LEAGUE CITY — A homey restaurant in League City might seem to be an unlikely place to eat like a cave man, but Partners in Paleo is totally devoted to the concept.

“We’re 100 percent Paleo,” owner and chef Jeanette Pearson said. “No sugar, no grains, no legumes.”

The Paleo Diet has gained an enthusiastic following among athletes and people with food allergies.

As popularized by Loren Cordain, an exercise and nutrition professor at Colorado State University, adherents to the Paleo Diet eat much like our hunter-gatherer ancestors, eating plenty of meat, fresh fruits and healthy vegetables while avoiding grain and dairy products.

While the concept might sound extreme, Pearson has devised a rotating series of healthy favorites that wouldn’t be out of place in traditional blue-plate specials.

Meatloaf, pork ribs and taco salad make frequent appearances on the daily menus at the restaurant, at 109 Meadow Parkway, in League City. She also offers an array of farm-fresh vegetables. The hearty, colorful meals don’t need a bread basket to be complete and appealing.

“We’re trying to move more to seasonal vegetables, and we’re getting some beautiful ones from Funky Monkey Farm in Alvin,” Pearson said. “It’s been a challenge to find suppliers for some of our items.”

Like many proponents of the Paleo Diet, Pearson’s interest in the eating plan was piqued through her participation in a CrossFit exercise program.

“Originally, I was just going to make packaged meals for some of the people in CrossFit,” she said. “I was looking for used restaurant equipment and found a restaurant owner wanting to sell — lock, stock and barrel. So now I’m able to run the restaurant and sell meals, too.”

The packaged meals take some of the guesswork out of following the Paleo Diet.

“It’s a struggle for some people to keep the percentage of fat in their diet high enough,” Pearson said.

The Paleo Diet aims for about twice the protein intake of the typical American diet, complimented by fruits and vegetables and less-processed fats such as olive oil and beef tallow.

Pearson’s customers often stock up on meals.

“One guy gets 40 at a time,” she said. “I fix a few every day and put in the freezer for him so there’s plenty of variety.”

After almost two years in the restaurant, the customer base has expanded beyond the hard-core Paleo eaters.

“Since our food is also gluten free and dairy free, we have a lot of customers with food allergies,” Pearson said. “We also see a lot of families coming in who just want healthy food.

“The important thing is just to eat real food and not get hung up on whether it’s Paleo or primal or whatever — just find what works for you.”

Pearson is mulling options for expanding the Paleo concept.

“We’re trying to figure out if we can do more dinner service,” she said.

The restaurant is open for dinner on Friday nights, concentrating primarily on lunch, which is offered Tuesday through Saturday.

Cooking classes are also on the horizon.

“People ask for Paleo cooking lessons every day,” Pearson said. “We also do catering for weddings and other events.


Spicy Watermelon Salad

SERVES: 3-4

2-3 cups watermelon

12 cup shallot, chopped

3 leaves basil, chopped

1 tablespoons chia seed

1 small jalapeño, chopped

lime juice and zest, to taste

Cracked pepper, to taste

Micro greens optional

 

Toss the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste.

(SOURCE: Recipe from “The Paleo Diet,” by Loren Cordain)


Paleo Meatloaf

SERVES: 8

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef

2 red onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

12 red pepper, chopped

12 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

12 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

3 omega 3-enriched eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons flaxseed oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread the mixture evenly in an 8-12-inch-by-11-inch baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until well cooked.

(SOURCE: Recipe from “The Paleo Diet,” by Loren Cordain)


Spinach Salad with Crabmeat

SERVES: 4

Salad

2 large bunches fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 Walla Walla, Vidalia or Maui sweet onion, sliced small

2 large tomatoes, sliced thin

2 hard-boiled omega 3-enriched eggs, sliced thin

12 pound cooked, shredded crabmeat

Dressing

3 tablespoons dry mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 cup burgundy wine

1 cup fresh tomatoes, puréed

2 cup flaxseed oil

1 cup lemon juice

Salad

Tear the spinach leaves into small pieces and mix with the onions, tomatoes and crabmeat. Just before serving, toss with spinach salad dressing and top with egg slices.

Dressing

Mix all of the ingredients in blender. Pour into a cruet and shake well before each use. Makes 5 cups.

(SOURCE: Recipe from “The Paleo Diet,” by Loren Cordain)

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