Here’s the One Important Thing to Know When Hosting Paleo Guests for Thanksgiving

(Image credit: Liz Apple)

Cooking for specific diets is what Ashley Pardo, the founder of the blog Grizzly Kitchen, does for a living. As a private chef and educator, she knows what it takes to make a meal feel special regardless of any perceived restrictions.

I say perceived restrictions because, for Ashley, the Paleo lifestyle is more about what you can eat and less about what you can’t.

For your paleo guest, the emphasis will likely be on the turkey and vegetables. And since these dishes are less likely to rely on the richness and flavor cream, butter, and cheese provide, Ashley’s advice for cooking for these guests is to season with conviction.

Which means salt — closely followed by acid and fresh herbs — is going to be the best tool in your arsenal.

“My goal is to let the food speak for itself,” says Ashley. “The best way to do that is to pay attention to the salt from the very beginning because it will enhance what’s already there. It makes whatever you’re cooking and eating taste more like itself.”

A Salt Refresher

“When you eat real, whole foods, things often end up being Paleo by default,” says Ashley. “It’s almost better to focus on the food being whole and unprocessed rather than the diet, because the label is so easily sensationalized. Otherwise you’ll find yourself eating more Paleo stuffing and gluten-free cupcakes and less of the real food that’s going to give you the sense of fullness and community that we all crave at Thanksgiving.”

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)