I’ve been on a culinary tour of Latin America – and I didn’t even have to leave my house to do it, or compromise on my commitment to a healing diet! This virtual “trip” came courtesy of an exciting new cookbook that landed in my mailbox earlier this month by the blogger behind The Curious Coconut, Amanda Torres with her mother-in-law Milagros Torres, called Latin American Paleo Cooking. I enjoyed it so much that I asked if I could share a sneak-preview of one of my favorite recipes from the book with you and also got a copy to give to one of my lucky readers! Read on for the recipe and to find out how to enter the giveaway. (UPDATE: Congratulations Becky N. – you are the winner!)

But first, let me answer few questions…

What makes Latin American Paleo Cooking so great?

In a word, authenticity. The 80 traditional recipes in this book come from the traditions of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, and Brazil and include Milagros’s own Puerto Rican family favorites, which Amanda carefully modified as needed to make them strictly paleo yet still as authentic as possible. The recipes are organized into six sections and all of my favorites are represented among them.

In the section devoted to “platos de la familia” (family dinners), you will find Milagros’s own famous adobo mojado marinated pork roast, the Cuban favorite vaca frita, or garlic-lime fried shredded beef, a version of Peruvian pollo a la brasa, or marinated roasted chicken, that you can make at home, and many other delicious dishes. My favorite so far from this section would have to be the piñon or pastelón (it’s name depends on where in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic you are) which is a ripe plantain lasagna or meat pie. I made the meat pie version and loved how much it was like a more flavorful version of the midwestern casseroles I grew up eating!

Since my life is so busy these days, I particularly appreciate that there is a section focused specifically on “rápido y fácil” (quick and easy) meals. This is where the pinchos de pollo (marinated grilled chicken kebabs) that I share at the end of this post are found. You’ll also find a grain free “arroz” con pollo (chicken with “rice”), mojo chuletas de puerco (citrus marinated pork chops), picadillo (sweet and savory ground beef), pollo desmechado (seasoned shredded chicken) and other dishes that I know are going to become part of my regular rotation.

One section is full of fun “comida fiesta” (party food) where Amanda shares surprisingly authentic yet paleo-friendly versions of everything from Argentinian emapanadas (baked meat turnovers) to El Salvadoran pupusas (stuffed “corn” tortillas) and even Venezuelan arepas rellenas (stuffed “corn” pancakes). There is a also a section of desserts appropriately called “un poco dulce” with an amazingly indulgent, yet still healthy version of the pan-Latin treat tres “leches” cake and a grain and dairy free “arroz” con dulce, or rice pudding.

But the most exciting and useful section of all is one devoted to the sauces, sofrito, and other essential building blocks of countless Latin American dishes. In fact, I’d argue the book is worth the purchase just for the two “cheese” recipes in this section! One is a “queso” amarillo (yellow cheese) and other is a “queso” blanco (white cheese) that actually melts and stretches much like a mozzarella.

But what about my healing diet?

If you follow the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), then you are going to love this book! Every recipe in the book is gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free and 72 of the 80 recipes are AIP or have AIP modifications that are still extremely flavorful. I previewed this book while I was doing an elimination phase reset and followed the AIP directions for each recipe I tried and absolutely loved everything!

On the other hand, if the healing diet you follow is the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) or GAPS, then you will be more limited. The main dishes will work for you, but most of the party food and a lot of the side dishes and desserts utilize starches that are not legal in those protocols.

People who are eating low-FODMAP will need to make the usual adjustments to eliminate ingredients like onions and garlic but should still find a lot of delicious dishes here to enjoy.

The bottom line

Latin American Paleo Cooking would be a great addition to the cookbook collection of any paleo eater, including those with autoimmune conditions or other additional restrictions, who wants flavorful and foolproof dishes to add to their repertoire. It has my highest recommendation!

Not convinced yet? Then check out this sneak preview recipe!

Recipe for Pinchos de Pollo (Marinated Grilled Chicken Kebabs)

Reprinted with permission from Latin American Paleo Cooking by Amanda Torres with Milagros Torres, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Toni Zernik

Pinchos de Pollo
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Serves: 3-4 servings
Pinchos are traditional street food in Puerto Rico and can be made from pork or chicken that has been marinated in a tangy sauce and then grilled to perfection. You can serve these as an appetizer or a light meal. Leftovers are great to put on top of a salad, too!
  • 1 tbsp (10 g) minced garlic
  • ½ tsp fine Himalayan salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tsp (2 g) minced fresh oregano, or 1 tsp (2 g) dried
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1½ lb (680 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  1. Have ready 7 to 9 skewers. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. In a bowl, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, oil and lime juice and stir to form a paste.
  3. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks and place in a glass container with a lid. Pour the marinade over the chicken and stir to combine. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, up to overnight.
  4. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium heat (325 to 375F [170 to 190C]). Depending on the type of grill this may take 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and thread it onto the skewers, spreading each piece as flat as possible and leaving a very small space between each piece.
  6. Once the grill is hot, brush the cooking grates clean, if necessary (to prevent sticking). Grill the kebabs over direct medium heat, keeping the lid closed as much as possible, until the chicken is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes total, turning once or twice during cooking. Take care not overcook.
  7. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.


Want to win a copy of Latin American Paleo Cooking?

Complete both steps to enter the giveaway.

  1. Comment on this blog post with an answer to this question – “Which recipe are you the most excited to make and why?”
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