to 1 apple would be a better ratio overall, especially with the onions. I made a simple tomato sauce to go on top – tomato sauce with cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some salt & pepper. I just did it all to taste – not nearly as many carbs in tomato sauce as… Read more »
Tim Conrad
Tim Conrad
7 years 5 months ago

obviously, the size of your apples, matters, too. 🙂 mine were on the large-ish size, which probably didn’t help things much.

I made mine into 8oz loafs, and ended up cooking them for about 45 minutes – so I think the cooking time probably needs to be longer, as well.

trackback

[…] from Mark’s Daily Apple, a good list of low carb comfort foods.  These are the things you can sit down with and enjoy without feeling guilty or worrying about […]

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[…] from Mark’s Daily Apple, a good list of low carb comfort foods.  These are the things you can sit down with and enjoy without feeling guilty or worrying about […]

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[…] yes, the sandwich. After rice, mashed potatoes, and pancakes, it is perhaps the most pined-for pre-Primal food around. The convenience factor is […]

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[…] Primal Comfort Foods […]

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple, here are a few recipes for Low Carb Comfort Foods.  I’m not a big proponent of the low carb diet but hey, these are healthy meals so why not […]

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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple, here are a few recipes for Low Carb Comfort Foods.  I’m not a big proponent of the low carb diet but hey, these are healthy meals so why not try […]

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[…] a ton of energy – maybe on your metcon or sprint day – having a Primal-friendly starch, like squash or sweet potato, is a decent way to replenish depleted glycogen […]

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[…] 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 […]

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[…] Primal Lifestyle by visiting the Primal Blueprint 101 page. Thanks for visiting!Shepherd’s Pie is comfort food at it’s best. Flavorful ground meat is mixed with a simple blend of peas, carrots and green […]

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[…] the meatballs the previous weekend, so I decided to finally get around to trying the good-looking meatloaf recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple.  I’m a big fan of meatloaf and hadn’t had it for years (in fact, […]

Daniellle
Daniellle
6 years 4 months ago

Thanks for your comment Tim
I was thinking that was too much and i scooped half out before mixing.. I used one very large apple and a medium size onion and it looked like too much.. and thanks for the info on the time.. i thought 30 min was too short..
did anyone else make this ? not many comments on it.. I will know shortly..

trackback

[…] a ton of energy – maybe on your metcon or sprint day – having a Primal-friendly starch, like squash or sweet potato, is a decent way to replenish depleted glycogen […]

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[…] will fulfill every request you make of them – they’ll do the cauliflower gratin, the pureed butternut squash, the olive oil mayo – but you will have to pay for it. If you go with the in-house fixed menu […]

Kindle Spiegel
Kindle Spiegel
6 years 1 month ago

Hi Mark,
I am very interested in purchasing your book. I have celiac disease so I have been off of wheat, etc. for four years. I also have problems with dairy bothering my sinuses and digestion. Is it possible to follow your plan without eating dairy products? I can eat eggs and butter, but cheeses and milk trigger migraines and upset my stomach. I would also like to know the ingredients that go into you vitamins (are there ingredients like soy, etc). Thank you.

packattack22
packattack22
5 years 11 months ago

I just made the meat loaf. I used about 1 1/2 apple (not sure how many slices I munched while prepping) and it came out far too moist. The apple also just dominates the taste. Next time I will use much less apple, and I hope it turns out better cause i’m not enjoying it too much.

packattack22
packattack22
5 years 11 months ago

^^ oh and I only used half an onion instead of two.

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[…] On the menu tonight is a recipe borrowed from Mark Sisson; Mama’s Meatloaf. […]

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[…] for visiting!Brisket is a little like meatloaf, in the sense that it’s a simple, unglamorous comfort food that everyone claims to have the best recipe for. The recipes all turn out to be pretty much the […]

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[…] is a little like meatloaf, in the sense that it’s a simple, unglamorous comfort food that everyone claims to have the best recipe for. The recipes all turn out to be pretty much the […]

visitor
visitor
5 years 7 months ago

Made the meatloaf tonight with 2# of meat, 2 eggs, and 2 apples. I ran out of Worcestershire sauce and partly substituted balsamic vinegar. It turned out very, very well.

visitor
visitor
5 years 7 months ago

ps – I baked it for over an hour

trackback

[…] is, what Primal foods can I eat that will satisfy my urges for conventional “comfort foods”? In a perfect fat-adapted world, these urges would be non-existent. We would all be sated on […]

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