Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Makes It Easy To Fall in Love with Paleo Cooking

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Makes It Easy To Fall in Love with Paleo Cooking

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Michaela Cisney
Oct 13, 2014
(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

Cookbook: Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker

Overall Impression: Beautifully presented and clearly explained, Meals Made Simple is a delight for Paleo newbies and longterm Paleo-ites alike.

I'm naturally quite skeptical of gluten-free and dairy-free foods, but I am equally eager to expand my culinary repertoire. I have also become increasingly curious about the Paleo diet, especially as my husband and I love to entertain and have more and more friends who are gluten- and dairy-free. So when I received Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple, I was hoping it would win me over with mouth-watering, uncomplicated recipes. I was not disappointed.

Recipes I Tried

  • Quiche with Bacon, Zucchini, and Chard, p. 58
  • Chicken Waldorf Salad, p. 100
  • No-Cook Chocolate Pudding, p. 268
  • Basic Cauli-Rice, p. 218
  • Mayonnaise, p. 248

Cooking From Meals Made Simple

Against All Grain is more than just a cookbook — it is also a guide to understanding the Paleo lifestyle and living gluten- and dairy-free without compromising convenience.

Opening with an essay chronicling her own harrowing battle with an autoimmune disorder, and the saving grace she discovered after cutting out gluten, dairy, processed foods, and commercial sugars, Danielle Walker continues with shopping tips, ways to keep it simple, snacking tips, and tear-out guides that include a Paleo cheat sheet. Perhaps most impressively, she includes an 8-week plan for two months of simple Paleo dinners — including complete shopping lists.

No-Cook Chocolate Pudding, p. 268
(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow, and I like that there are often tips for using leftovers from other recipes in the book. While many cookbooks leave a trail of half-used jars of obscure ingredients scattered across your kitchen (I'm loath to admit the number of half-empty coconut milk cans I've tossed...), Danielle actually makes it seem easy to stock your kitchen with versatile Paleo staples, all of which can be used in countless ways.

Danielle's food philosophy is anything but restrictive, and her creative entrées reveal her passion for eating real, delicious food — without spending endless hours in the kitchen. True to her word, her recipes are simple: it doesn't take much to whip up dinner.

Quiche with Bacon, Zucchini, and Chard, p. 58
(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

Of the recipes I tried, the dairy-free breakfast quiche has to be my favorite. I thought whole milk and butter were required for puffed, mouth-watering quiche. I was wrong. The chicken Waldorf salad was also a hit with house guests, and made a light and fresh filling for lunch wraps for several days.

What Could Be Better

We don't eat that much meat, so my excitement waned just a bit when I flipped through the book and saw how so many recipes call for meat, like lamb, steak, and fresh salmon. I know, I know, it is a Paleo cookbook, so I really have no place being disappointed; it's just personal preference.

The recipes can also get pretty pricey, although not outrageously so — and Danielle openly admits that in prioritizing the health of herself and her family, she does not skimp on groceries. I completely agree that it's impossible to overrate quality food, but the prices might deter those on a budget. To be fair, the majority of ingredients (meats, vegetables, spices) are easy to find.

Chicken Waldorf Salad, p. 100
(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

Final Takeaway

Impressively comprehensive, truly simple, and beautifully produced, Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple provides a detailed guide to eating gluten-free and dairy-free without sacrificing hours in the kitchen prepping for meals. More than a cookbook, Danielle Walker's new cookbook will have you creatively rethinking your everyday staples.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

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