Believe it or not, I was a vegetarian for many years. I would make these Ultimate Dragon Bowls from Daphne Oz almost every Monday – it was one of my favorite recipes, I never got sick of it, and anyone I ever made them for loved them! I’ve been wanting to “Paleo-ify” the recipe for a while.
Here’s what I modified from Daphne’s recipe to make it Paleo and Whole 30 approved:
- As always, I swap out avocado oil for olive oil in any recipe that requires high-heat cooking. Olive oil has a low smoke point, meaning it starts to break down and release toxic smoke at a lower temperature than avocado oil. Save olive oil for making salad dressings.
- Swap out the chickpeas for chopped parsnips. Legumes (including chickpeas), contain high amounts of phytic acid. Phytic acid binds itself to the nutrients in your food, preventing your body from absorbing them (read more on this here). So, for most humans, there isn’t necessarily anything unhealthy about legumes, it’s just that there isn’t a whole lot of nutritional value there. For people with digestive issues, however, legumes can become a problem because they are high FODMAP.
- If you are familiar with the Whole 30 diet, you know that rice is out. Luckily cauliflower rice works really well in this recipe – I increased the amount to 3 cups. If I were to make this after a high-intensity workout, I may actually use real rice – white instead of brown. While rice is not traditionally part of the Paleo diet since it is a grain, there are some arguments out there about white rice being an exception. The more harmful part of rice resides in the outer layer “shell” (the part that makes brown rice brown). Once that is gone, the inner white rice isn’t necessarily harmful, it just doesn’t contain many nutrients. You can read up more on brown rice vs white rice here.
- I’m all about efficiency! Rather than cooking the chickpeas (or parsnips, in this case) and sweet potatoes separately like the original recipe calls for, I roast them all on the same pan. Just make sure everything has it’s own “real estate” on the pan so they can roast and get crispy rather than be too close together and just steam. I also buy big bags of precut cauliflower rice (the brand I buy can be found in the produce section at Whole Foods or Costco) and Kale (I get mine at Trader Joe’s).
- Traditional store-bought sriracha does usually have sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, so read your labels closely. If you aren’t able to find a clean label, make your own or use regular hot sauce like Franks Red Hot.
You’ll note that I have kept this recipe vegetarian. However, it would be extremely easy to add some diced chicken breast or chicken sausage to this recipe. The chicken sausage could even be roasted right on the sheet with the sweet potatoes and parsnips.
Modified Monday: Paleo/Whole 30 Dragon Bowls
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch pieces
- Avocado Oil
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 large parsnip, cut in to chickpea-size chunks (about 1.5 cups total)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 cups cauliflower rice
- 1 tsp oregano (or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano)
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 4 Eggs
- Sriracha or Hot Sauce (opt for Hot Sauce like Franks if doing Whole 30)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, toss the chopped sweet potatoes with a bit of avocado oil, pink Himalayan sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.
- Spread the chopped sweet potatoes evenly on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In the same bowl that the sweet potatoes were in, toss the chopped parsnips with the cumin, paprika and a bit more pink Himalayan sea salt. Add a bit of additional oil if necessary.
- Spread the coated turnips on to the same baking sheet as the sweet potatoes, spreading them out so everything has space. Place in the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- When about 10 minutes remain on the timer, heat about two tablespoons of avocado oil over medium-low heat in a skillet. Add the smashed garlic cloves and cook until fragrant. Remove and discard.
- Increase the heat to medium and add in the cauliflower rice, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, about 4-5 minutes or until the rice begins to crisp up.
- Add the kale to the skillet along with a bit of salt to help it wilt. Once wilted, remove from heat.
- Plate the rice and kale first, then add the sweet potatoes and turnip mixture and avocado.
- Fry the eggs in the skillet that you used to cook the rice to soak up the leftover flavors.
- Add the eggs on top of the bowls. Top off with hot sauce.