10 Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Paleo Dinners Prepared In Ten Minutes or Less


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No time? No interest in slaving over a hot stove? Limited attention span? Is this you?

Me, too.

And yet imagine great paleo meals, day after day. Home-cooked, quality ingredients, impressive and delicious. And all prepared in less than a few.

I’ve written before how I’m not a good cook. It is not something I enjoy or look forward to. I do not pore over food porn. I don’t pin culinary art on Pinterest. I often make mistakes because I don’t read recipes properly (but I still expect my family to eat it. :-))

Dog-eared and gravy-smeared

I do, however, strategically look for recipes as I need them. I have a binder full of favorites. And I’ve a few grubby and creased cookbooks. And for some reason, I will pore over a freshly made jug of homemade chicken stock with immense satisfaction. Especially when the fat separates. Shrug.

However, in general, I am just a so-so cook. I like my meals quick, tasty and preferably cleaned up by someone else. The smallest amount of time I can spend away from my other activities in order to cook a decent meal is my goal.

So I set myself a challenge to find ten dinner meals that take less than ten minutes to prepare. That’s not cook, mind, nor does it mean I started ten minutes before I wanted to eat. It means dishes that take ten minutes out of my day to get ready.

Ten in ten

I didn’t add the time to prepare side dishes, I figured that we have to chop and peel for every meal no matter what. And it also meant that most of the cooking entailed baking or slow cooking, not standing over a pan overseeing the cooking, although one of the dishes below is so quick, I can prepare it and fry it in the time allowed.

In truth, many of these dinners are billed as only five minutes for preparation, but I seem to be an inordinately slow person, because I never could get them ready that quick. Maybe you can. :-)

10 quick and easy paleo dinners for you…

…because some of us can’t get through a recipe without wandering off, a few of us get bored watching a pot boil, and none of us have enough time. Read all the way to the end because there are some fantastic recipes here, including the best meat loaf I’ve ever had. Enjoy!

slowcookerbeefcheeks Ten Minute Recipe #1. Slow Cooker Cinnamon Beef Cheeks

Ooh, these were good and couldn’t be simpler. I skipped the veggie accompaniment and focused on the meat for the purpose of this post and we were on our slow cooker way in just a few minutes.

panfriedsoleTen Minute Recipe #2. Pan Fried Sole

This dish is awesome. You’ll get it made in less than ten minutes even with the frying. The recipe offers a lemon caper butter sauce which sounds yummy but we like it perfectly fine on its own. This is one of my personal favorites and it even tastes great cold for lunch the next day! (Well, I think so.)

Ten Minute Recipe #3. Chicken Satay

These are from the hefty, but comprehensive and beautiful Make It Paleo cookbook. I didn’t make it with the dipping sauce and I baked them because grilling required me to stand over them, no skewers, and they were still great. Mild and delicately flavored, they were a hit both for dinner and later, school lunches. Two thumbs up!

Ten Minute Recipe #4: 4-Hour Chef Osso “Buko”

Love or hate Tim Ferris and his “4-Hour” noodling, you have to try this recipe. He doesn’t braise the meat and advocates breaking your carrots rather than cutting them (how does that help, exactly?) but this was a ‘throw-it-in-the-pan’ dish that came out delicious. My husband made this one – he is the fru-fru chef in our house – and he said even I could make it! Recipe’s in the 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life.

Ten Minute Recipe #5. Crockpot Braised Beef Shanks

This couldn’t be easier and again, delicious and so, so good for you. All that lovely marrow in ‘dem bones’.

Four ingredients, salt and pepper. Bung it all in, and Bob’s your uncle! Yum.

paleo recipes beef stewTen Minute Recipe #6. Italian Beef Stew

This is from Paleo Slow Cooking* by Chrissy Gower of Growing Up Paleo.

