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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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Category: Sides

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe means “cheese and pepper” and that’s all you need to make this gloriously simple pasta dish. Yes, pasta. If you have a favorite brand of gluten-free pasta, go for it. If not, “zoodles” work well for this dish, too. What matters most here is not the noodle, it’s the cacio e pepe.

The type of cheese used for this classic Italian dish matters in a big way. It’s not just any cheese, it’s Pecorino Romano, an aged Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Don’t buy cheese labeled only “Romano,” and don’t buy it pre-grated. What you want is the real deal—a wedge of genuine Italian Pecorino Romano.

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Sweet Potato Chili Fries

Look up the definition of “gut bomb” and you just might see a photo of chili fries. But not these chili fries. Primal sweet potato chili fries are made from sweet potato fries baked in avocado oil and topped with your favorite chili, plus a light sprinkle of high-quality sharp cheddar cheese and a drizzle of chipotle cashew cream. The method used here for sweet potatoes fries–steam first, then bake–is a great method to use any time you bake cut sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes).

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Pork Belly with Sweet Potatoes and Fried Eggs

This is not your typical breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon. Instead, we’re talking about braised pork belly (the same cut that bacon comes from), sweet potatoes roasted with smoked paprika butter, and the runny yolk from a fried egg drenching the whole thing.

First, the pork belly. This is a cut of pork with a huge amount of flavor for a relatively low cost. Succulent and fatty, it’s one of the easiest cuts of pork to cook into mouth-watering tenderness. It takes several hours to braise pork belly, so plan to start this recipe the day before (and if you want more leftovers, plan to buy 3 pounds of pork belly, instead of 2).

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Roasted Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb

An edible serving dish made of roasted eggplant halves stuffed with cinnamon and paprika scented lamb. How does that sound for dinner tonight? The eggplant is roasted until the texture is creamy enough to eat with a spoon. The ground lamb is cooked with onion, garlic and aromatic spices. Combined, the eggplant and lamb turn into a meal that is the definition of simple, healthy and delicious.

Can you substitute ground beef, pork or even turkey in this recipe? Certainly. But don’t forget about what lamb has to offer: All eight essential amino acids, several B vitamins, niacin, zinc, iron and lots of conjugated linoleic acid. As with all meat, grass-fed is ideal. Although lamb is more likely to be grass-fed than beef, much depends on where the lamb is raised. Before stocking up on ingredients for this recipe, read this guide for figuring out whether or not lamb is grass-fed. (And check out the tips below for buying perfect eggplant.)

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Warm Coconut and Pancetta Kale

When you want something green on your plate but don’t feel like salad, then this warm coconut and pancetta kale is a go-to side dish. It pairs well with any type of meat or seafood. It’s easy to make. And although kale can taste good raw with just a drizzle of lemon and olive oil, it tastes really good with crispy pancetta, creamy coconut milk, and lots of garlic.

In fact, if you want to make these greens the main course and serve a small portion of protein on the side, go for it. Prepared this way, kale is filling and satisfying. Meat and seafood always have a place on the Primal table, but optimally, so does mineral-and-antioxidant-rich plant matter.

Eating leafy greens is like taking a whole food “supplement” with naturally safe and well-balanced vitamin and mineral levels. In this particular case, it’s an incredibly delicious supplement.

Is your vegetable crisper is full of greens that you have good intentions to eat before they go bad? Then use them in this recipe. In addition to kale, this recipe also works well with greens like collards and Swiss chard (or, a combination of greens).

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Primal Furikake

Furikake is a Japanese seasoning made from dried fish (bonito), sesame seeds, dried seaweed, salt, sugar, and often msg. A Primal version is easy to make–simply drop the sugar and msg–and you have a versatile seasoning for just about everything.

The ratio of ingredients can be tailored to your own taste, so simply use this furikake recipe as a guide. This particular recipe adds plenty of nori, since you can’t go wrong with a lot of nori.

Lightly toasted sesame seeds add crunch and the bonito flakes add an irreplaceable salty, umami flavor. Most grocery stores these days sell bonito flakes, or it can be ordered online. Bonito is air-dried, aged, and shaved tuna.

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