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

Primal Comfort Foods

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.

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

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.

Our trusty 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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

    Holly wrote on January 30th, 2009
  2. 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!

    BEELifestyle wrote on January 30th, 2009
  3. 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!

    Samantine wrote on January 30th, 2009
  4. I’ve been doing those Primal eggplant pizzas for comfort food recently. Tasty, tasy, just remember to crank that oven up to full power.

    Bradford wrote on January 30th, 2009
  5. 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 like to load my chicken soups up. Maybe a whole onion (or even two) and a ton of carrots does the trick for me. It’s easy to put this kind of soup together however you prefer it.

    Mark Sisson wrote on January 30th, 2009
  6. 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

    David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts wrote on January 30th, 2009
  7. 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!



    Mark Sisson wrote on January 30th, 2009
  8. 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.

    j d wilson wrote on January 30th, 2009
  9. Just a quick suggestion:

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

    Derek wrote on January 30th, 2009
  10. 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…..

    Chris - zen to fitness wrote on January 30th, 2009
  11. GREAT POST, Mark.

    Im printing….

    MizFit wrote on January 30th, 2009
  12. 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 :)

    zbiggy wrote on January 30th, 2009
  13. 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.

    Mark Sisson wrote on January 30th, 2009
  14. Meatloaf can also be made with canned salmon, and is tastier than with beef IMO.

    Google “salmon loaf.”

    Robert M. wrote on January 30th, 2009
  15. 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. :)

    Lauren B wrote on January 30th, 2009
  16. 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 it for later. Use it to cook greens like collards, soups etc.

    As for the soup, the key I’ve found is to roast the chicken, carrots, and onions before going into the soup with the stock. The roasting really brings out the flavor, and the chicken meat and carrots hold their firmness and don’t get soggy.

    I don’t mean to be too critical, but I just don’t see how canned broth can be part of a primal lifestyle!

    The meatloaf sounds great, I’ll have to give that a try sometime soon.

    J Mando wrote on January 30th, 2009
  17. 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.

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on January 31st, 2009
  18. Looks delicious. My comfort food of choice are oranges.

    Yavor Marichkov wrote on January 31st, 2009
  19. 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. Unfortunately, I can’t get chicken feet where I live, so I substitute turkey necks at $1.40 a pound. Turkey breast is flavorless, but bone-in thighs are a great alternative to chicken as the pieces are large and tasty. No need to spend ten minutes carefully extracting every bit of meat off the bones. Sometimes I cook my meat so long that the smaller bones soften to the point of breaking. I just mix them in with the meat to boost the vitamin content. Didn’t Grok gnaw on bones?

    Sonagi wrote on January 31st, 2009
  20. 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.

    Danielle T wrote on February 1st, 2009
  21. Outstanding Recipes!!!
    Soup is something i really enjoy esp. in winter. The meatloaf looks really good!

    Donna wrote on February 2nd, 2009
  22. I made the meatloaf tonight as prescribed. Turned out really well.

    Matt wrote on February 4th, 2009
  23. 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.

    Zen Fritta wrote on February 8th, 2009
  24. 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 ketchup.

    Tim Conrad wrote on April 4th, 2009
  25. 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.

    Tim Conrad wrote on April 4th, 2009
  26. 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..

    Daniellle wrote on May 29th, 2010

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