Food & Drink Magazine

35 Paleo Kitchen Essentials for Your Paleo Success

By Grayson Hayes @cavemandietblog
Paleo Kitchen Essentials Banner Image

Paleo Kitchen Essentials Banner Image

Paleo Kitchen Essentials

35 Must Haves in a Well Stocked Paleo Kitchen

Having a well-stocked and organized paleo pantry and kitchen is the first step for Paleo success  whether you are new to the Paleo lifestyle or a veteran caveman eater. Having the right ingredients means being able to whip up just about any of the thousands of awesome meal choices available without the need to step out of your house, or end up ordering take out.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share the list of items that I must have in my kitchen. This is not an exhaustive list and contains many different type of items. Some of these items are surely nice to have, but they sure do make cooking fun. Alongside my list of must have items; I’ll link out to product reviews we’ve done or product pages on Amazon of the specific tools that I use so that you can learn more about it.

Check out my must haves for the paleo kitchen list below.

The perfect Paleo kitchen has FIVE essential characteristics: 

  1. It is meant for creativity- The Paleo practitioner is not just an eater, but a master creative cooking, combining the right foods to make
    paleo kitchen tools inline image
    outstanding meals.
  2. It is meant for color- A good Paleo refrigerator has a rainbow of fruit and vegetable pigments stemming from the wide range of excellent foods accepted in our lifestyle plan. The colors also come from the many different olive oil combinations, the mixed vinegars, and the amazing natural seasonings that decorate the Paleo pantry.
  3. It is meant for taste- The flavors and smells that come from the average Paleo kitchen are rival to none. Truffles, ginger, cinnamon, fresh apples, and deliciously grilled meats definitely beat the smell coming from the grease spoon down the street.
  4. It is meant for good health- The Paleo kitchen has everything to help you indulge your senses without spoiling your digestion, causing allergies or making you fat or distended. Paleo eating is clean eating; it is anti-inflammation eating, and it is also natural eating. Nothing that you ever put in your mouth from the Paleo menu ever goes anywhere in your body where it should not be going.
  5. It is meant for fun! – Pick up any Paleo cookbook out there and notice how our lifestyle is about healthy food swaps and creative ways to recreate unhealthy food choices into good ones. You will find anything, from bacon breakfast muffins, to strawberry jelly squares. It is good food made for a good purpose. You will never see food the same way again.

Here are My Must Haves for the Paleo Kitchen. These items range from foods, to gadgets, to seasonings that are sure to put you on the right track to make your Paleo lifestyle 100% successful.

We’ve pulled together several of my favorite gadgets from this list and created a Paleo Kitchen Essentials Prize Pack Giveaway so that you can try them too. You can enter the giveaway until 5/31/2016.