Although this recipe was originally South of the Border Beef Stew and calls for cumin and chili powder, Chrissy also suggests omitting these and adding Italian seasoning to make it, well, Italian. I also left out the cayenne as I have a spice-adverse child. It was extremely hearty and got “two thumbs-up” from the kids.

paleo ten minute recipesTen Minute Recipe #7. Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

I contacted Nom Nom to ask her for her 10-minute dish recommendation and she sent me this link. My first thought was to wonder how I was going to get up at 2am to set my pork off but happily I learned a) that 12 hours was fine for my roast and b) it’s a great meal reheated so even if it doesn’t finish cooking right at dinner-time, no problem. Only three ingredients – how can you go wrong?

paleo ten minute recipesTen Minute Recipe #8. Honey Chicken

My kids said this was “a keeper.” This was another subtly-flavored dish, a type they seem to like. It was mildly sweet and sour; you could adjust the ‘temperature’ of the flavors if you like. I wasn’t sure if I’d find any sherry in our cupboards but I did – a decade old, at least I should imagine. But it worked. :-) You’ll find this recipe in Cooking Against the Grain: Grain-free meals that are fast, freezer friendly and fabulous.

paleo ten minute recipes rassfed Meat LoafTen Minute Recipe #9: Grass-Fed Meat Loaf

Doesn’t this look impressive? I have to say I was totally psyched when I made it. Dead easy to make – takes longer to get the ingredients out than it does to make it and will impress the family, no end! I used almond flour instead of finely chopped almonds and no ketchup. I am not a huge fan of meat loaf but this was fantastic, by far the best I’ve ever eaten. This recipe does call for cream but Pauli says full-fat coconut milk or almond milk will work just as well. She also has a recipe for paleo-friendly bread you can use instead of almond flour. Meatloaf recipe is from Primal Cuisine: Cooking for the Paleo Diet by Pauli Halstead.

paleo recipes chicken lemon thymeTen Minute Recipe #10: Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

Roasted chicken is always the bomb and this was no exception. I’d ripped the skin off and chowed down before it left the counter. Simple, but fragrant and tasty. This recipe is from The Garden of Eating by Chef Rachel Albert who has done the cooking demos at Mark Sisson’s Primalcon for the last four years. We ate it without sauce and it was lovely and moist. Rachel kindly attached *seven* variations to this recipe which you will find in this link to the recipe.

Bonus suggestions:

I also suggest Civilized Caveman’s Pulled Pork, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Bake and Spice It Up Salmon from Everyday Paleo, and Turkey Meat Loaf – all recipes I’ve mentioned before.

*Photo credit: Shannon Rosan

Do you have a favorite paleo main dish that takes ten minutes or less to prepare? Please tell us in the comments. Maybe I’ll do a follow up post with reader recommended recipes. That would be fantastic!

And if you found this information useful, please share it it with your friends.  The more we can do to spread the information, the more those that really need it can benefit. You’ll find sharing buttons below and in the floating sidebar to your left.

And for more paleo goodness, please like the Paleo/NonPaleo Facebook page. I would be so grateful! Thank you!

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Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Esposito February 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hmm–not able to share a paleo recipe just yet. I’m more of a copycat cook ;).

Yummy on #8 and #2–though I don’t think I could eat cod cold.

Since my son loves beef and I don’t–the blood gets me every time, it’s chicken or fish at home. The frozen leftovers are appealing b/c a) I love to heat up dinner, rather than start from scratch, and b) I can taste the juicy goodness after the sauce is absorbed.

Thanks for the quick links, Alison!
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Alison Golden February 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

The great thing about Orleatha’s honey chicken recipe up there, Linda, is that she just puts cut up chicken in ziplock bags with the sauce and freezes. It marinates over time then you defrost and cook. Easy-peasy!
Alison Golden recently posted..10 Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Paleo Entrées Prepared In Ten Minutes or LessMy Profile


jrVegantoPrimal February 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Linda –

although I am not 100%, I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that the red fluid is not actually blood, but the enzymes breaking the meat down, that the cow is thoroughly “deblooded” before cuts are taken. I could be wrong however…anyone???



