Friday, December 13, 2013

The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson (Cookbook Review)

 *Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:

I am sure by now you have at least heard of a "paleo" diet. The thought behind it is to eat as our ancestors would have, namely not consuming legumes, grains or refined sugars or oils. Nearly 1.5 million people in North America follow a paleo diet. This book is full of all 100% gluten free paleo recipes that are all prepared by using a slow cooker. Many people (myself included) like the convenience of using a slow cooker to make meals quickly that are still very healthy for you.

My thoughts:

My daughter started Kindergarten this year. She has never been in a school setting before now and as the first few months of school progressed, we were getting frustrated with all of the reports we were getting about her not sitting still or following directions. We are believers in the healing power of food and that the wrong types of food can be a detriment to us, so we knew right away that we would try to eliminate gluten from her diet to see if it might help some of the issues she was having. It only took a few weeks before we noticed a difference! The problem with trying to make gluten free food is that gluten free recipes can contain hard to find ingredients or take a long time to cook. I really liked the idea of slow cooker gluten free recipes, especially paleo recipes because our family knows the best way to eat is to avoid all processed foods and that is basically what a paleo diet does. We don't always do that, but we try our best, especially now. I was so excited to discover this paleo cookbook full of slow cooker recipes and was even more ecstatic to find that it was full of recipe after recipe that sounds delicious. There is a nice introduction at the beginning of the book that explains the ins and outs of eating paleo for someone who isn't familiar with it and there is also a section on slow cooker basics. After the intro chapters, there are several chapters on different types of food and as someone who does not like to eat a ton of meat (I only eat it at all because if I don't I stay super anemic) there is an entire chapter devoted to vegetarian dishes. There are, of course, several chapters on meat dishes and there is a chapter devoted to starters and snacks, another for soups, yet another for desserts and even a chapter about condiments and accompaniments.

I would like to highlight just a couple of the recipes in The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes so you can get just a tiny glimpse of what great recipes are featured in the book.

Mixed Vegetable Coconut Curry, page 196, vegan
Serves 8

This Dish is very versatile. Use it as a vegetable dish to round out an Indian meal, as a tasty side for grilled meat or fish, or increase the portion size and serve it as a main course if you’re serving vegetarians. (It is vegan friendly.)

  • Medium to large slow cooker
1 tbsp clarified butter (ghee) or extra virgin coconut oil
3 cups (1/2 inch) cubed peeled carrots (about 4 medium)
2 onions, finally chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced (see tips)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced gingerroot
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups cubed (1 inch) winter squash
1 cup coconut milk
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 long red or green chile pepper, seeded and minced

1. In skillet, heat clarified butter over medium heat. Add carrots, onions and celery and cook, stirring until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, sea salt, turmeric and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add tomatoes with juice, and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.

2. Stir in squash. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Add coconut milk, bell pepper and chile pepper and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until peppers are tender.


If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (approx. 2 quart) slow cooker. For the best flavor, toast the cumin and coriander seeds and grind them yourself. To toast seeds: place in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Immediately transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind finely. If you are using the outer stalks of celery, peel them before chopping; the top layer is very fibrous. The inner stalks (hearts) can be used without peeling.

Make ahead

Complete step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you're ready to cook, complete the recipe.

*Excerpted from The Best 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes by 2013© Reprinted with publisher permission.

Chocolate Flan with Toasted Almonds, pg 230, desserts, entertaining, serves 6

Here's a deliciously decadent chocolate dessert. Save it for special occasions or treat yourself and enjoy. For a real treat, finish with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

  • 6-cup lightly greased mold or souffle dish
  • Large (minimum 5 quart) slow cooker

3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup toasted slivered almond

3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 can (10 oz) coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1 Caramel: In a heavy-bottomed pot sauce pan over medium heat, bring coconut sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until mixture is very syrupy, about 6 minutes. Pour into prepared dish until sides are well coated. Sprinkle almonds over bottom of dish and set aside;

2. Flan: In a heat-proof bowl, place chocolate. In a clean saucepan, bring coconut milk and sugar just to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over chocolate and stir until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted.

 3. In a bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks. Gradually add chocolate mixture, beating constantly until incorporated. Pour into caramel-coated dish. Cover with foil and secure tightly. Place dish in slow cooker stoneware and add enough hot water to come one inch up the sides. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until a knife inserted inside comes out clean. Remove and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

4. When ready to serve, remove foil. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the flan and invert onto a serving plate.

  • Entertaining Worthy

If you prefer, make this dessert in 6 individual tall ramekins or 4-6 ounce mason type jars. Just make sure your slow cooker is large enough to accommodate the vessels. Mason jars are particularly functional if you are transporting this dessert. Instead of covering the jars with foil, use the lids and screw tops. Add enough hot water to come half way up the sides of the jars and reduce the cooking time to about 1 1/2 hours.

Excerpted from The Best 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes by © 2013 Reprinted with publisher permission.

This is just a glimpse of the great recipes to be found in the book. I would recommend The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker to anyone who is looking to get healthier, quicker home cooked meals on their table.

About the author:

Judith Finlayson is a best-selling author whose lifelong love of food and passion for cooking has translated into sales of over 1 million cookbooks, including many popular slow cooker cookbooks. 

Connect with Judith Finlayson at

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