  1. Veggie Spiralizer– Running out of ideas to eat your veggies? Let this awesome gadget do the fun part for you. Make virtually any vegetable into noodle-shaped foods that can be eaten just like pasta, without the starches and carbs. Serve your crudités like never before, shaping them like long, thin curls that are perfect for dipping. Shape your soup veggies in such a way that your kids will beg for it. Veggie spiralizers definitely make eating vegetables much more fun. I use the portable Lifestyle Dynamics spiralizer because it does a good job and I can take it with me when I’m traveling and staying in a hotel that has a kitchenette.
  2. Mango Slicer– Another fun gadget, fruit slicers come for just about every fruit, from apples to mangoes. Push your fruit through and get them in easy-to-eat fun shapes that combine great with your coconut and almond milk yogurts and desserts. I use the Kitchen Maestro Mango Slicer and frankly, it makes eating mangoes fun again because I don’t have the mess of manually cutting them to cleanup.
  3. Air Fryer – Love fried foods but hate oil and grease? Try air! Check out an Air Fryer – This counter-top appliance is compact, quick, digital, and its detachable basket allows for perfect portions of fries, onion rings and other goodies…with virtually zero added fat. I love this thing; it’s a great way to improve the nutritional value of fried foods when you crave that crunch. When I went Paleo I thought I’d have to give up the fried stuff, but the air fryer made it possible for me to have those salty, crunchy treats on occasion.
  4. Coconut Milk- This delicious Paleo drink has a mild natural sweetness and a consistency slightly lighter than pasteurized dairy milk. It is easier to drink and digest than average milk, and it is vegan-friendly as well. I keep coconut milk in my refrigerator; as well as full fat coconut milk around at all times. Coconut milk is so versatile and is a major contributor to so many recipes that we create at home. One of my fav creations is ice cream (especially in the summer). That’s when I use the Zoku Ice-cream maker to make personal treats using this milk. It’s super easy and simple to use when making enough sweets for one.
  5. Sea Salt – While Paleo does not advocate table salt consumption due to its preservatives, sea salt is the most natural way to season food the Paleo standard way.  It also tastes better than table salt, and can be infused with other minerals to create a powerhouse seasoning. Get a good salt & pepper grinder that will let you grind your favorite rock salt and sea salts with pepper so that they can preserve the delicious flavor that only freshly ground salt and pepper can offer. I have several, but the one that I get the most compliments on is this Salt & Pepper Grinder.
  6. Turmeric, Coriander, Curry- The seasoning trifecta will help you achieve all your flavoring needs without the need for MSG- filled artificial preservatives. Also, get ginger in its natural form whenever possible for cooking. Grinding these deliciously natural enhancers will make you a chef in no time. This is my fav spice grinder. Natural spices are great not just for seasoning but also for drying meats. I adore this spice grinder because it’s a two for one tool; in that it grinds and provides small containers for your spice making it super functional. It is a fabulous way to grind and store your favorite magic powders and make your food super delicious.
  7. Coffee and Chocolate beans- Paleo allows the consumption of coffee and chocolate, particularly from the cacao plant. Ground chocolate and coffee may contain preservatives and hidden sugar, which is why grounding them in-house is highly recommended. The French Press is my tool of choice for getting the best flavor out of ground beans Spoon course grounds into the carafe, add boiling water, steep for 4 minutes, and strain for the perfect cup.  All u need is boiling water and ground coffee or chocolate. Awesome!
  8. Fresh oranges and “juice-able” fruits that you can make into great drinks. I usethis Juicer with Measuring Jug (all in one)I love tools that perform multiple functions (as you can probably tell). This citrus juicer comes with a great built-in strainer for pulp-free juice (if that is your preferred juice texture). It has a great reamer, super sharp to get ll the juice out of an orange or grapefruit. I always keep this handy especially when I have recipes that call for lime, lemon or orange juice. With this I can juice it and be sure that i have the correct amount without making a mess.
  9. Sealer – How do you keep all those colorful veggies fresh? I use the ultra awesome Smart Sealer because it’s small and easy to use. Forget stale chips, and bad bread. This is an awesome system that recharges with USB and is only on when it is put to use. Small and super effective, this sealer is a MEGA MUST in the kitchen.
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    – A wok is one of my must haves for any paleo kitchen. I love being able to whip up my cauliflower rice or cook my zoodles in a nice wok. I use the Kyocera because it has a proprietary ceramic coating ( PTFE-free, PFOA-free, Cadmium-free ) that is free of toxins that I don’t want in my cookware, this pan offers quick and even heat distribution as it is held by a professional stainless steel handle and tempered lid. It is good for all cooking surfaces and I even take it with me when it’s my turn to cook at our monthly brunch time with family and friends.
