Paleo Side Dishes for the Holidays

By: Bob's Red Mill | December 21 2020

If you've recently switched over to the paleo diet, then you may be wondering what kind of side dishes you can enjoy this fall. The paleo diet is modeled after the diets that hunter-gathered likely followed. It focuses heavily on meats, fish, eggs, seeds, fruits, nuts and veggies and incorporates healthy fats and oils. While there is not one specific right or wrong way to follow the paleo diet, there are guidelines that outline foods you should avoid. Generally speaking, foods that should be avoided are those which would not have been eaten by our ancestors. This included processed foods, grains and sugar. Some individuals following a paleo diet do incorporate modern healthy foods like gluten free grains and grass fed butter. However, this is left up to the dieter's discretion.

Lastly, when cooking and baking with sweeteners, you'll want to know which are allowed. Sweeteners that come from natural sources like honey, agave and maple syrup and generally approved on most paleo diets. Dark unsweetened chocolate with a high cacao content is also approved and can be used to make tasty paleo desserts. 

Because the paleo diet means sticking to foods in their unprocessed forms, the meals you make must be made with these ingredients. Stocking your kitchen and pantry with healthy, paleo-friendly foods is a great way to ensure that you always have diet-friendly foods on hand.

Now, when it comes to cooking for the holidays, you'll want to keep these guidelines in mind before creating your seasonal menu. Using whole, pure foods to make delicious side dishes is an excellent way to explore the many flavors and textures you can create while following a paleo diet. To help you get started, we've put together a list of our favorite paleo sides. From fresh shrimp to flatbread, the side dishes on this list will help make this holiday season one of your healthiest yet. 

Hearty Sides

Though the main course may be the course of the night, that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be incredibly filling. The trick to creating the perfect paleo meal is to ensure that everything in the meal works together. If you're planning out a light main course for dinner, then a light side dish might not do the trick of filling guests' stomachs. To ensure that everyone stays happy and satiated, choose a side dish that will compliment your chosen course, and provide the extra calories needed to satisfy guests. Healthy, wholesome side dishes like flatbreads and galettes work to create satisfying and filling meals when paired with a dish that compliments their natural flavors. To create a hearty side dish of your own, make one of the paleo recipes below. 

Cassava Flatbread

Flatbread is an excellent holiday side dish if you're hoping to add a bit more to your meal! Because flatbreads are entirely customizable, they can be created according to your and your guest's taste preferences. With the right ingredients, flatbreads can be turned into a mouthwatering dish that's entirely paleo. In this delicious Flatbread, gluten free cassava flour is used to keep it as wholesome as possible. Easy to make and eat, top it with grilled veggies for a real treat. 

Paleo Squash Galette 

Paleo Side Dishes for the Holidays | Bob's Red Mill Blog

Rich, savory and absolutely delicious this seasonal Paleo Squash Galette is an excellent accompaniment to any meal. Made with healthy, paleo-friendly ingredients, it's a side dish that will add hearty ness to your meal without overloading it with calories and fats. Depending on the time of year this dish is made, the vegetables inside can be changed accordingly. 


Nearly two-thirds of the earth is covered with water. Because of this, fish and other seafood open a world of opportunity when it comes to making paleo meals and side dishes. While it's essential to buy your seafood from a reputable source, most seafood is loaded with nutritional benefits and is a crucial part of a well-balanced paleo diet.

Fish in its whole state is one of the most paleo foods there is! Besides being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is also loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals. Many restaurants and recipes heavily process, dip and fry fish, turning a once paleo menu item into an unhealthy meal. When making paleo fish recipes, it's essential to skip any ingredients that are processed. Using natural whole foods and spices to flavor your fish will ensure that your side dish remains paleo-friendly and healthy. Continue reading For a glance at tasty seafood-based side dish recipes.

