One of the biggest challenges for me was converting some of my recipes to a paleo version. After a life-long love affair with all types of pasta, how do you manage to keep and modify some of those dishes that were absolute comfort foods? The challenge is even greater when many of those comfort foods are of Asian origin and contain ingredients such as soy sauce, miso, and sugar laden sauces and mirin.
It brought a tear to my eye to think that we may have to give up yakisoba, katsudon, or nikumiso. But where there’s a will, there’s a way! I started doing my research and finding substitutes for those not-so-paleo ingredients, which I thought would be difficult. When you have some companies that have been brewing their soy sauce since the 1600’s, how do you find anything close to a substitute?
Need I say more?
Yes, I actually should. Coconut aminos are a salty/sweet sauce made from the sap (actually coconut blossom nectar) of the coconut palm. This sap is then fermented and blended with sea salt. And in my opinion, its taste is a bit better than soy sauce. The light sweetness also makes it easier to cut back on any sweeteners your recipe calls for.
Naturally, I was skeptical when I first tried coconut aminos. To keep the test simple, I decided to make my beef yakisoba, which also had the challenge of finding a substitute for the soba, or buckwheat noodles. Before I continue, I must point out that buckwheat is actually paleo. It is a pseudo-grain, making it a perfectly paleo option. However, many of the brands of buckwheat noodles also contain wheat flour, making them non-paleo. Be sure to check the ingredients if you are going to use soba noodles.
So, armed with my new bottle of coconut aminos and a spaghetti squash, I set out to make my beef yakisoba.
Can you say….Nailed It!
Even hubby agreed that the paleo version tasted better than my original recipe. Coconut aminos quickly became my go to kitchen hero. For me, cooking is a form of creativity and play. The biggest lesson I learned from coconut aminos was to not be afraid to play a little differently.
Homemade Paleo Beef Yakisoba
A traditional Japanese Yakisoba recipe converted to be Paleo and Whole 30 approved!
-1 lb. lean grass-fed ground beef
-2 tbsp. avocado oil
-½ white sweet onion, thinly sliced
-1 lb. Napa or savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (you can substitute any cabbage type)
-1 carrot, grated
-2 clove garlic minced
-1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
-1/3 cup coconut aminos
-1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
-1 tsp. agave or coconut sugar
-1 spaghetti squash or 1 head of cauliflower, riced
DirectionsBefore preparing the yakisoba, cook your spaghetti squash or riced cauliflower (whichever is your preference). Set aside.
In a large pan, heat the avocado oil. Once hot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until evenly browned.
While the beef is cooking, combine the coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, and agave or coconut sugar in a bowl and stir until mixed.
To the beef, add the cabbage and carrot. Place a lid on the pan and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Once tender, add the garlic and ginger and cook a few moments more.
Finally, add your sauce and allow the pan to simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over spaghetti squash or riced cauliflower.