You’d think vegan and paleo sort of cancel each other out, with paleo diet recipes emphasizing grass-fed meats and free-range eggs and vegans avoiding all animal products. But when you think about what our “ancestors” probably really ate, it must have been a very plant-based diet. So, what does an ancestral vegan diet look like? Abundant fruits and veggies are something both eating philosophies have in common. Grains and legumes — go-tos for many vegans — are out, but paleo-friendly starches like sweet potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are in, and they’re both tasty and filling. So are all the good fats, like nuts, avocados and olive oil. And we can sweeten things up when we need to with fruit juices, honey, molasses, pure maple syrup and dried fruits. This is starting to sound not only healthy, but also deliciously doable. Here are 18 tempting recipes that’ll have you saying: “Let’s do this!”


1. Crispy Plantains With Garlic Sauce: A staple of Caribbean cuisine, plantains are delicious fried or mashed. Ripe ones look similar to bananas and can be used in sweet dishes, while green ones mash and crisp up nicely. In this recipe, green plantains are parboiled, smashed and pan-fried, so the center remains soft while the edges provide crunch. The accompanying garlic-lime dipping sauce is sinfully delicious. (via Wellfed)


2. Zucchini Noodles With Avocado Sauce: What’s not to love about zucchini noodles, AKA zoodles? They’re so fresh and delicious! Avocados, pine nuts and basil make this raw vegan dish a creamy delight. (via Simple Vegan Blog)


3. Kimchi Fried Cauliflower Rice: Kimchi is one of those debatable topics in paleo circles, but Primal Blueprint guru Mark Sisson makes the point that before refrigeration, our ancestors would have eaten a lot of fermented foods. The kimchi in this recipe gives the riced cauliflower an added zing. We can’t get enough! (via In Sonnet’s Kitchen)


4. Zucchini Lasagna With Basil-Cashew “Cheese” Sauce: If you think a paleo diet means you’d be missing out on traditional Italian dishes like lasagna, look no further. The cashew sauce on this veggie-packed version will have you running back for seconds and even thirds. (via Healthy Recipe Ecstasy)


5. Cassava Pizza Crust: Speaking of Italian comfort foods, you can still have pizza Fridays. This pizza crust is made of mashed cassava (also called yuca), which crisps up nicely (as our Caribbean friends who traditionally cook with yuca already know). Top it with your favorite veggies and nut cheese and you’re good to go. (via Predominantly Paleo)


6. Paleo Soft Flour Tortillas: Paleo-vegan just got a whole lot easier to contemplate with these tortillas in the house! Top with your favorite veggies, guacamole and nut cheese sauce for a vegan fiesta. (via Gluten-Free on a Shoestring)


7. Cashew Satay Vegetable Stir-Fry: If you’re daunted by the elimination of peanuts (they’re not really nuts, but legumes, which paleo peeps avoid), this cashew satay will be deeply satisfying. Served over veggie noodles, it makes for a majorly hearty meal. (via Cotter Crunch)


8. Sweet Potato Fries With BBQ Sauce: Sure, baked sweet potato fries abound, and they are vegan and paleo, but check out this homemade BBQ sauce. If you’re strictly paleo, you can leave out the optional liquid smoke and chipotle in the adobo sauce — it’ll still be delicious. (via Paleo Running Momma)


9. Paleo Broccoli Slaw: This crunchy slaw is just the healthy side dish you’ve been waiting for. The tangy homemade dressing gets its punch from vinegar and spices, while almonds add a nutty crunch. (via Tastes of Lizzy T)


10. Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles With Cashew Sauce: Sweet potatoes make the best vegetable noodles around, and they pair remarkably well with the creaminess of cashew sauce. (via Pinch of Yum)


11. Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad: This classic cucumber and tomato salad goes one better with the addition of avocado and a citrus dressing. Add cilantro to taste and you’re good to go. (via Natasha’s Kitchen)


12. Spaghetti Squash With Fire-Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce: Once again, cashews combine with tomatoes in the most delectable way. Spaghetti squash absorbs all the flavor in this five-ingredient dish. (via Hummusapien)


13. Eggplant Involtini: This dish reminds us so much of the eggplant parmesan we know and love, thanks to creamy almond-milk ricotta. Paired with a delectable tomato sauce, it makes for a totally satisfying dinner. (via Kelley and Cricket)


14. Tomato Zucchini Casserole: Olive oil, lemon, garlic, herbs and spices make this simple recipe a nice summer side dish. Pin it for those months when the tomatoes are ripe on the vine and your garden is producing more zucchini than you know what to do with. (via Give Recipe)


15. Matcha, Kale and Almond Chia Smoothie: If you were wondering what a paleo-vegan might have for breakfast, we’ve got you covered. This matcha smoothie is packed with nutrition and flavor. (via Against All Grain)


16. Beet and Berry Bowl: Beets are probably not the first thing you think of for breakfast, but they are naturally sweet and pair well with the tartness of acai berries. Chia seeds, Brazil nuts and coconut round out this creamy breakfast pudding. (via Gourmande in the Kitchen)


17. Chia Seed Pudding With Paleo Krunch: Fruits, nuts and flakes make up this chia parfait, topped with Paleo Krunch granola. For those craving cereal, this is the ticket. (via The Thin Kitchen)

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18. Rainbow Chia Pudding Bowls: Here are three more takes on the chia pudding bowl. Mix chia seeds and almond milk and sweeten with a bit of honey. Top with a mix of nuts, seeds and fruits to taste. The figgy pudding version is on our radar for breakfast this week. (via The Kitchn)

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