  11. Silicone Basting Brushes– At less than 8 dollars for four, these silicone brushes let you baste, spread, and season foods with easy clean up. The colors are fluorescent which makes them stand out. These are American made and come with 100% satisfaction guaranteed. I use these.
  12. Eggs- The all-time Paleo favorites, eggs are not just for breakfast, but are also great binders for cooking that enable you to make just about everything.
  13. Green everything- Spinach, mustard greens, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, avocados…even limes! Green is a “GO” color in Paleo, no pun intended.
  14. Non-starch veggies– Basically, you can have all vegetables that do not require special growth since this does not go with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of our cavemen ancestors. This means that we opt for vegetables that surge naturally in the environment and do not require special care. Squashes, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and their relatives are all welcome in the Paleo family.
  15. Raw Honey– This accepted form of sweetener is the most natural and, actually, is also much better for human consumption than any other.
  16. Dried fruits and meats– Remember that dehydrator we talked about on the gadget section? Here is when it comes in handy quite well.
  17. Cacao powder– A much more pure of cocoa, the powder you can actually make from the seeds of the cacao bean (where chocolate actually comes from) is great for slaying the chocolate urges within all of us.
  18. Coconut is a go-to food in Paleo. Scrape and shred coconut “meat” just like you would use to scrape and grate cheese. It allows you to make all coconut dishes and desserts with minimal effort.I actually re-purposed a Cheese Scraper to scrape my coconut. So, it can definitely be your go-to tool. It is my personal favorite.
  19. Red everything too! Tomatoes, apples, peppers, pomegranates, pimentos, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and nearly all berries are included.
  20. Graters– Grate cauliflower, garlic and even peels with these. –This is another item that I have a few of; because I like different styles for different jobs. I don’t think that you need all of these different graters, but one good one will do. However, here are all the different graters that are in my kitchen:
    • Here’s a grater that comes with a plate, which I like because it minimizes cleanup. It works well for smaller items like garlic or zesting citrus. but-powerful plate that packs a lot of potential.
    • I use this box grater for bigger jobs like prepping the cauliflower for rice. It’s great because it has 6 different grating surfaces, which makes it incredibly versatile.
    • I have 2 handheld graters that are my go to’s for quick jobs. For zesting jobs, when that’s the only thing that I need to grate, I use this handheld grater and here’s my all-purpose grater.
  21. Butter Slicer – This bright polished product is like an egg slicer, but made to cut perfect squares of butter. This is great if you like to buy butter by the bar, which is so much cheaper than buying by the tub. I use the butter slicer to keep from having to share the butter knife at table, and to give guests a polished presentation for meals. I usually only use the butter slicer when entertaining, however it makes cutting the butter so easy and all in one step.
  22. Tongs-  I use tongs with silicone tips. You can’t beat this simple tool. Don’t overlook tongs; I like the ones with the silicone tips because they don’t scratch up my cookware.
  23. Crock Pot/Slow Cooker- I don’t even need to tell you how essential a slow cooker is. What else can you turn on as you walk out the door in the morning and return in the evening to a home cooked meal. I use this one because it’s budget-friendly and a decent size. It has a 6 quart capacity for a roast up to 6 lb. It is perfect to cook soups, stews and tender meats without a lot of hassle. Set it and forget it.
  24. Food Steamer – Another one of my set it and forget it kitchen tools. This is my absolute favorite, for separate compartments so that vegetables cook separately. I’ve started to steam seafood as my main protein and I love this thing because I can put my fish or shrimp in one compartment and my veggies in another. It basically allows me to prepare my entire meal at once. My food steamer has been a real time saver for me.
  25. The Tea Sub infuser– I’m a huge tea drinker and I drink tea year round. I have various little gizmos in my kitchen to steep the loose leaf tea that I buy, but this one is so cute and sparks conversation and compliments.
  26. Infuser Water Bottle – I cannot do without this water bottle, particularly in hot weather and when I’m coming back from a workout. This is a water bottle with an included fruit infuser that is done twist-cap style. I love adding a hint of fresh fruit to my water without the additives that I don’t want.
  27. Cauliflower- Cauliflower gets a place of its own. Did you know that cauliflower can be made into bread, pasta, casseroles, and even into chips? This amazing vegetable is essential in every Paleo kitchen. Look up “cauliflower swaps” online and find for yourself all the amazing choices that are possible. 
  28. Mandoline-  I have a couple of different mandolines (are you noticing a theme, because I didn’t realize how many varieties of the same item that I have). My fav is the Starfrit, which I have reviewed previously. Love the design and ease of use on it. However, for small slicing jobs, i break out this little handheld mandoline, which is surprisingly good. It’s a nice, functional, yet inexpensive item to have around.