Coconut Hazelnut Shrimp Grilled Peach Salsa

Paleo Side Dishes for the Holidays | Bob's Red Mill Blog

When it comes to healthy paleo side dishes, shrimp is always a great option. Not only is it easy to make, but it's often readily available year-round in fresh or frozen form. While coconut shrimp may be a dish you usually find at restaurants, it's relatively easy to make at home. In this Coconut Hazelnut Shrimp Grilled Peach Salsa recipe, coconut bread crumbs are used to create a delicate crust coconut and, when mixed with nuts, will boost the flavor even more. A slightly sweet and buttery dish, the hazelnuts are the perfect complement to the coconut, both of which taste excellent toasted. 

Baked Keto Coconut Shrimp

For a shrimp dish that's a little more basic, try out this Baked Keto Coconut Shrimp recipe. Paleo and gluten free this recipe bakes up in no time and can be served as a light side to a delicious paleo dinner. Serve it with your favorite BBQ sauce for a tasty treat that everyone will enjoy. 


When it comes to healthy, paleo side dishes, you can't go wrong with greens. Leafy greens like kale, lettuce, and spinach are all approved food items on the paleo diet and can be turned into mouth watering side dishes. Incorporating more green-based meals into your diet is an excellent way to ensure that you're receiving all the nutrients needed to remain healthy and strong. Greens can be mixed, eaten alone, or paired with a protein. No matter how you choose to eat your greens, you're sure to benefit from their nutrients. If you're having trouble finding unique ways to sneak more greens into your holiday menus, let us help! Keep scrolling to discover a couple of our favorite paleo green recipes, all of which are perfect for serving alongside your holiday dinner. 

Coconut Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Broccoli and Miso Sauce

Paleo Side Dishes for the Holidays | Bob's Red Mill Blog

For a flavorful side dish that can easily be loaded with greens, make this Coconut Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Broccoli and Miso Sauce recipe. These delicious paleo-approved grain bowls are packed with fiber, protein, veggies and umami, creating a visually appealing dish that will satisfy everyone. 

Bonus Recipes: Flavorings

Sometimes the most challenging thing about cooking paleo meals is knowing how to flavor them. Achieving the perfect flavoring plays a vital role in creating a meal that others enjoy. This holiday season, learn to supplement your meals with mouthwatering flavors that your guests will rave about. Don't know where to get started? Here are a few of our favorites. 

Gluten Free Cassava Flour Gravy

Paleo Side Dishes for the Holidays | Bob's Red Mill Blog

When it comes to flavors, nothing pairs better than mashed potatoes and gravy. If you think you have to skip the gravy this year, think again. While starting a paleo diet may mean that you'll have to change some of the foods in your diet, it doesn't mean that you have to miss out on your favorite meals. If you're searching for a gluten free, paleo-friendly gravy for your holiday table, then we have just the recipe for you! Simple to make, this Gluten Free Cassava Flour Gravy features cassava flour and your choice broth. It doesn't get much easier than that! 

Sweet and Spicy Salmon Rub

Are you cooking up a plate of salmon this year? Don't forget the seasoning. While there are many ways to season a salmon dish, some of the ones you're most used to are likely not very paleo. That being said, don't throw in the towel just yet. With the right ingredients, making a paleo rub is simple! To make this Sweet and Spicy Salmon Rub paleo, we've combined coconut sugar with fragrant spices to create the perfect salmon seasoning. A recipe that can also be used with pork tenderloin, it's sure to have guests talking. 

Use this list of paleo side dishes the next time you're looking to make something for your small dinner gathering. Whether you're searching for something light or hearty, paleo side dishes can easily be made with healthy, wholesome ingredients. From coconut hazelnut shrimp with grilled peach salsa to paleo flatbread, there's bound to be a recipe on this list that you'll enjoy!

Have a favorite paleo side dish that we didn't mention? We'd love to hear about it! Let us know what paleo sides you're making this season in the comments below. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, we wish you a healthy and happy holiday! 


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