Alison Golden February 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

You’re right, it isn’t “blood” but most people think it is. Meats are de-blooded – is that a word?
Alison Golden recently posted..10 Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Paleo Entrées Prepared In Ten Minutes or LessMy Profile


McKenna February 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I have a very delicious smoked sausage and cabbage crockpot dish that takes only minutes to prepare and 4 hours in the crockpot and you are done!!! It’s definitely a crowd favorite for my kiddos and nonpaleo friends too!


Liesel February 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Alison, I do a lot of 10 minute cooking for lunch – but then really start 10 minutes before we want to eat :-) Here is one of my favorites, that we often do for dinner as well. http://lieselathome.com/the-quick-10-minute-healthy-lifestyle-schnitzel/
I use turkey escalope since they never get too shewy… So, kind of “fool proof” which is good when you’re in a hurry :-).
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NJ Paleo February 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I love reading recipes. I quickly dismiss the ones that have a huge list of ingredients, many of which are obscure or that I don’t stock in the cabinet.

My go-to for when I’m really going to be time-crunched is pretty easy (and I never measure anything sorry). It requires chicken (any cuts you have); 1 onion chopped; a couple of garlic cloves chopped; a bunch of Italian spices (whatever you have handy, any and all combinations — oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, parsley, a bay leaf if you have it); and a 28 oz can of tomatoes (could be crushed, could be diced, could be whole); a bit of salt. Sometimes I get fancy and throw in extras like olives (black or green, doesn’t matter) and/or mushrooms. Throw it all in the slow cooker. Yum!


alisa hagenberg February 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm

The meatloaf sounds great but I’m A.I.P so was wondering if u have any substitute for the almond flours & milk. I can just omit ketchup. .
Great ideas. Can’t wait to try them.


Alison Golden February 6, 2013 at 7:15 am


Check out this post from The Paleo Mom on flours – she does AIP. You could substitute water for the milk, it will just be less creamy but it is really to make a paste and moisten the loaf.

Alison Golden recently posted..10 Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy Paleo Entrées Prepared In Ten Minutes or LessMy Profile


sarah March 17, 2013 at 9:32 am

Thanks for these. They all look awesome. Just a little grammar tip – no such thing as its’. Check #2.


Alison Golden March 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

No there isn’t. Fixed.


Renee March 17, 2013 at 10:08 am

Our favorite go-to meal when we haven’t even had enough foresight to get something into the crockpot in the morning is Sauteed Cabbage with Ground Pork. It came from a Filipino friend of mine before I was even eating Paleo. Saute one cut up onion, and one diced tomato in fat of choice (duck fat for me) until starting to soften. Add 1 lb. of ground pork (I’m usually defrosting it in the microwave while the veggies are softening). While the Pork and veggies are cooking chop up 1/2 to 1 whole head cabbage, then add to pan. Add a couple good sprinkles of coconut aminos, a couple shakes of Red Boat fish sauce, some salt, and lots of fresh ground pepper. If you need a bit more liquid, add some chicken broth. It really takes about 15 minutes start to finish.


Renee March 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

Another is curry chicken with veggies. Cube boneless chicken breasts or thighs and saute in fat of choice (duck fat, again). Add whatever chopped veggies you have on hand (onions, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower…), Add a can of coconut milk and a couple tablespoons curry paste. Mix all and let it simmer until chicken is cooked through. I like to add a bag of TJ’s organic spinach at the end until wilted if I have it. I’ll simmer longer if I have the time, but otherwise, about 15 minutes start to finish. An extra five minutes to enjoy a nice glass of water with lime or take some deep breaths. Relax, it’s only 5 extra minutes!


Katie April 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Bummer, I was hoping for more “Eek, it’s almost dinner, what do I do” recipes, instead of so many things you have to start in the morning. Good collection though, and I look forward to trying some.. it just doesn’t help me tonight :(


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