Freezer items:

29. Meats- Paleo gives you an unlimited choice of meats, both dark and white, for you to consume at leisure. Try it grilled, fried, pan-fried, tartare, or baked. The choice is yours. My favorite indoor grilling gadget is the Cuisinox grill pan. Love this thing, it travels well and makes a delish burger

30. Seafood- Paleo extends the invitation to all seafood- loving cavegirls and caveboys to indulge in your favorites, from lobster to scallops, to oysters, to shrimp! I use my steamer quite a bit when cooking seafood.

31. Pre-made meals made at home- Use your freezer as your main storage unit for Paleo success. Pre-make all your weekly meals, from breakfasts to snacks, and have everything you need at the tip of your fingers. Remember to freeze and reuse. It is a great Paleo practice. Here are some great tips and ideas for Paleo freezer meals.

32. ALCOHOL- Since Paleo is a non-sugar diet, the best alcohol choice to keep in your kitchen is wine, both red and white.

From the red category, it is suggested that you stick to Sauvignon Blanc. This is the driest of the red wine family, bringing you full body with fewer sweeteners than red table wine. It is also lower in calories, for those who are conscious about numbers.

From the white wine category, we suggest that you also stick to a Sauvignon. In this case, for white wine, it is the Sauvignon Blanc type, which is also the option with the least added sugar (almost non), a fuller body and a bit stronger, natural, alcoholic content.

Wine is considered Paleo because its alcohol content comes from its natural process of fermentation; it is not added, and neither do our suggested choices contain added sugar.

From the bubbly family, stick to the BRUT and Ultra Brut types of sparkling wines and Champagnes. These also share the same denominator of less sugar and natural alcoholic fermentation.

Vodka and Tequila are allowed as long as they are not grain-based. (Here’s a nice potato vodka by Chopin)

Beer is entirely wheat and barley based, so it is off limits in Paleo.

33. COCONUT WATER – Available anywhere, coconut water is famous for its hydrating power, its sweet, delicious taste, and for its great power of replenishing electrolytes and other minerals lost during heavy workouts. Freeze it into popsicles, mix it with other juices, or enjoy it as a smoothie. Have it on its own! It beats any energy drink made in a laboratory!

34. OVEN BAGS- This is a personal favorite for many reasons. Even if you are cooking for one, there is always “that day” when you crave a home cooked meal without the fuss. Oven bags, either generic or brand-specific, give you the chance to toss all your meat and veggies in one bag. There, they cook in their own juices with no need for added salt or preservatives of any kind. It is a sure hit for the everyday kitchen, whether you cook for 1 or 100.

35. FIZZY WATER- Those of you who find drinking water difficult may find it easier to start by swapping a regular soda, or diet soda, with 8 ounces of ice-cold sparkling (carbonated) water.  Make a habit of creating “water cocktails” until your body automatically starts asking for it. Yes! Your body is 80% water, and the more you hydrate it with it, the more it will start craving it. Try it and see. Water fixation is, perhaps, one of the best “bad habits” your body will ever develop once you train it to eat (and drink) properly.

What else goes in the Paleo Kitchen?

Aside from the gadgets, foods, goodies, and refrigerated items, the Paleo kitchen is always ready for any event. Since this is a lifestyle choice, and not a diet, celebrations and other life moments do not constitute an excuse to “mess up the diet” or “splurge”. This is because, with Paleo, splurging can happen any time. You splurge on meals that are good and healthy, while they also taste delicious and are fun to eat. Therefore, what other celebratory items could I have in a Paleo kitchen?

Honorable Mentions:

Paleo BREAD – While Paleo is entirely non-starch, there are Paleo breads that pack in the same texture and taste as regular bread. You can buy it online and stock up by freezing it for up to 1 month.

CANDY/TREATS- As a DIY (do it yourself) lifestyle, Paleo encourages practitioners to cook ahead and have fun with food choices. Raw honey and nut bars made at home, sprinkled with coconut flakes, are some of the many treats you can make ahead and keep in handy for your kids, and for the kid inside of you.

Always keep your paleo kitchen well-stocked with the things that you need to make the best out of your nourishment experience. Now you know what I’m using; you can tell me in the comments below the items that you recommend.

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