For those just breaking into paleo cooking, the substitution list can seem quite daunting. Yes, they say use maple syrup like you were a born and bred canuck. But what about everything else? Hush now child, I’ve come to help. Here are some of the easiest substitutions I’ve found, so make them pantry staples so you’re prepared for any paleo meal. Chef beware, not all of these are whole30 compliant so triple check that list.
Brown sugar: brown sugar glazed fill-in-the-blank sounds really delicious until you can’t use brown sugar. Rather than change your recipe all together, try coconut palm sugar. Yes, it’s still sugar, but it’s derived from sap extracted from the coconut tree. It’s a better option if you just have to use brown sugar in something. The taste, texture, and usage is comparable to brown sugar.
Corn starch: Oh, you sneaky thing. You’ll see this guy pop up in even some “paleo” soups and chilis, but don’t be fooled. It’s still a corn product! And grains are off limits while eating paleo. Arrowroot powder is perhaps the best substitute. It’s versatile, has the same chemical properties as corn starch, and virtually tasteless. Some people opt for tapioca starch, but it’s not my favorite.
Wraps/Sandwich bread: I refuse to bake paleo sandwich bread because it’s gross. So you got two options here, go semi-paleo or true paleo. For those going halfsies, I strongly recommend Ezekiel bread. It’s whole sprouted grain, and the best choice if you’re going to eat breads. For the 100% paleo people, opt for coconut wraps. They’re a little sweet, but overall a great choice if you need a lunch wrap on the go. The purest paleo choice would be whole romaine leaves. Skip the wrap and use two whole romaine leaves for lunch.
Soy sauce: Tsk tsk, girl don’t put that soy sauce on your stir fry over cauli rice. Soy is a legume, and therefore off limits to you while you’re paleo-ing your little heart out. Use coconut aminos (I know… more coconut). I like this brand and you can find it on Amazon, Vitamin Shoppe, and some GNC stores.
Substitutions aren’t hard to make, you just have to know a non-paleo ingredient when you see one. Hopefully this list will help. Also, a well stocked pantry is your best friend!