Life can be a real drag when you have an autoimmune disease sometimes. Ok, let’s be real. Most of the time. Especially when it comes to the finer (and more delicious) things in life, like FOOD! Because when you have to follow an autoimmune protocol diet for (fill-in-the-blank) health reason, it’s really easy to feel like all your favorite foods are being swiped from under you, on top of all those health issues you’re already dealing with. All this, and I have to give up the foods I love too?? And will I ever get them back? In the words of David (from that adorable David After Dentist youtube sensation a few years back), “Is this gonna be forever??”
Luckily for us, in the past year the world of autoimmune-friendly cookbooks has seriously EXPLODED. Meaning you can have your autoimmune-protocol-friendly cake (or cookies, or pancakes, or whatever), and eat it too. And the best part…they ACTUALLY taste like the real (gluten-free) thing.
The newest addition to my autoimmune-friendly shelf? Simple French Paleo: Flavorful Allergen-Free Recipes for the Autoimmune Protocol, by Sophie Van Tiggelen, who blogs at A Squirrel in the Kitchen. Sophie adopted the Autoimmune Protocol to help heal her Hashimoto’s disease, and helps guide you on your own journey in this cookbook by showing you how to incorporate AIP into your life and tips on creating an autoimmune-friendly kitchen. Most importantly, she and I share the philosophy that eating for health doesn’t have to mean boring, tasteless food, whether you’re on a gluten-free, paleo, or autoimmune protocol diet! Sophie poured her heart and soul into this cookbook, and it really shows.
I was really excited to check out this cookbook, because I studied abroad in Bordeaux, France in college (before I discovered any of my autoimmune/gluten-related health issues) and could eat whatever I wanted without consequence. Croissants, baguettes, cheese, raclette…you name it, I tried it. But for the past few years, I hadn’t been able to recreate any of my French host mom’s amazing cooking, Honestly, I didn’t even feel like trying, because I knew I would fail miserably. Enter: Sophie’s new book, and she’s taken all the guesswork out for me, to transport my tastebuds back to my days in France!
The mark of a great autoimmune protocol cookbook? When even though you don’t have eat strict autoimmune protocol anymore because your flares and symptoms have gone down, you’d still choose a bunch of these recipes over their spicy, eggy, nutty counterparts any day. Gut-healing recipes for the freaking WIN. Need some teasers? I knew you would…
No Nightshade Ratatouille
Balsamic Spaghetti Squash (my family’s favorite!)
Sage Roast Chicken
Meatballs with “Nomato” Sauce
French Crepes (YES, CREPES!) & Layered Raspberry Crepe Cake
But wait, there’s more…
But I have to admit, I was really skeptical about this “nomato” sauce business. Sure, I’d heard of it a bunch of times through the autoimmune paleo recipes community, but a mock-tomato sauce? Pshh. I’m Italian. We like our sauce, and we like it with tomatoes. Could I really be satisfied with a fakeout tomato sauce, even if it was friendlier on my healing body?
Um…yes. I could be. No, the sauce doesn’t taste like tomatoes. It’s sweeter, with the addition of butternut squash, and still has a reddish hue from the beets. But it’s definitely delicious, so you won’t see me complaining! Pro tip: serve these meatballs with the Balsamic Spaghetti Squash from the book. My family went totally bananas over this recipe, and it’s definitely going to become a staple in our house! You NEED this in your life. Plus, it’s so freaking easy! And pairs perfectly well with these meatballs from the book, if I do say so myself.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground bison
- 1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, drained (about ¾ cup)*
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley, + extra for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Nomato sauce, for serving (recipe below)
- For the meatballs: heat oven to 350 F. Set the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil.
- Using your hands, combine the meat, mushrooms, parsley, garlic, and sea salt in a large bowl.
- Continuing to use our hands, scoop out ⅓ cup sized portions of meat mixture and form into meatballs.
- Place meatballs in the baking dish. Bake until meat is browned and cooked through, about 35 minutes.
- While the meatballs are baking, make the nomato sauce: combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy, about 20 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust salt to taste. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
- Serve meatballs with a generous dollop of Nomato sauce and garnish with fresh parsley.
*I didn't have any canned mushrooms on hand, so I substituted Trader Joe's Mushroom Medley in the same amount!
Whether you’re doing the autoimmune protocol or not, you should definitely go check out Simple French Paleo for some kick-but, autoimmune-friendly, French cuisine inspired recipes!